Ghislaine Maxwell is mounting a new legal bid to be moved out of solitary confinement, arguing that she is has being in “uniquely onerous conditions” in a notorious New York jail.
Ms Maxwell, 58, who is facing charges of sex trafficking of underage girls, says she wants to be moved in with other prisoners at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, and is demanding greater access to computer facilities to help prepare her defence.
Her lawyers also argue in the application, filed overnight in New York, that the prosecution must release to Maxwell the identities of the three victims in the indictments against her to allow her to conduct a proper defence ahead of her trial next July.
Ms Maxwell, who was arrested in New Hampshire last month, has been held in the prison since July 6 and has been denied bail.
Maxwell’s defence lawyer Christian Everdell tells Judge Alison Nathan that Maxwell was put on suicide watch because of what happened to Epstein - but that she is not suicidal.
He added that she is under surveillance 24 hours a day, including by multiple prison guards and is constantly watched on camera, and that her cell is searched several times a day, and she has been forced to undergo body regular scans.
Mr Everdell says that many of the prison guards do not appear to be regular MDC personnel, raising the possibility they may have been brought in for the specific purpose of watching Ms Maxwell.
The prison authorities are desperate to avoid a repeat of criticism they received after Jeffrey Epstein was found hanging in his cell last August.
Mr Everdell says: “These prison guards constantly observe Ms Maxwell and take notes on her every activity, including her phone conversations with defence counsel.
“Until recently, Ms Maxwell was subjected to suicide watch protocols, including being woken up every few hours during the night and being forced to wear special clothing, despite the fact that she, unlike Mr Epstein, has never been suicidal and was never diagnosed as exhibiting risk factors for suicide.
“Her cell is searched multiple times a day and she has been forced to undergo numerous body scans.”
Mr Everdell also takes issue with the prison authorities offering to allow Ms Maxwell to use a computer on her floor during the three hours each day that she is not confirmed to her cell.
He says: “The three-hour period is specifically designated to be used by Ms Maxwell for recreation, exercise, and personal hygiene, including showers.
“The BOP (Bureau of Prisons) should not be permitted to force Ms Maxwell to choose between maintenance of her physical and mental health and participating in her own defence.
“Even if Ms Maxwell were to forgo personal maintenance altogether, three hours a day is on its face an insufficient amount of time for reviewing documents in a complex case with voluminous document discovery, such as this one.”
He said the prosecution’s first delivery of evidence ran to nearly 13,000 pages of documents, which would take Ms Maxwell up until November to read if the only computer access she had was for three hours a day.
He calls that “entirely unworkable”, and says she needs to be able to work on her defence full-time, or 40 hours a week.
The other plank of the lawyer’s application is on disclosure - specifically demanding an order forcing the prosecution to disclose the names of the three victims referred to the indictment.
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Mr Everdell says: “It is therefore critical for the defence to know the names of these individuals as soon as possible, so that we can mount an effective defence investigation and adequately prepare for trial.
“This is especially true in this case where the alleged misconduct took place on unspecified dates roughly 25 years ago in multiple locations—namely, New York, Florida, New Mexico, and the United Kingdom—and where the central figure, Jeffrey Epstein, is alleged to have engaged in misconduct with dozens, if not hundreds, of alleged victims."
The defence, he said, should not have to waste time speculating who victims 1-3 were.