A federal judge has denied Ghislaine Maxwell’s request to be moved to the general prison population, saying changes to her confinement are unnecessary at this time.
Lawyers for Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend, who faces charges of recruiting, grooming and abusing minor girls as young as 14 years old, asked the judge to transfer her out of a high-security cell in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, to allow her to better prepare her defense.
In denying the request, US District Court Judge Alison Nathan noted that the Bureau of Prisons has allowed Maxwell access to materials 13 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Should facts on the ground change such that the Defendant is not being provided sufficient access to her legal materials, defense counsel may seek intervention by the Court,” the judge wrote.
The judge also rejected Maxwell’s earlier request to modify prison surveillance, which she claimed involved being secretly watched by prison psychologists for several hours every day.
In denying that request, the judge said that Maxwell “has provided the Court with no evidence, and no reason to believe, that the surveillance measures are motivated by improper purposes.”
Prosecutors are required to provide written updates every 90 days about any significant changes to Maxwell’s confinement, according to the order.
Maxwell, 58, was arrested on July 2 and charged with recruiting, grooming and ultimately abusing three alleged victims. Maxwell pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been detained until her trial, which is set for July 2021.
The stepped-up security follows Epstein’s death last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges at a different federal facility, Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner said Epstein died by suicide. Two guards were napping and online shopping while they were supposed to be observing Epstein, according to prosecutors, who charged them with filing false records. The guards have pleaded not guilty.
Maxwell’s lawyers have argued that Maxwell has never been diagnosed as suicidal and the current conditions treat her unfairly.
Prosecutors told the judge that the Bureau of Prisons decided against moving Maxwell for “reasons including safety, security, and the orderly functioning of the facility.”
At the time, prosecutors said Maxwell would be moved into the general population “if and when (the Bureau of Prisons) is assured that such placement would not pose a threat to the orderly operation of the institution.”
The judge also rejected Maxwell’s request to learn the identilty of the three accusers in the indictment, saying it was premature.