Manhattan federal prosecutors hit back after an attorney for Ghislaine Maxwell complained about her “damaging” conditions last month, saying in a letter filed Tuesday that the real problem appears to be her inability to clean her “very dirty” cell. and flush the toilet.
The letter followed a complaint to a federal judge in February by a lawyer for the British socialite.
Maxwell – who faces a grooming and girl trafficking lawsuit for multi-millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein – claimed she was forced to drink dirty tap water and eat unheated meals and that a guard had “physically assaulted” her during a search at the Metropolitan Detention Center.
“The general conditions of detention have had a negative impact on the health and general well-being of Ms. Maxwell; and she’s wasting away to a shell of her old self – losing weight, losing hair and losing her ability to concentrate, ”wrote defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim, US District Judge Alison Nathan.
Manhattan federal prosecutors paint a very different picture, however. In their Tuesday filing, they say Maxwell is at a healthy weight, has no noticeable hair loss, has received the COVID vaccine and appears to be sleeping during nightly checks – but has been warned of the cleanliness issues herself.
MDC determined Maxwell’s complaint of unreasonable search was “unfounded,” prosecutors wrote, adding that detention staff warned the 59-year-old of her alleged refusal to keep her jail cell clean or even flush the toilet.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers say she’s a ‘shell of her old self’ in prison
“Following the defense attorney’s complaint in his letter of February 16, 2021 regarding an inappropriately conducted pat-down search, the MDC conducted an investigation and concluded that, contrary to the defendant’s claim, the search in question had in fact been entirely recorded by a portable camera. Says a footnote in the letter filed by US deputy lawyers Maurene Comey, Alison Moe and Lara Pomerantz.
“After reviewing the camera footage, the MDC concluded that the search was conducted properly and that the accused’s complaint about this incident was without merit,” their letter read. “MDC legal counsel has further confirmed that all of the defendant’s pat-down searches are videotaped.”
The government letter added that after Maxwell’s abuse complaint, MDC staff ordered the heiress to “clean her cell because it had become very dirty.”
“Among other things, MDC staff noted that the defendant often did not flush the toilet after using it, which made the cell smell,” the case continues. “In addition, the accused had not cleaned his cell for some time, which made the cell increasingly dirty. MDC staff ordered the defendant to clean her cell in response to the smell and dirt, and not in retaliation for complaining about a particular search.
Prosecutors also say Maxwell has ample time to make calls with his attorneys and, having access to both a desktop and a laptop 13 hours a day, seven days a week, “continues to have more. time to review the discovery than any other detainee ”.
MDC also examined Maxwell’s email account after claiming that prison staff deleted his messages prematurely. “This examination revealed that the defendant had itself deleted some of its emails and had archived others,” the letter notes. “This review did not reveal any evidence to suggest that MDC staff deleted the accused’s emails.” (According to Bureau of Prisons policy, inmate emails are purged every six months, the filing notes.)
Maxwell is allowed out of his cell from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day and, in the living room, prosecutors say, “has exclusive access to the MDC desktop, laptop, laptop, television, to a telephone on which to place a lawyer calls and a shower.
She has the right to “practice outdoor activities every day, even if she has the option to refuse them if she wishes,” adds the government. “The defendant also has as much time, if not more, than any other MDC detainee to communicate with her lawyers.
Prosecutors say MDC legal counsel informed them that Maxwell’s meals were heated in a thermal oven and that the water at the facility was New York City tap water. When the city conducts the interview, they say, inmates are given bottled water. “MDC’s legal counsel pointed out that MDC staff, including legal staff, drink the same tap water from the same water system as the defendant while in the institution,” their letter read.
Last week, Maxwell’s legal team turned to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to seek his release from the MDC. The US District Court for the Southern District of New York on three occasions refused to grant her bail because she was considered a flight risk.
In their motion for bail, Maxwell’s attorney David Oscar Markus compared her to other convicted sex offenders who were released on pre-trial bail, including Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. Markus referenced Thesilenceofthelambs‘fictional serial killer, too.
“Since her arrest, Ms. Maxwell has faced nightmarish conditions,” the motion reads. “Although she is a model prisoner who poses no danger to society and has literally done nothing to urge ‘special’ treatment, she is being kept in solitary confinement – conditions befitting Hannibal Lecter but not a woman. 59-year-old who poses no threat to anyone. . “
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