Ghislaine Maxwell has griped about her prison conditions once again in a new court filing demanding access to her laptop because the computers inside the jail are ‘very slow.’
The suspected child sex trafficker and former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein is currently being held without bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, as she awaits trial.
In a letter to the federal court this week, attorney Bobbi Sternheim, who has represented death row inmates in the past, pushed back against the decision to stop Maxwell from accessing her laptop outside of the working week.
The filing also claimed prison guards have ‘psychologically and physically abused’ Maxwell and that her complaints had been met with ‘reprisals’.
Ghislaine Maxwell is demanding access to her laptop on holidays and weekends ahead of her trial in July
Maxwell, 59, was arrested last July and has remained jailed on grounds she might flee
Sternheim said the prison computers are ‘utterly inadequate’, claiming they cannot certain files and shut down every two hours.
‘In addition, the power of the central processing unit of the MDC computer is very slow. Uploading videos can take up to a half hour, time that cannot be used to review other documents,’ the letter stated.
‘Hard drives provided by the government have been mishandled by MDC staff (dropped on the floor and slammed on a cart) causing them to become degraded and unstable and to randomly shut down.
‘The time, resources and funds expended on problems caused by the electronic discovery and the computers is unnecessary, wasteful, and frustrating’.
The dispute is the latest skirmish about Maxwell’s conditions inside the Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC).
Maxwell, 59, was arrested last July and has remained jailed on grounds she might flee.
She has pleaded not guilty to charges that she recruited three teenage girls, including a 14-year-old, for Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to 1997. The indictment alleged she sometimes joined in the abuse.
Sternehim wrote that the laptop issue was far from the only problem Maxwell was having inside the prison.
The letter stated: ‘Other than calls with family or communication with counsel, Ms Maxwell has no human contact except with guards who wield power over her, overmanage her, and have psychologically and physically abused her.
‘And complaints regarding mistreatment by guards have led to reprisals against Ms Maxwell’.
The dispute is the latest skirmish about Maxwell’s conditions inside the Metropolitan Detention Center (pictured)
Ghislaine was a wealthy socialite, moving in elite circles until she virtually disappeared from public view in 2016 after Virginia Roberts – Epstein’s main accuser – filed a lawsuit against her (pictured, Epstein and Ghislaine in New York in 2015)
No details about what the nature of the abuse or the reprisals was given, though in the past Maxwell’s lawyers have complained about her being searched with a flashlight every two hours.
Officials from the prison and prosecutors have painted a very different picture and said that Maxwell is getting more access to her laptop and her lawyers than any other prisoner.
Prosecutors in a letter said that after complaints from Maxwell’s attorneys, lawyers for the US government ‘hand delivered’ the laptop to the MDC ‘for the defendant’s exclusive use’.
The filing comes a week after Maxwell sought to have the charges against her dropped, claiming the indictment against her was obtained unjustly and doesn’t allege crimes specific enough to bring before a jury.
But they listed first among 12 separate arguments attacking the indictment that a non-prosecution deal Epstein reached with the federal government a dozen years ago should shield Maxwell from prosecution too.
The agreement sought to protect Epstein and those around him, but Maxwell was not identified by name in the document that was signed as Epstein agreed to plead guilty to state charges in Florida that forced him to register as a sex offender afterward.
Lawyers for Epstein had planned to argue that the deal with federal prosecutors in Florida in 2008 protected him against sex trafficking charges lodged against him in July 2019 in New York City.
Manhattan federal prosecutors maintained they could proceed against Epstein or those who worked for him regardless. Epstein killed himself at a Manhattan federal lockup a month after his arrest.
Maxwell’s trial is scheduled for July. In a recent bail application, Maxwell revealed that she had set aside $7.67 million to be spent on lawyers out of $22.5 million in assets belonging to herself and her husband.
In the event Maxwell’s lawyers can’t force a dismissal of the charges against her, they also made requests that would reduce the number of charges she faces.
Among the more unusual filings was a claim that the indictment should be thrown out because it was obtained from a grand jury seated outside New York City in White Plains, where the lawyers said Black and Hispanic grand jurors would have been underrepresented.
They said the coronavirus outbreak was used as an excuse to seat the grand jury outside of New York City when the pandemic was killing thousands of city residents. In a footnote, they wrote: ‘The fact that Ms. Maxwell herself is neither Black nor Hispanic does not deprive of her of standing to raise this challenge.’
They said the fact that a Manhattan grand jury convened as early as June 25 showed there was no reason for prosecutors not to wait ‘other than a publicity-driven desire to arrest Ms. Maxwell on the anniversary of the Epstein indictment.’
The lawyers also asked that Maxwell be tried separately on charges that she committed perjury when she testified in a civil case brought by one of Epstein’s accusers. They said prosecutors were using those charges improperly as a way to introduce evidence from after the 1990s.