The conditions that accused Jeffrey Epstein accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell is living under in a New York detention center amounts to torture, her brother Ian Maxwell told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
“She has now spent over 250 days in what is effectively solitary isolation, in a 6×9 foot cell with 10 cameras trained on her 24/7 and four full-time guards,” said Maxwell in a Zoom call from London, also attended by one of his attorneys, David Markus. “She can’t go into the corner of her cell or within 2.5 feet of the door. She’s woken up every 15 minutes with a flashlight in her face. Putting a 59-year-old lady in this situation is craziness and it amounts to torture, a word I use very carefully.”
The daughter of Jewish publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell and a longtime British socialite, Maxwell has been thrust into the center of the case involving her ex-boyfriend Epstein since her arrest last July, when US Federal agents raided her New Hampshire home.
She is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn after pleading not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and groom three underage girls for sex from 1994, and not guilty to perjury for denying involvement. She also faces civil litigation from Epstein’s accusers. Her trial is scheduled to begin in July.
According to the charge sheet filed against Maxwell, she was among Epstein’s “closest associates” and “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18.”
A successful financier with a circle of friends ranging from former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton to former prime minister Ehud Barak and British royal Prince Andrew, Epstein was arrested in July 2019 on multiple charges including sex trafficking. This followed the negation of a 2016 non-prosecution agreement, which a Florida court ruled had violated federal law because it was signed without the knowledge of Epstein’s victims.
According to the US Justice Department charges, he was accused of abusing underage girls, some as young as 14, who were lured to his residence. Epstein allegedly made the girls give him nude and semi-nude massages, and engage in sexual acts with him.
A month after his arrest, Epstein killed himself in his prison cell. Although his death should have concluded the criminal trial, Epstein’s alleged victims called for probes against his alleged co-perpetrators to continue.
According to the charge sheet against Ghislaine Maxwell, she and Epstein would first befriend the alleged victims and develop a rapport with them, inviting them to Epstein’s properties in New York, Florida, and New Mexico, and to Maxwell’s home in London.
“Maxwell would try to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein,” the charge sheet says.
According to Ian Maxwell and her defense team, Ghislaine Maxwell has become a scapegoat for Epstein’s actions.
“It’s the Epstein effect,” said lawyer Markus. “It’s made so many people absolutely crazy and makes them ignore the rule of law. Anyone who has had any association with Epstein is assumed to be guilty by association without any proof.
“Ghislaine is being treated as a proxy for Jeffrey Epstein. She was never charged in the original Florida case and she was never charged in the federal case. She was only brought in after Epstein died. With him gone, the government needed a scapegoat, someone to blame.”
The judge in her case has twice denied bail to Ghislaine Maxwell, saying she ‘plainly poses a risk of flight.’ She recently filed for bail a third time, according to her brother, who said there is no reasonable explanation to deny her request.
“The conditions for this third bail are even more extraordinary than the first two,” said Maxwell. “The amount remains enormous – $28.5 million. But in an unprecedented offer, Ghislaine has offered to give up her two non-US citizenships, French and British, where she was born and where she was raised. That’s very personal and very difficult.
“She has also offered to have a monitor appointed over the bank account she would be using, who would have to be a co-signatory on any actions. And on top of that, there is the existing offer to be on 24/7 guarded home confinement with an electronic tag. She isn’t asking to go to holiday camp, all she wants is the opportunity to prepare a defense to the heinous charges against her.”
The government filed a response this week to her appeal, and her lawyers will file their reply on Tuesday. The judge will rule sometime after that, according to Markus.
“The fact that she’s still being held without bond is offensive and absurd,” added Markus. “Even Bernie Madoff was released on bond by this court.”
Maxwell denied that Ghislaine was avoiding authorities and hiding out in New Hampshire before her arrest.
“That’s a complete lie,” he said. “She was living in the US and her lawyers knew exactly where she was. The law enforcement agencies decided to go for the over-the-top arrest with helicopters and a dog-and-pony press conference. It was enormously prejudicial by design.”
Maxwell said that he was not in close contact with his sister during the years that she was associated with Epstein, and that he hasn’t seen her since her incarceration.
Normally press-shy due to legal difficulties in the 1990s following the collapse of his father’s businesses, he said he was prompted to go public, including a high-profile BBC interview last week, due to what he perceived as the unfair treatment Ghislaine Maxwell was receiving.
“My sister is fighting for her life, and in that situation I cannot remain silent,” he said. “It just seemed to me that it was the right moment to emerge with my own voice and the voices of my brothers and sisters who are all solidly behind Ghislaine. It’s a completely unified front.”
Ian Maxwell and Ghislaine Maxwell are two of the nine children of Robert Maxwell, whose death at sea in 1991 after falling from a yacht called the Lady Ghislaine has spawned long-lasting conspiracy theories, including alleged connections to the Mossad and the KGB. He is buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Ghislaine Maxwell worked for her father until his death, when she moved to the United States and became a close associate of Epstein.
“Ghislaine’s spirit is strong, and she is confident of her innocence,” said Maxwell. “She fully expects to be exonerated as does her family. However, I haven’t seen her for a very long time simply because in this time of COVID, nobody is allowed to visit her, not even her lawyers.”
Maxwell said that he had “intense sympathy” for all victims of sexual abuse, including the alleged victims of Epstein.
“However, while we should hear the voices of people that are abused, there are also the voices of people that are accused. Justice cuts both ways. Ghislaine is entitled to the presumption of innocence.”