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NEW YORK — Ghislaine Maxwell has asked the United Nations to help get her out of a Brooklyn federal jail only days before the start of her sex trafficking trial.
Lawyers for the jailed British socialite wrote the U.N. on Monday, requesting it intervene in her detention at the Metropolitan Detention Center. The request comes after six unsuccessful requests to the courts to grant her bail while awaiting trial.
Maxwell’s lawyers wrote that even correctional officers think she’s getting unusually harsh treatment at the Sunset Park lockup.
“It no longer needs to be shown that the brutality of her detention regime is completely gratuitous considering her profile, and that she has significantly less extensive rights than her co-detainees. Ghislaine Maxwell undergoes body searches much more frequently and extensively than usual, these searches being sometimes carried out up to seven times a day,” wrote Paris-based lawyers Francois Zimeray and Jessica Finelle.
“More provocatively, some prison officers appear to believe her conditions of detention are more stringent and dehumanizing than those applicable to inmates of MDC’s most supervised, and those sentenced to death for terrorism or murder.”
Maxwell has been behind bars since her arrest at a secluded $1 million timber frame home in Bradford, New Hampshire.
The letter to the U.N.’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention details Maxwell’s solitary confinement in an “unsanitary cell,” which has “physically and psychologically weakened” the Oxford graduate. The conditions of confinement have made it harder for her to prepare her defense, the lawyers argue.
They reiterated arguments that prosecutors have unfairly substituted Maxwell for her former flame, Jeffrey Epstein. The multimillionaire financier hanged himself in August 2019 while awaiting trial for underage sex trafficking — a major security breakdown that highlighted dreadful conditions at Bureau of Prisons lockups.
The letter alluded to the government’s “urgent need to provide the public with a substitute culprit.”
“The relationship she may have had with Jeffrey Epstein years before — regardless of the reality of it, its origin and its duration — as well as her gender; the privileged international family upbringing of Ms. Maxwell and the controversies surrounding her long-dead father, as well as allusions to her oft-mentioned financial position … made her the ideal candidate for this substitute role,” reads the letter to the U.N.
They argue other high-profile, wealthy Manhattan defendants, like Bernie Madoff, got out on bail for a third of what Maxwell has offered. Her siblings have offered to put up almost $30 million as collateral. Maxwell has offered to renounce her French and British citizenship, to no avail.
“More generally, the fact that Ms. Maxwell is subject to an anti-suicide surveillance regime even though she has no suicidal tendencies demonstrates that she is being treated differently, without any objective justification,” the letter continued.
Meanwhile, Maxwell, 59, appeared Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court for the final time before a jury begins considering the case. Opening arguments start Monday.
Wearing all black, Epstein’s alleged chief recruiter drank coffee fetched by her defense team and waved to supporters in attendance.
The feds have charged Maxwell with procuring minors to have illegal sex with Epstein at his properties worldwide and participating in the abuse herself during the late nineties and early 2000s. She has pleaded not guilty.
A spokesperson for the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Story by Molly Crane-Newman, New York Daily News.