Scottish Daily Mail

GHIS­LAINE’S PRISON NIGHT­MARE BE­FORE CHRIST­MAS

No soap, no tooth­brush, no bra (it’s a sui­cide risk) . . . 30 min­utes out of her cell just three times a week ... a torch in her face ev­ery 15 min­utes: A chill­ingly de­tailed ac­count of Maxwell’s jail hell that’s a world away from her glit­ter­ing former lif

- From Tom Leonard Crime · Supermodels · Society · Sexual Abuse · Celebrities · Violence and Abuse · United States of America · Manhattan · Palm Beach · Palm Beach · Florida · Brooklyn · Brooklyn · New York · New York County, NY · Sweden · Turkey · New Hampshire · Philippines Department of Justice · Colorado · supermax prison · Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán · Pierre Vogel · Harvey Weinstein · Bill Cosby · Isabel · California · Jeffrey Epstein · Robert Maxwell · Maxwell

AT THANKS­GIV­ING, Amer­i­cans get to­gether to cel­e­brate what re­ally mat­ters — fam­ily, friends, food and fel­low­ship. Even if Covid-19 is this year putting a brake on many re­unions, it must be the hard­est time of the year to be be­hind bars.

And the holiday — which be­gan on Thurs­day and con­tin­ues all week­end — will cer­tainly not be easy for one pris­oner, ghis­laine Maxwell.

In the ‘glory days’ when she and Jef­frey Ep­stein glided through their pam­pered world of pri­vate j ets, Caribbean i slands and amenable royal friends, this U.S. ‘ holiday season’ would see the tire­less Bri­tish so­cialite spend more than a month par­ty­ing in the bil­lion­aire cir­cles of Man­hat­tan and Palm Beach, Florida, that she and her pae­dophile chum loved to move in.

To­day, as she lan­guishes in her tiny soli­tary cell at the for­bid­ding Metropoli­tan De­ten­tion Cen­tre (MDC) in Brook­lyn, New York, her mind may be wan­der­ing back to Thanks­giv­ings past — per­haps the ones she and Ep­stein spent at the Palm Beach man­sion of their great friends glenn and Eva Du­bin, one of New York’s best-con­nected cou­ples. glenn, a bil­lion­aire hedge-fund man­ager, and Eva, a former Miss Swe­den and prom­i­nent Man­hat­tan doc­tor, were old friends of Ep­stein; Eva was Ep­stein’s ex-girl­friend.

And they re­mained so loyal that even af­ter he was jailed in 2008 for so­lic­it­ing a mi­nor, Eva told Ep­stein’s pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer they were happy to have him over and mix with their three chil­dren, in­clud­ing a beau­ti­ful young daugh­ter. (vir­ginia roberts, ac­cuser of both Ep­stein and Maxwell, said in a 2015 law­suit that glenn Du­bin was the first pow­er­ful man Ep­stein sent her to have sex with, a claim Du­bin de­nies.)

The Du­bins, like so many of Maxwell’s old friends, have since run for the hills, in­sist­ing they knew noth­ing about the sor­did al­le­ga­tions against the toxic pair. Nowa­days, Maxwell, 58, has more ba­sic con­cerns. Ac­cord­ing to her friends and lawyers, she can no longer take ne­ces­si­ties such as soap, toothbrush­es, bras and even sleep for granted as she awaits trial, in a jail that a former war­den de­scribed as the most trou­bled fa­cil­ity in the U.S.

The au­thor­i­ties say they are sim­ply try­ing to keep her alive and en­sure she doesn’t copy Ep­stein, who was able to hang him­self in jail as he awaited trial.

Her sup­port­ers — fight­ing for her to be re­leased on bail and who dis­miss claims she is a flight risk — in­sist she is be­ing sin­gled out for es­pe­cially harsh treat­ment as the prin­ci­pal sur­viv­ing vil­lain in one of the most no­to­ri­ous crim­i­nal scan­dals for decades.

There will cer­tainly be no big holiday party for Maxwell, (who wouldn’t have any­thing to wear, hav­ing swapped her de­signer wardrobe for a reg­u­la­tion T-shirt and leg­gings when she was moved to the MDC in July.)

In­deed, very lit­tle fes­tive hu­man con­tact at all is likely for the woman who al­ways knew ev­ery­one at the party — ex­cept for the mo­ment on Thurs­day when a guard pushed through her cell’s food hatch a tray of tra­di­tional Thanks­giv­ing din­ner — turkey, stuff­ing, mashed po­tato, cran­berry — and any other trim­mings a cash-strapped prison sys­tem can af­ford.

As a ve­gan who has al­legedly al­ready lost 25lb thanks to the lim­ited menu, she prob­a­bly found it less en­tic­ing than it sounds.

Con­sid­er­ing the hor­rific al­le­ga­tions against her — that she not only found and groomed un­der­age girls for Ep­stein to sex­u­ally abuse but also some­times took part in the as­saults — it might strike some as ironic that her camp is now com­plain­ing her hu­man rights are be­ing ig­nored. How­ever, while Maxwell cer­tainly faces damn­ing pros­e­cu­tion ev­i­dence, she has yet to be tried for any­thing, let alone con­victed.

When Ep­stein com­mit­ted sui­cide in his cell last sum­mer 12 days af­ter be­ing taken off sui­cide watch, Maxwell went to ground as the FBI made clear it was look­ing for her. Since her dis­cov­ery and dra­matic ar­rest at a house deep in the woods of New Hamp­shire in July, prose­cu­tors suc­cess­fully ar­gued that Maxwell — who pos­sessed three pass­ports and huge funds — was a se­ri­ous flight risk and should be de­nied bail. E VER since, she and her ex­pen­sive lawyers have been try­ing des­per­ately to over­turn that de­ci­sion. This week, t hey rum­bled into ac­tion again af­ter the U.S. Jus­tice De­part­ment wrote to tell a judge in her case that Maxwell was now in quar­an­tine af­ter a mem­ber of the j ail staff tested pos­i­tive for Covid-19.

Keen to as­sure the judge that Maxwell was not be­ing sin­gled out for harsh treat­ment, the gov­ern­ment’s let­ter laid bare the ex­tent of her now im­mensely re­stricted ex­is­tence — like other af­fected inmates, she was be­ing al­lowed out of her cell three days per week for just 30 min­utes. In those pe­ri­ods, she was al­lowed to shower, make per­sonal phone calls and use the de­ten­tion cen­tre’s email sys­tem.

In ad­di­tion, she was able to talk to lawyers on the phone for up to three hours day and use a lap­top in her cell for 13 hours ev­ery day to pre­pare her de­fence. She wouldn’t, how­ever, be able to see any vis­i­tors.

The let­ter also re­vealed that, when not in quar­an­tine, Maxwell is al­lowed out of her ‘iso­la­tion cell’ from 7am to 8pm ev­ery day to use the com­puter, pre­pare her de­fence and re­ceive vis­its from lawyers, for hours at a time.

It stressed that Maxwell con­tin­ues to have more time than any other in­mate to pre­pare her de­fence.

Such as­sur­ances drew a prickly re­sponse from Maxwell, whose lawyers im­me­di­ately filed her own let­ter, fill­ing the gaps in what they in­sisted was an ‘in­com­plete pic­ture’ of her con­fine­ment con­di­tions. The litany of com­plaints included that Maxwell is ‘ex­ces­sively and in­va­sively searched and is mon­i­tored 24 hours per day’. Her lawyer claimed the in­mate was watched by a sur­veil­lance cam­era in her cell — which friends say is just 9ft by 7ft but a former war­den says is 10ft by 12ft — while an­other cam­era fol­lowed her when she was let out.

The most shock­ing claim was that Maxwell is wo­ken ev­ery 15 min­utes at night by a torch shone in her face by guards to check she’s still alive. Maxwell com­plained that she was threat­ened with an ad­di­tional 21-day quar­an­tine un­less she agreed to have two nasal swab tests.

She was then or­dered to re­move her pro­tec­tive mask for an in-mouth

in­spec­tion‘ fur­ther risk­ing ex­po­sure to the virus’.

There was more: at first she was quar­an­tined ‘ with­out soap or a tooth­brush’, med­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal staff who checked on her each day pre-quar­an­tine stopped com­ing, and an unidentifi­ed man en­tered her cell to take pho­tos dur­ing quar­an­tine. Even the 13 hours a day to pre­pare her de­fence was ‘in­ad­e­quate’, it was claimed, given that case files run to 1.2 mil­lion doc­u­ments al­ready.

Maxwell, said her lawyer, was a ‘non-vi­o­lent, ex­em­plary pre-trial de­tainee with no crim­i­nal his­tory’ and no his­tory of men­tal health is­sues or sui­ci­dal ten­den­cies.

As such, she was be­ing ‘over­man­aged un­der con­di­tions more re­stric­tive’ t han c on­victed ter­ror­ists and killers held at Colorado’s tough Su­per­max prison, home to Mex­i­can drug car­tel king Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guz­man and hate preacher Abu Hamza.

Re­flect­ing Maxwell’s own no­to­ri­ous haugh­ti­ness, her lawyer signed off by de­mand­ing the MDC’s war­den, Herib­erto Tellez, be ‘sum­moned’ to ac­count for her con­di­tions to the court.

The Maxwell le­gal team is be­ing as­sisted by vet­eran Bri­tish pub­lic re­la­tions con­sul­tant Brian Basham, an old friend of the Maxwell fam­ily, who be­lieves Ghis­laine is the vic­tim of a ‘lynch mob’.

Mr Basham, who has launched what he calls Op­er­a­tion GGO (‘Get Ghis­laine Out’) has claimed Maxwell was forced to wear clothes made of pa­per and even de­nied a bra be­cause of fears she might use it to try to hang her­self. ( He be­lieves she has since re­cov­ered her un­der­wear.)

He says Maxwell once went with­out food for 20 hours — ‘She just wasn’t fed,’ he claimed, and when she com­plained she’d lost 25lb, her jail­ers re­moved her set of scales so she couldn’t weigh her­self.

He added that even with­out be­ing wo­ken by torch­light, there is so much noise from guards shout­ing out­side her cell she gets lit­tle sleep. The jail, which has a long his­tory of ne­glect and bru­tal­ity, doesn’t al­low inmates any per­sonal pos­ses­sions, ex­cept an ‘ap­proved’ re­li­gious item such as a Bi­ble.

Mr Basham says he of­fered his ser­vices for free to the Maxwells out of dis­gust at the way U.S. au­thor­i­ties treated Ghis­laine with ‘vin­dic­tive cru­elty’. ‘I’m adamant that she shouldn’t be in prison and should be out and able to con­duct her de­fence,’ he told me. He noted that even the uber- preda­tors Har­vey We­in­stein and Bill Cosby were given bail — though he omit­ted to men­tion Ep­stein wasn’t.

Mr Basham in­sists Maxwell was hid­ing from the me­dia, not U.S. prose­cu­tors — a claim flatly con­tra­dicted by the au­thor­i­ties. An FBI boss com­pared her to a snake that ‘slith­ered away to a gor­geous prop­erty in New Hamp­shire’ be­fore her ar­rest.

Mr Basham is in touch with Maxwell’s 70-year- old twin sis­ters, Chris­tine and Is­abel, suc­cess­ful IT en­trepreneur­s who live in New York and Cal­i­for­nia, and who have been run­ning the fam­ily’s ef­forts on her be­half. Although fam­ily mem­bers could visit Maxwell out­side of quar­an­tine, he re­ported that none had yet seen or even talked to her since she was jailed.

‘She has a lim­ited time to talk to anybody,’ he said. ‘The fam­ily don’t want to burn up valu­able time she has to talk to her lawyers when all they can say is “How are you?”, so they haven’t spo­ken to her. Which is caus­ing them great sad­ness as they are a very, very close fam­ily.

‘But the sis­ters are work­ing their socks off to help the lawyers put to­gether the ev­i­dence.’ He says even the de­ten­tion cen­tre guards — her only hu­man con­tact — have stopped talk­ing to Maxwell. ‘An im­pres­sion has been cre­ated of her as an evil woman,’ he said. ‘In prison, child sex of­fend­ers al­ways get treated ap­pallingly be­cause peo­ple are hu­man. What’s be­ing done to her is ab­so­lutely vile.’

MR BASHAM is con­fi­dent the jail con­di­tions won’t af­fect Maxwell’s men­tal state. ‘ She’s as strong as an ox. She is con­vinced of her own in­no­cence,’ he said.

Her sis­ters, who are briefed by the lawyers, tell him Maxwell is ‘up­set’ and finds it ‘de­mean­ing and un­com­fort­able’ but, he added, ‘there’s not a chance of her com­mit­ting sui­cide’. He went on: ‘ Her fa­ther lost his whole fam­ily in Auschwitz. She was brought up to know where [rock] bot­tom is. And bot­tom, how­ever un­pleas­ant and vin­dic­tive it is, is not a cell in New York.’

As l awyers bicker over her quar­an­tine con­di­tions, Cameron Lind­say, a former war­den of the MDC, told the Mail that even with­out coro­n­avirus, she is ef­fec­tively liv­ing un­der lock­down.

As the de­ten­tion cen­tre houses pris­on­ers of all se­cu­rity lev­els (from fraud­sters await­ing trial to con­victed killers be­fore sen­tenc­ing), they are seg­re­gated where pos­si­ble for safety rea­sons.

The MDC doesn’t even have a can­teen be­cause inmates eat in the cells. As an al­leged child sex abuser, Maxwell is at risk from other inmates who would con­sider it a ‘badge of hon­our’ to in­jure her, he said. He be­lieves claims she has a torch shone on her ev­ery 15 min­utes are ex­ag­ger­ated but con­ceded guards are in­structed to do this on night pa­trols to en­sure they see ‘mov­ing, breath­ing flesh’.

If she is on sui­cide watch, he added, a guard or spe­cially trained ‘com­pan­ion’ is sup­posed to watch Maxwell di­rectly (through a small win­dow in her cell wall) day and night. It would be highly un­usual but not in­con­ceiv­able to have a cam­era in her cell, he added.

‘ I do be­lieve they’re tak­ing ex­traor­di­nary, per­haps un­prece­dented, mea­sures with her,’ said Mr Lind­say. ‘But that is be­cause of the in­cred­i­ble sen­si­tiv­ity of her case in light of what hap­pened with Ep­stein. I can’t think of a more im­por­tant wit­ness/de­fen­dant that has to be kept alive.’

Mr Lind­say had said when she first went in­side that Maxwell’s tran­si­tion to the bleak MDC would be a ‘crush­ing ex­pe­ri­ence’ for her. He may have had a point.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Re­ver­sal of for­tune: Ghis­laine at a New York party in 2010 (left), the im­pos­ing Metropoli­tan De­ten­tion Cen­tre, and, right, a typ­i­cal cell
Re­ver­sal of for­tune: Ghis­laine at a New York party in 2010 (left), the im­pos­ing Metropoli­tan De­ten­tion Cen­tre, and, right, a typ­i­cal cell

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK