Ghislaine Maxwell was given paper clothing to wear upon her entry into the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn this week because federal officials feared the long-time confidante of financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein might attempt to take her own life while in jail.
The Associated Press (AP) quoted an anonymous official Thursday who said, “they took away her clothes and bedsheets” and put in place other measures at the federal jail in New York City that “extend far beyond the measures federal officials took when they first arrested her in New Hampshire last week.”
In addition to suicide concerns, the federal official told the AP that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) “has added extra security precautions and placed federal officials outside the Bureau of Prisons in charge of ensuring there is adequate protection for Maxwell” in order “to help prevent other inmates from harming her.”
The AP report said, “The other protocols put in place for Maxwell’s confinement include ensuring that she has a roommate in her cell, that she is monitored and that someone is always with her while she’s behind bars, the official said.”
The official also told the AP that the special precautions are being taken with Maxwell, in part, because Epstein, 66, was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The AP source said that Epstein had “killed himself,” but his death “spawned conspiracy theories” despite “a medical examiner ruling it a suicide.”
From this description, it appears that the leaked details of Maxwell’s imprisonment are aimed at reinforcing the official line that Jeffrey Epstein died from suicidal hanging instead of being murdered, as much of the evidence surrounding his death indicates and has been determined by independent medical experts who were present for the autopsy the day after he was discovered unconscious in his jail cell.
That Maxwell was given paper clothing and federal officials were fearful she might take her own life was also confirmed by ABC News with “two federal law enforcement sources.” The ABC News report also said, “It’s unclear whether Maxwell has been placed on suicide watch,” and that the paper clothing requirement “is standard procedure for high-profile inmates or new inmates.”
On Wednesday, ABC News spoke to Attorney General William Barr about the DoJ’s handling of Maxwell, who was arrested on July 2 and accused of facilitating Epstein’s crimes and participating in the abuse of teenage girls as young as 14 between 1994 and 1997. Also going on about the death of Epstein, Barr said he is keeping a close watch to make sure that Maxwell makes it to trial.
“We have asked [the Bureau of Prisons] to tell us specifically the protocols they’re following, and we have a number of redundant systems to monitor the situation,” the Attorney General said. Barr claimed he was “livid” about Epstein’s death while in custody on August 10.
“I believe very strongly in that case,” Barr told ABC News. “And I was very proud of the work done by the department, the Southern District [of New York], on that case. And as you will recall, after he committed suicide, I said that I was confident that we would continue to pursue this case vigorously and pursue anyone who’s complicit in it. And so, I’m very happy that we were able to get Ms. Maxwell.”
Except it took Barr and federal law enforcement officials 47 weeks to pick up Maxwell, who was known for decades to be Epstein’s closest associate in planning and hosting high-society social gatherings on his private Boeing 727-200 passenger jet—dubbed the “Lolita Express”—and at his multimillion dollar residences in New York City, Palm Beach, Paris, New Mexico and the private Little St. James Island in the Caribbean.
Maxwell was picked up on July 2 at a $1 million 156-acre secluded residence in Bedford, New Hampshire that she had purchased for cash “through a carefully anonymized LLC” in December 2019. According to prosecutors in New York City, Maxwell went to great lengths to conceal her whereabouts and has been hiding out mostly in New England.
“In particular, the defendant has effectively been in hiding for approximately a year, since an indictment against Epstein was unsealed in July 2019,” prosecutors say. Maxwell also moved at least twice, switched her phone number and registered it under the name “G Max,” and changed her email address and ordered packages under a different name.
Prosecutors also disclosed in unsealing the indictment of Maxwell that she has 15 different bank accounts, some with balances of more than $20 million and she holds other accounts in foreign countries containing more than $1 million. The court documents show that Maxwell moved large amounts of cash last year, including $300,000 from one account to another last July when Epstein was indicted.
Given the electronic and geolocation surveillance capabilities of the DoJ and FBI, even with official FISA Court authorized spying on individuals, none of the above actions by Maxwell represent a credible reason for why it took so long for federal authorities to “locate” her. It also does not explain why no one else has been arrested in connection with Epstein’s decades-long sexual abuse and trafficking of underage girls internationally to his elite friends and associates.
A more plausible explanation for the delay in picking up Maxwell is that the DoJ needed time to work out who, among the long list of well-connected individuals associated with Epstein’s international sex ring, is going to take the fall and how his victims are going to be compensated.
One indication that these details have already been arranged is the agreement announced on Tuesday that Deutsche Bank would pay $150 million in fines to settle with the New York State Department of Financial Services because it “inexcusably failed to detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions” within Jeffrey Epstein’s accounts going back to 2013.
Others have publicly discussed the events of the past week and done so without concealing their identity. Spencer Kuvin, an attorney who represents several of Epstein’s victims in Palm Beach, Florida, said he believes Maxwell will either take her own life or be silenced by powerful people.
“It may be that she can’t handle the fear of what’s going to happen to her and takes matters into her own hands or there will be people who are very afraid of what she has to say,” Kuvin told the U.S. Sun. He then added that Maxwell is not “going to get out of jail alive. I think she knows way too much information—I just have this gut feeling.”
On Tuesday at the time of Maxwell’s transfer from New Hampshire to New York City, Cameron Lindsay, a former warden at the MDC, told Reuters, “You go from living a life like Maxwell to all of a sudden being in a situation where you’re being strip-searched and having people look into your body cavities. That is a crushing experience.”
Lindsay said MDC officials had to decide whether to keep Maxwell in her 10-foot-by-12-foot cell alone or house her with another female prisoner. A cellmate might help prevent her from attempting suicide, but Lindsay said the nature of her charges and her high profile also makes her a target for other prisoners. Injuring Maxwell, “would be a badge of honor,” said Lindsay.
Maxwell is scheduled to be arraigned via video stream from the Brooklyn jail to a Manhattan courtroom on Monday. If convicted on all six counts, she faces up to 35 years in prison. Maxwell’s attorneys have made no public statements about the indictment of their client and have not responded to requests for comments from news media.