04:07 GMT19 September 2020
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    The British socialite's legal team has referred to her pre-trial treatment as "onerous", insisting she has difficulties in studying her court case and designing her line of defence while being constantly kept tabs on.

    A team of prison psychologists have been watching Jeffrey Epstein's suspected "madam" in her solitary Brooklyn confinement for hours every day, conducting undercover checks of her mental health, the one-time socialite's lawyers complained in a letter to US District Court Judge Alison Nathan, blasting the "onerous conditions" their client is being kept in.

    "The defence recently learned that some of these guards were, in fact [Bureau of Prisons] psychologists who were observing Ms Maxwell and evaluating her for hours each day without her knowledge", Ms Maxwell's lawyers said in the document, fuming that they are "aware of no other pretrial detainee receiving such treatment".

    Maxwell's attorney requested to transfer their client to the general population as she prepares for her trial scheduled for July next year.

    Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing where she was denied bail for her role aiding Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and eventually abuse of minor girls, in Manhattan Federal Court, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. July 14, 2020 in this courtroom sketch
    © REUTERS / JANE ROSENBERG
    Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing where she was denied bail for her role aiding Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and eventually abuse of minor girls, in Manhattan Federal Court, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. July 14, 2020 in this courtroom sketch

    The stepped-up security measures, like the initial suicide watch and 24-hour surveillance, follow her ex-partner and pal Jeffrey Epstein's suspicious death last summer while awaiting trial on a new batch of sex trafficking charges at a different facility - Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Centre.

    Maxwell's attorneys insisted that Maxwell had never shown any predisposition to suicide, so current conditions treat her unfairly as compared to other inmates, they claimed last week.

    "She, unlike Mr Epstein, has never been suicidal and was never diagnosed as exhibiting risk factors for suicide", they said. Officials gradually modified her regime and she is now able to review the voluminous materials on her indictment between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, her lawyers said, but is still being "surveilled 24 hours a day".

    "She is also still being awakened several times in the middle of the night", they claimed in a filing to the judge last week, blasting the "onerous conditions" their client is being kept in.

    Maxwell was limited to 30 minutes a month for personal phone calls, compared with 500 minutes given to other suspects awaiting trial, her lawyers said in the letter. Also, she does not have a desk or surface to take notes when she is studying evidence for her case and was recently denied access to the jail's commissary, they added.

    The lawyers had earlier applied for bail following her arrest, but the request was turned down after prosecutors deemed her an "extreme flight risk".

    Maxwell’s legal team has also repeatedly asked to be told the identities of the three women who have accused her of grooming them when in their teens, between 1994 and 1997 – an allegation that is central to Maxwell's six federal charges.

    The 58-year-old, who has reportedly been trying to avoid the public eye since the first allegations were brought against Epstein, was arrested in her New Hampshire hideaway on 2 July and charged with recruiting, grooming, and ultimately abusing three alleged victims, including a 14-year-old. The daughter of British media mogul Robert Maxwell has since pleaded not guilty to the indictment. If found guilty, she could face up to 35 years behind bars.

    Related:

    US Judge Rejects Ghislaine Maxwell's Latest Bid to Delay Unsealing of Court Documents
    Epstein's Suspected 'Madam' Maxwell Claims Her Conversations With Lawyers Illegally Recorded
    Prosecutors Refuse to Release Epstein 'Pimp' Ghislaine Maxwell From Solitary Confinement
    Tags:
    Sex Trafficking, child sexual abuse, sex abuse, trial, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell
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