Family pleads with US attorney general for better treatment of Ghislaine Maxwell during trial

Maxwell's being held without bail during trial on child sex trafficking charges.

December 06, 2021, 2:16 PM

Ghislaine Maxwell's siblings have written to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, appealing for "immediate improvements" to her treatment by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service and urging Garland "in the interest of justice and common humanity to change the shocking daily regime which Ghislaine is subject to during her trial."

The two-page letter, which is signed by all six of Maxwell's surviving siblings, claims that the government agencies have deprived her of adequate food during long trial days, declined to provide her with soap or sanitizer to wash her hands, and provided her insufficient time to meet with her attorneys.

"She has received minimal sustenance during the first week for each whole court day - sometimes no food at all and sometimes food she cannot each such as peanut butter to which she has an allergy known to [authorities]," the family wrote in a statement accompanying the letter. "Such minimal food as she has been given has been both monotonous by repetition and non-sustaining; boiled eggs (occasionally rotten); pieces of bread; potato crisps; bananas; apples; and no utensils, no condiments."

The Federal Bureau of Prisons declined to comment on Maxwell's conditions of confinement specifically, citing privacy, safety and security concerns, but issued a brief statement in response to questions from ABC News.

PHOTO: Witness "Kate" is questioned by prosecutor Lara Pomerantz during the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, Dec. 6, 2021.
Witness "Kate" is questioned by prosecutor Lara Pomerantz during the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, Dec. 6, 2021.
Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all inmates in our population, our staff, and the public," the statement reads. "Additionally, the BOP takes allegations of staff misconduct seriously and consistent with national policy, refers all allegations for investigation, if warranted. Incidents of potential criminal activity or misconduct inside BOP facilities are thoroughly investigated for potential administrative discipline or criminal prosecution."

The U.S. Marshals Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for the agency has previously said that its treatment of Maxwell has been consistent with their protocols.

Maxwell, 59, was denied pre-trial release by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan on four separate occasions since her arrest on multiple charges of child sex trafficking in July 2020, ruling that the wealthy former British socialite was a flight risk. Maxwell's family contends that the judge "has declined to intervene in any way" regarding their concerns about her treatment.

The family is asking Garland to order that the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, where she is being held, provide Maxwell with a food pack and soap each day and to order the the U.S. Marshals Service to permit her additional time with counsel before and after each day of the trial, which is expected to last up to five more weeks.

PHOTO: The Metropolitan Detention Center, (MDC) in Brooklyn, a United States federal administrative detention facility is pictured, July 6, 2020, in New York City.
The Metropolitan Detention Center, (MDC) in Brooklyn, a United States federal administrative detention facility is pictured, July 6, 2020, in New York City.
Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Since her trial opened last Monday, Ghislaine's sister Isabel, who lives in the United States, has been in the gallery every day. Her brother Kevin, who lives in the United Kingdom, joined Isabel later in the week.

In an interview with ABC News on Monday, Ghislaine's brother Kevin Maxwell, called his sister's daily regimen "an absolute outrage."

"This is not fair, (it's) inhumane and a disgrace," Kevin Maxwell said, noting that his sister hasn't been convicted of anything. "There should be suspension of judgment until the end of the trial. She's innocent until proven guilty."

He told ABC News that he was "relieved" to see his sister, but alarmed by her appearance.

"The AG can fix it and can fix it today," Kevin Maxwell said. "Judge Nathan won't fix. The U.S. Marshals, Bureau of Prisons -- the AG must fix it."

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