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A New York federal judge has denied Ghislaine Maxwell’s request for bail for the fourth time ahead of her sex-trafficking trial, apparently unmoved by a letter from her attorney comparing the conditions of her confinement to that of Hannibal Lecter in the movie “Silence of the Lambs.”
U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan denied the request from the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, saying she was too great of a flight risk, according to WNBC.
As previously reported by Oxygen.com, Maxwell’s attorney detailed deplorable conditions in jail in a letter last week and requested that his client be released on bail.
“My weekly in-person legal visits with Ms. Maxwell are conducted under the most humiliating circumstances that I have ever experienced in many decades of federal criminal practice,” attorney Bobbi Sternheim wrote in a letter to Nathan. “As disturbing and invasive as they are for no justifiable reason, I get to leave; Ms. Maxwell does not. The surveillance rivals scenes of Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s incarceration as portrayed in the movie, 'Silence of the Lambs,' despite the absence of the cage and plastic face guard."
In the letter, Sternheim also complained about physical and emotional abuse by jail guards, sleep deprivation, insufficient nutrition and issues reviewing legal documents.
She said Maxwell, 59, had suffered hair loss and dropped 15 pounds.
“The conditions of her confinement are seriously impacting her overall mental and physical health which will continue to worsen over time if she remains incarcerated under the current conditions and subject to the regiment at trial—sleep deprivation, inadequate nutrition, exposure to cold temperature, daily humiliation,” the letter states. “If she were released, her ongoing symptoms which will be exacerbated during trial would likely resolve completely, and she would be afforded the opportunity to properly prepare her defense for trial and endure the rigor of each trial day.”
According to WNBC, prosecutors wrote that the request, “turns to rhetoric and anecdotes better suited to tabloids than briefs. Where legal arguments can be found, they are cursory and unpersuasive.”
The judge was not swayed by arguments that Maxwell was not getting enough food or sleep on the days she was transported from jail to the courthouse.
"For the reasons stated in this court's prior bail determinations … the renewed request for bail is denied," Judge Nathan wrote, according to Law360. “As to the defendant's transport, the court concludes that she will be transported to and from the courthouse for pretrial conferences and trial in a way that is humane, proper and consistent with security protocols."
Judge Nathan also dismissed claims by the defense that mail delays were hindering Maxwell’s trial preparation.
"Based on the representations from MDC (Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn) legal counsel regarding the delivery of the defendant's legal mail, the court concludes that the defendant has adequate access to legal counsel and legal mail in order to prepare for trial," Judge Nathan wrote, according to Law360.
Maxwell’s trial is scheduled to start on November 29. Jury selection is already underway.
The British socialite and media heir pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and other charges tied to Epstein’s abuse of underage girls between 1994 and 2004.
For more on her case, you can watch Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell on Peacock.
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