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U.S. defends how it treats jailed Ghislaine Maxwell - Metro US

U.S. defends how it treats jailed Ghislaine Maxwell

FILE PHOTO: Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announces charges against Ghislaine Maxwel in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Federal Bureau of Prisons said Ghislaine Maxwell is being treated the same as other inmates at her Brooklyn jail, rejecting her lawyers’ claim she was subjected to unduly restrictive conditions.

As Maxwell prepared a new bail application, the bureau’s lawyers said in a letter released on Monday that the 58-year-old British socialite “remains in good health” despite a COVID-19 outbreak at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Maxwell has been jailed since July, when she pleaded not guilty to helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein recruit and abuse underage girls in the 1990s and lying under oath about her role.

Lawyers for the prison bureau said Maxwell is served three normal meals a day and keeps her weight around 134 pounds (61 kg).

They said she has access to recreation, computers and TV, can work on her defense for much of the day, and makes her allotted eight hours a month of social calls.

Maxwell’s lawyers had complained of unequal treatment, saying she has been “excessively and invasively searched,” and woken up every 15 minutes to ensure she was still alive.

In response, the letter said inmates “are subject to searches, including body scanners,” and that Brooklyn jail officials check cells overnight with flashlights “to ensure inmates are still breathing and not in distress.”

Maxwell’s lawyers are expected by Tuesday to submit a new bail application to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan.

The judge had denied bail on July 14, agreeing with prosecutors that Maxwell posed a substantial flight risk.

Maxwell has been in custody since her July 2 arrest at a New Hampshire home where prosecutors said she had been hiding. She faces up to 35 years in prison at her scheduled July 2021 trial.

Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

The case is U.S. v. Maxwell, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 20-cr-00330.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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