Prosecutors ask judge to deny Ghislaine Maxwell’s request for accusers’ identities

Prosecutors ask judge to deny Ghislaine Maxwell’s request for accusers’ identities

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to deny Ghislaine Maxwell’s request to be told the identities of the women who allege the former British socialite and girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein recruited, groomed and ultimately sexually abused them as young girls.

In a letter to the judge, prosecutors also said the judge should reject Maxwell’s request to be moved into the general population at the Metropolitan Detention Center calling them “premature, meritless, or both.”

“[P]articularly given the nature of the charges, the Government’s strong desire to protect the privacy of the alleged victims, and the lack of any legal precedent for the defendant’s request, the government respectfully submits that at the present time—eleven months prior to trial, nearly three months prior to the discovery deadline, and more than four months prior to the pretrial motions deadline—there is no basis for the defendant to demand the Government disclose the identity of its witnesses,” prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors said they provided Maxwell’s attorneys with the months and years of birth for the three alleged victims identified in the indictment. In addition, they said, since last week they have turned over 165,000 pages of documents, mostly financial records, to Maxwell’s attorneys. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

Lawyers for Maxwell on Monday also asked the judge to have the Bureau of Prisons move Maxwell into the general population stating that she has been held in isolation where she is surveilled 24 hours a day and watched by prison guards. They also said the conditions would impede her ability to prepare for trial, which is set for July 2021.

Maxwell is being held at a Brooklyn federal detention facility, the Metropolitan Detention Center, while she awaits trial on charges that she recruited, groomed and sexually abused underage girls as young as 14 as part of Epstein’s alleged years-long criminal enterprise. She has pleaded not guilty and was denied bail.

She was on suicide watch until recently, her lawyers wrote, “despite the fact that she, unlike Mr. Epstein, has never been suicidal and was never diagnosed as exhibiting risk factors for suicide,” and she has been subjected to numerous body scans and cell searches.

Epstein died while awaiting trial last year on sex-trafficking charges at a different federal facility, Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner said Epstein died by suicide.

Prosecutors told the judge that the Bureau of Prisons decided against moving Maxwell for “reasons including safety, security, and the orderly functioning of the facility.”

“The Government understands from BOP that it will continue to evaluate where the defendant should be housed within the facility and that the defendant will be placed into the general population if and when BOP is assured that such placement would not pose a threat to the orderly operation of the institution.”

Prosecutors added that the prison, which initially planned to allow Maxwell to review materials from her case for three hours each day, will now allow Maxwell to access the documents from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week.

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