Ghislaine Maxwell Is Locked Up Like Hannibal Lecter, Lawyer Says
(Bloomberg) -- Ghislaine Maxwell has again asked to be released on bond ahead of her sex trafficking trial, as her lawyer said her detention was reminiscent of the cannibal in “The Silence of the Lambs.”
“The surveillance rivals scenes of Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s incarceration” despite “the absence of the cage and plastic face guard,” attorney Bobbi Sternheim said in a letter to the court on Wednesday. The stress of her confinement has degraded Maxwell’s health and impaired her ability to prepare for trial, Sternheim told U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan. Opening arguments in the trial are scheduled for Nov. 29.
Sternheim also said Maxwell had been “touched in a sexually inappropriate manner by corrections officers on multiple occasions” during searches in the federal lockup in Brooklyn, New York, where she is housed. She said a male U.S. Marshal who guarded Maxwell during a court appearance this week was “inappropriately rough” and had “verbally” threatened the British socialite and former close associate of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, telling her, “You think you are special. You are not special. Remember you are in custody and the judge doesn’t care about you.”
Maxwell, 59, has been held without bail since her July 2020 arrest after Nathan ruled she posed a flight risk. The judge has rejected her bail requests three times, and a federal appeals court in April denied her as well. Maxwell’s lawyers argue the surveillance and nighttime flashlight checks every 15 minutes to determine if she’s still breathing were put in place because of Epstein’s death in a Manhattan federal jail in 2019, which was ruled a suicide.
An email sent to the jail’s warden after business hours seeking comment on the letter wasn’t immediately returned. A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service at the courthouse didn’t immediately return a voicemail.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.