Ghislaine Maxwell Placed On Suicide Watch But Not Suicidal: Attorney
Ghislaine Maxwell, the convicted former longtime associate of child sex predator Jeffrey Epstein, has been placed on suicide watch ahead of her sentencing this week, but she is not suicidal, her lawyer said in court papers filed Saturday.
The 60-year-old former British socialite was “abruptly” placed on suicide watch Friday at a New York City detention center without a “psychological evaluation and without justification,” her lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, wrote to a federal court in New York on Saturday.
“She is not suicidal,” he said, while stating that he personally met with her at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn earlier that morning.
Maxwell was moved from general population to solitary confinement, preventing her from being able to prepare for Tuesday’s sentencing hearing since she is not allowed to possess or view legal documents or possess paper or pen, Sternheim said.
“She was provided a ‘suicide smock’ and is given a few sheets of toilet paper on request. This morning, a psychologist evaluated Ms. Maxwell and determined she is not suicidal,” he added.
Should her conditions not change, and should she become sleep deprived and not have sufficient time to meet with her defense team, Sternheim said he would request that her hearing be postponed.
A representative with the Federal Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday on Sternheim’s suicide watch claim.
Maxwell was convicted late last year of five counts related to Epstein, who authorities say hanged himself in 2019 while awaiting trial at a federal jail in New York on related sex trafficking charges. Each charge Maxwell faces carries a maximum prison term from five to 40 years in prison.
Earlier this month, her attorneys wrote to the sentencing judge in a bid for leniency. They depicted her as being a scapegoat for Epstein’s crimes following his death and described her as suffering a difficult childhood at the hands of a cruel and overbearing father and an absent mother. They included letters from family and friends that vouched for her character.
“Ms. Maxwell has already experienced hard time during detention under conditions far more onerous and punitive than any experienced by a typical pretrial detainee, and she is preparing to spend significantly more time behind bars,” her attorneys said. “Her life has been ruined. Since Epstein’s death, her life has been threatened and death threats continue while she is incarcerated. It would be a travesty of justice for her to face a sentence that would have been appropriate for Epstein,” her attorneys said.