Ghislaine Maxwell, the accused co-conspirator in Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous alleged child sex-trafficking scheme, got something on Friday that other detainees haven’t since the coronavirus pandemic struck: an in-person visit from her lawyers.
The New York Daily News reported on Friday that Maxwell’s lawyer Christian Everdell and another member of the legal team were spotted walking into the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, bringing legal papers with them. The report promptly sparked outrage among attorneys who said they have been fighting for months to ensure that detainees who aren’t wealthy can safely meet with their attorneys in jail; meanwhile, Ghislaine Maxwell—of all defendants—was the “first in-person federal jail visit in the city since the start of the coronavirus pandemic,” according to the Daily News.
Sean Hecker, a partner at the law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, called the in-person visit “[a]bsurd & unjust.”
We've been litigating for the Fed Defenders of NY to obtain a safe, in-person visiting option for many months. MDC detainees have been waiting up to 6 months for such visits. And BOP-MDC decides that the 1st such visit should go to a wealthy British socialite? Absurd & unjust. https://t.co/Iqt26vVayy
— Sean Hecker (@hecker_sean) August 28, 2020
“We’ve been litigating for the Fed Defenders of NY to obtain a safe, in-person visiting option for many months. MDC detainees have been waiting up to 6 months for such visits. And BOP-MDC decides that the 1st such visit should go to a wealthy British socialite? Absurd & unjust,” Hecker said.
Law&Crime reached out to Hecker for additional comment. He said that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) was flat-out “wrong” to allow this.
“The BOP’s decision is outrageous. And it’s wrong. It bolsters a widespread belief that well-heeled friends of the President are treated preferentially by the Department of Justice. When the MDC is safe for in-person attorney visits, everyone detained there – Ms. Maxwell included – should have regular opportunities to meet with counsel,” Hecker said. “But to learn that the very first in-person visit was provided to a well-connected detainee who has been at the MDC for just two months, rather than to one of the countless detainees who have been unable to meet with their lawyers for close to six months, is distressing.”
President Donald Trump previously wished Maxwell well, saying that many people were still trying to figure out whether her ex-boyfriend Epstein was murdered or died by suicide in jail.
“Mr. President, Ghislaine Maxwell has been arrested on allegations of child sex trafficking. Why would you wish her well?” asked Jonathan Swan of Axios during a widely viewed interview.
“Well, first of all, I don’t know that, but I do know this,” Trump began to answer.
“She has, she’s been arrested for that,” Swan interjected, noting that Maxwell is an accused co-conspirator in Epstein’s sexual abuse of young girls.
“Her friend or boyfriend was either killed or committed suicide in jail,” Trump said. “She’s now in jail. Yeah, I wish her well. I’d wish you well. I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty.”
“So you’re saying you hope she doesn’t die in jail, is that what you mean by ‘wish her well?’” Swan asked.
“Her boyfriend died in jail and people are still trying to figure out how did it happen: was it suicide, was he killed? And I do wish her well. I’m not looking for anything bad for her. I’m looking bad for anybody. And they took that and they made it such a big deal.”
“I mean, she’s a child sex traffi—an alleged child sex trafficker,” Swan said.
“But all it is is her boyfriend died. He died in jail. Was it suicide was he killed? I do, I wish her well,” the president said. Trump and Maxwell have been photographed together a number of times. Maxwell has been photographed with Bill Clinton in the doorway of Epstein’s jet. She even attended Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.
Hecker also said that the length of the meeting between Maxwell and her lawyers was “disconcerting.”
“And then to find out that attorneys for Ms. Maxwell were given three hours to meet with their client – when the MDC has said that visits will generally be limited to one hour – is more disconcerting,” he told Law&Crime. “There can’t be two systems of justice in this country – one of friends of President Trump and one for everyone else.”
Attorney Susan Marcus told the Daily News that she has clients detained at MDC that could face the death penalty—and yet, no such in-person attorney-client meetings have occurred.
“I’m incredulous really that she was the first one when there are those of us who have been waiting for nearly six months to have an in person visit with our clients,” Marcus said. “It’s heartbreaking, actually.”
The BOP responded to the outrage with a statement that declined to get into particulars about much of anything.
“While we do not discuss a specific inmate’s conditions of confinement, including whether a particular inmate receives an attorney visit, we can share the following general information about visits during the pandemic. These protocols remain in place today throughout the Bureau of Prisons’ correctional institutions,” the statement began. “During the pandemic, access to legal counsel remains a paramount requirement, but the BOP needs to reduce the risk of exposure created by external visitors.”
“As such, while in general legal visits are suspended, case-by-case accommodations will be accomplished at the local level and confidential legal calls will be allowed in order to ensure inmates maintain access to counsel,” the BOP spokesman continued. “We are facilitating attorney client-visitation, as well as judicial proceedings, via video conference, primarily at our detention centers.”
Maxwell, Epstein’s accused madam, has been jailed since her arrest in July. She faces two counts of Conspiracy to Entice Minors to Travel to Engage in Illegal Sex Acts; Conspiracy to Transport Minors with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity; Transportation of a Minor with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity; and two counts of Perjury.
According to federal prosecutors, Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse, by among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to MAXWELL and Epstein.” The victims were people Epstein and Maxwell both knew were minors and who were as young as 14 years old, the documents stated.
Maxwell allegedly “enticed” minors between 1994-1997 to travel to Epstein’s palatial residences in various U.S. states with the knowledge that those minors would be sexually abused.
During the aforementioned span of years in the 90s, Maxwell and Epstein were in an “intimate” relationship; Epstein paid Maxwell to manage the very properties she allegedly enticed minors to visit.
It should be noted that special treatment in jail is nothing new for Epstein-related cases.
[Image of Maxwell via Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images; image of Epstein via mugshot]
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