Last Updated on June 28, 2022
Jeffery Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell has reportedly been placed on suicide watch as she awaits sentencing for sex trafficking convictions. Maxwell played a key role in selecting and grooming victims who were taken to Epstein’s infamous private island. Epstein committed suicide in 2019, according to official reports.
Maxwell is set to be sentenced Tuesday after being convicted on five criminal counts, including sex trafficking, according to her lawyer. She is currently awaiting sentencing at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
“Yesterday, without having conducted a psychological evaluation and without justification, the MDC placed Ms. Maxwell on suicide watch,” her lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, wrote to a federal court in New York on Saturday. “She is not permitted to possess and review legal documents and is not permitted paper or pen. This has prevented her from preparing for sentencing.”
About three years ago today, at the same detention center that currently houses Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein was found dead by suicide. The federal government has since announced plans to close the Metropolitain Detention Center due to poor conditions.
As part of being placed on suicide watch, Ghislaine Maxwell has been issued paper clothes and is not allowed to use writing utensils. Maxwell’s lawyers have argued that she is not suicidal and that she was placed on suicide watch without a proper psychological evaluation.
“Ms. Maxwell was abruptly removed from general population and returned to solitary confinement, this time without any clothing, toothpaste, soap, legal papers, etc,” her lawyer’s letter said on Saturday. “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.”
The Department of Justice responded to Maxwell’s lawyers on Monday, who said she was placed on suicide after sending an email to the Bureau of Prisons Inspector General’s Office claiming she feared for her safety.
“Here, the Warden and Chief Psychologist assessed that the defendant is at heightened risk of self-harm, particularly given her upcoming sentencing and sex offender status. As a result, they are not comfortable placing the defendant in the SHU (Special Housing Unit), but they also need to remove the defendant from general population to investigate the threat she reported to the IG,” United States attorney Damian Williams wrote to the court Sunday.
Following the email, she reportedly refused to answer questions from prison psychologists. Ghislaine Maxwell was then placed on suicide watch, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Although the defendant has claimed to psychology staff that she is not suicidal, she has refused to answer psychology staff’s questions regarding the threat she reported to the IG. While she claimed to the IG to be in fear for her safety, she refused to tell psychology staff what that fear is,” Williams wrote.
“Given the defendant’s inconsistent accounts to the IG and to psychology staff, the Chief Psychologist assesses the defendant to be at additional risk of self-harm, as it appears she may be attempting to be transferred to a single cell where she can engage in self-harm. The defendant will remain on suicide watch until the MDC assesses that she is no longer at heightened risk of self-harm,” Williams wrote.
Maxwell’s lawyers tried to have Tuesday’s sentencing hearing delayed, though the court has seen no reason to do so and will proceed. She faces up to 55 years in prison.