Ghislaine Maxwell's Brother Claims She Has Been 'Physically Abused', Questions Chances of Fair Trial
10:23 GMT 30.10.2021 (Updated: 15:16 GMT 28.05.2023)
Ghislaine Maxwell, the 59-year-old daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell, was in a relationship with the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in the 1990s. The British socialite has been behind bars in New York since last summer, awaiting her trial as she faces six counts, including sex-trafficking of a minor and sex-trafficking conspiracy.
Ian Maxwell, brother of jailed British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, has raised concerns over whether the woman accused of being the tycoon’s “pimp” would receive a fair trial. She is charged with grooming and sex trafficking girls for the late convicted pedophile
Maxwell, who himself was acquitted of fraud alongside his brother Kevin in a high-profile 1996 trial, blamed US authorities for waging a "disinformation campaign" against his sister as he spoke in a Sky News interview.
"We start with a press conference designed to be prejudicial. And then we have for the last two or three years a whole plethora of news programmes, documentaries and so forth, which are entirely one-sided.”
Ian Maxwell suggested that as a result of the targeted campaign, his sister’s reputation has been "comprehensively trashed".
"In the court of public opinion.... it seems to me that Ghislaine has already been convicted and the punishment that she is having meted out to her in prison as a pre-trial detainee is precisely what it is. Punishment prior to conviction… I have to really ask myself, are we going to get a fair trial?"
Maxwell’s older brother believes that prison officers in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, have "physically abused" his sister, subjecting her to treatment that is a "fundamental abuse of human rights" specifically "designed to break her".
The former girlfriend of sex felon Epstein has been incarcerated since her July 2020 arrest on charges that she procured underage girls for the tycoon to sex-traffic and, purportedly, joined in the abuse. She has pleaded not guilty. Jeffrey Epstein died at a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, with his death ruled a suicide.
In late April, Maxwell's lawyers, who have repeatedly complained about her conditions in jail and made several applications for bail, which were denied, released an image which appeared to show the woman with a black eye.
Epstein’s ex-lover told her lawyers the bruise might have resulted from her efforts to shield her eyes from the light when the guards come to check on her every 15 minutes, including during purported "night time surveillance".
“While Ms Maxwell is unaware of the cause of the bruise, as reported to medical and psych staff, she has grown increasingly reluctant to report information to the guards for fear of retaliation, discipline, and punitive chores," Maxwell's lawyer Bobbi Sternheim was reported as saying at the time.
Commenting on that incident, Ian Maxwell said:
"I don't see Ghislaine administering a black eye to herself… I think she has suffered some occasional physical abuse at the hands of her guards. Yes."
Maxwell's defence previously claimed
their client had lost hair and over 15 pounds in body weight during her incarceration. Referring to the billionaire Epstein’s death behind bars as a glaring example of the failure of the US judicial system, Ian Maxwell, who has always been adamant his sister is innocent, insisted she was being made to take the fall.
"There has just simply been a transference of presumed guilt on the part of Jeffrey Epstein without any corroborating evidence. Just simply because she had a relationship. He then dies, and they've got to find someone to pay the price."
Maxwell argued that his sister's treatment while awaiting trial
has made it more difficult to prepare her defence. He deplored the fact that all applications of bail had been denied, whereas in high-profile cases of such individuals as Harvey Weinstein, Derek Chauvin and Bernie Madoff the pre-trial bail had been granted.
"It's designed to break her… That is just unjust. It is a fundamental abuse of human rights. And I find that quite shocking, said the man, who suggested his family would mount a legal challenge, saying: “We are going to take it to the UN. Take it from me. America has to be held to account, and it will be."
A spokesperson for the US Federal Bureau of Prisons was cited as saying: "We are committed to ensuring the safety and security of all inmates in our population, our staff, and the public.The BOP takes allegations of staff misconduct seriously and consistent with national policy, refers all allegations for investigation, if warranted."
Prosecutors have cited the woman’s citizenship in three countries and significant wealth (she is the daughter of disgraced publishing billionaire Robert Maxwell, who officially died of drowning in 1991) as factors as why bail should be refused. Ghislaine Maxwell’s final pretrial hearing
is 1 November. Oral questioning of prospective jurors will begin in mid-November, with opening statements scheduled for 29 November.