Ghislaine Maxwell relocated to New York on Epstein-related sexual abuse charges

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Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime confidant, Ghislaine Maxwell, was transferred to New York jail on Monday amid coronavirus and other problems as she faces charges of recruiting girls , a girl as young as 14, to sexually abuse her.

Maxwell, 58, was transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn as prosecutors sought to schedule a court appearance for her this week in Manhattan federal court, said the Bureau of Prisons. She had been locked in a New Hampshire jail since authorities arrested her last week in a million dollar estate she bought there.

Maxwell, the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, was the former girlfriend and close associate of Epstein, who committed suicide in a federal prison in Manhattan last August while waiting to be tried on federal charges of sex trafficking.

“Someone made the conscious decision,” let’s not house her where Epstein was staying, “” said Jack Donson, a former prison official who worked for the Bureau of Prisons for more than two decades.

Maxwell has been charged on several counts, including conspiracy to induce 14-year-old girls to engage in illegal sex with Epstein from 1994 to 1997.

Several victims of Epstein described Maxwell as his main facilitator, recruiting and preparing young girls for abuse. She denied the wrongdoing and called for complaints against her “absolute garbage”.

Monday night judge says Maxwell may appear on video charge and bail due to pandemic, but schedule restrictions require Thursday or next week – not Friday as his lawyer requested.

A message requesting comments was left to lawyer Christian Everdell. The Prisons Office declined to comment further on the Maxwell confinement.

Prosecutors said Maxwell “poses an extreme risk of flight”. She has three passports, is rich with many international connections and has “absolutely no reason to stay in the United States and faces a long prison term,” they wrote in a memo.

Maxwell is prosecuted in Manhattan but imprisoned in Brooklyn – the opposite of what happened with the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan during a trial in Brooklyn last year, shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge every day while he was taken to court.

Donson, who advises white collar criminals on what to expect in prison, said the foreclosure on the Brooklyn waterfront is akin to the federal penitentiary version of a large apartment building height – very secure, with elevators to move prisoners from the ground – to the ground, air-conditioned cells and limited space for leisure or other activities.

The facility, opened as a federal prison in the early 1990s, houses approximately 1,600 inmates. One of its two main buildings is a centuries-old naval warehouse.

Donson said he made frequent visits to the prison and observed that the staff acted “downright unprofessional” in shouting and cursing the detainees. Former prison director Cameron Lindsay said it was “one of the most troubled establishments” in the federal penitentiary system and that he had “a unique history of staff misconduct”.

A week-long power outage at Brooklyn Prison in January 2019 sparked turmoil among shuddering inmates and raised concerns of a federal watchdog over the government’s sloppy response. In March, the prison received the first inmate from the federal penitentiary system to test positive for the coronavirus, and the institution’s response to the disease has led to an ongoing legal battle over allegations that inmates are at serious risk .

An inmate died last month after correctional officers sprayed him with pepper spray, which led to an investigation by the Justice Department’s Inspector General. Another prisoner died in May.

The Prisons Office has come under scrutiny since Epstein committed suicide while in police custody in August, which, according to Attorney General William Barr, is the result of the “perfect storm of duds ”

The agency has suffered from years of serious misconduct, violence and staff shortages so severe that guards often work overtime day after day or are forced to work double duty and has recently struggled with an explosive number of cases of coronavirus in US prisons.

The Ministry of Justice launched a special task force earlier this year to deal with criminal offenses committed by officers of the Prison Bureau following several scandals, including the discovery of a contraband weapon found in the same Manhattan prison where Epstein committed suicide.

The Bureau of Prisons on Monday listed five inmates and six staff at the Brooklyn prison who are currently testing positive, while eight other inmates and 35 staff have already recovered from the disease.

Donson said he expects Maxwell to be watched closely while she is in jail, possibly even with a work camera attached to her cell, to avoid repeating the mistakes which authorities say , led to the disappearance of Epstein. According to the protocols of the penitentiary system’s coronavirus, Maxwell faces immediate quarantine and tests for the virus.

“Especially for a socialite living in a mansion in New Hampshire, it’s quite a difference,” said Donson.

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Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister in New York contributed to this report.

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