According to prosecutors, Ghislaine Maxwell wants to request bail in her case of sex trafficking with Jeffrey Epstein – in a private hearing where the victims would not be admitted.
The British celebrity is expected to ask Judge Alison Nathan to release her from the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn while she awaits trial next July.
This step comes after prosecutors warned earlier that she poses an “extreme” escape risk after evidence was found that she was hiding in a “remote” house in New Hampshire with her cell phone wrapped in foil.
CNBC cited a court file from the prosecution that indicated that she would be making a “new request for bail” and requested “a seal and a closed hearing”.
“In camera” would mean that the public, journalists and victims would all be excluded while the lawyers of the case discuss the issues with the judge.
Prosecutor Maurene Comey said in a letter quoted by Bloomberg in a federal court in Manhattan: “The government sees no reason to hold a full hearing without giving the public or the victims in this case an opportunity to observe”.
She added: “Given that victims of crime have a legal right to be present and heard at any proceedings regarding the ‘release’ of the accused … the government would object to any proceedings dealing with aspects of a new bail application that was conducted in complete secrecy.
The news of Maxwell’s intention to pursue the request came after her attorney wrote to Judge Nathan to protest her conditions of detention.
In the letter, seen by Washington Newsday, Bobbi Sternheim wrote: “The government emphasizes what Ms. Maxwell is allowed to do, but not what she is denied: the equal treatment afforded to other detainees in the general population.
“Ms. Maxwell has spent the entire period of her pre-trial detention in de facto solitary confinement under the most restrictive conditions, where she is subjected to excessive and invasive searches and 24-hour surveillance.
Prince Andrew plans return to public role despite Jeffrey Epstein scandal
“In addition to the camera surveillance in her cell, an extra camera tracks her movements when she is allowed to leave her isolation cell and is directed at Ms. Maxwell and her legal counsel during personal visits to the court.
“And despite the continuous camera surveillance in her cell, Ms. Maxwell’s sleep is interrupted every 15 minutes when she is awakened with a flashlight to determine if she is breathing.
Maxwell was arrested in July and charged on six counts, including trafficking offences allegedly committed between 1994 and 1997.
In a July file reported by The Guardian, the prosecution said Maxwell was “trying to escape” when the FBI arrived at her “secluded home” and pointed to a “cell phone wrapped in tin foil” as evidence, which she used to “try to escape detection.
She described the file as an “extreme flight risk.
The charges relate to three victims who were not named publicly, and there is an additional charge of perjury in connection with an affidavit given by Maxwell in a 2016 libel case.
The charge was brought by Virginia Guiffre, who claims to have had sex with Prince Andrew in London, New York and on Epstein’s private island at the age of 17.
Maxwell denies six counts of indictment, including conspiracy to seduce minors and seduce a minor into committing illegal sex crimes, conspiracy to promote minors and promote a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of perjury.