The brother of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell says she should be released on bail from a US jail, claiming that she was being held in “degrading” conditions that amount to torture.
Maxwell, 59, is awaiting trial in July on charges she recruited teenage girls for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.
Ms Maxwell has been in a federal lock-up in Brooklyn since she was arrested last July, and has lost two bail requests — including a $28.5 million bail release proposal in December — because she was deemed a flight risk.
Her brother Ian Maxwell told the BBC’s Today program on Wednesday (local time) he was worried about her health and ability to prepare for her trial because of the conditions she was held in.
Mr Maxwell said he believed she was losing her hair, having trouble with her eyesight and her ability to concentrate.
He insisted she is not a suicide risk and remains “resolute”.
Mr Maxwell also noted that the identities of his sister’s three accusers had not been revealed with only four months before the start of the trial.
“I know Miss Maxwell is probably suffering in jail, nobody likes being in jail, nobody likes having their freedom restricted, but I really think bail should be out of the question, it would be very upsetting to the victims,” she said on the Today programme.
Ms Maxwell is “in effective isolation” in a 1.8- by 2.7-metre cell without natural light that contains a concrete bed and a toilet, he said.
She is under around-the-clock surveillance with 10 cameras and four guards tracking her movement, and is also being deprived of sleep, he added.
“She has a flashlight shone in her cell every 15 minutes throughout the night … it’s grotesque and in that respect it amounts to torture,” he claimed.
The water she was being given was “brown”, he said, adding that the food was “highly microwaveable… and basically inedible”.
However Gloria Allred, a lawyer representing the alleged victims, told the BBC that bail should be “out of the question” as it “would be very upsetting to the victims”.
Ms Maxwell, the daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell, was in a relationship with financier Jeffrey Epstein in the 1990s.
She allegedly introduced Epstein to wealthy and powerful figures including Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of the British Royal Family.
Ms Maxwell was charged with recruiting three teenagers aged as young as 14 for Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 1997. She also was accused of sometimes participating in the abuse. She pleaded not guilty to an indictment.
She also faces charges of perjury in 2016.
Epstein killed himself in August 2019 at a Manhattan federal jail as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.