Federal officials were so worried Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime confidante Ghislaine Maxwell might take her own life after her arrest that they took away her clothes and sheets and made her wear paper attire while in custody, according to an official who told The Associated Press.
Maxwell was first arrested in New Hampshire last week on multiple charges related to the serial sexual abuse of girls and young women by Epstein.
“Maxwell was among Epstein’s closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old,” Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a news conference Thursday.
Since her arrest in New Hampshire by a team of federal agents, Maxwell was transferred to federal jail in New York City where safety protocols were amped up.
The Justice Department has implemented additional safety protocols and federal officials outside of the Bureau of Prisons, in order to ensure her protection. The protections are in case she harms herself, and in case other inmates wish to harm her.
Officials grew concern because Jeffrey Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal jail in Manhattan last summer while in custody on sex trafficking charges. The Bureau of Prisons has been the subject of intense scrutiny and conspiracy theories since then, with staff shakeups and leadership changes. Attorney General William Barr said his death was the result of the “perfect storm of screw ups.”
Maxwell was sent to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge from where Epstein was held.
The other protocols put in place for Maxwell’s confinement include ensuring that she has a roommate in her cell, is monitored and making sure someone is always with her while she’s behind bars, the official said.
The official could not discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The Bureau of Prisons been plagued for years by serious misconduct, violence and staffing shortages so severe that guards often work overtime day after day or are forced to work mandatory double shifts and has struggled recently with an exploding number of coronavirus cases in prisons across the U.S.