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While COVID-19 vaccines run scarce in places, Ghislaine Maxwell gets hers in jail

Ghislaine Maxwell has bitterly complained about conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she is being held as she awaits trial this July on multiple charges related to the alleged sex trafficking of minors as well as two charges of perjury.

But her time behind bars has had one perk.

Federal prosecutors revealed Tuesday in a court filing that Maxwell has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, among the first to be vaccinated in her facility. So far, roughly 15% of Maxwell’s fellow inmates in the Brooklyn facility have been fully vaccinated and nearly one in four federal inmates have been vaccinated across the country, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Maxwell, the former girlfriend and alleged accomplice of deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein, has asked three times to be released, offering to put up as much as $28.5 million in assets and money belonging to her and her family and friends as bail. She has proposed being confined to a private residence in New York City and said that one of her lawyers would even stay with her.

Her efforts haven’t swayed U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, who has sided with federal prosecutors, who have argued that Maxwell’s access to extreme wealth, the length of her potential sentence if convicted and foreign citizenship in the United Kingdom and France make her a flight risk. Maxwell offered to renounce her foreign citizenship to help secure her release to no avail.

In the most recent filing arguing for her release, one of Maxwell’s lawyers compared her conditions to that of fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter, portrayed by actor Anthony Hopkins in the film ‘The Silence of the Lambs,’ and implied that her detention is sexist, pointing out that numerous wealthy, high-profile men facing similarly long sentences — including Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Bernie Madoff — had been released on bail as they awaited trial.

Epstein was held without bail when he was arrested on sex charges in July 2019. He died of a reported suicide in federal custody one month later.

Maxwell was arrested nearly one year later and accused of helping recruit and groom three girls for Epstein’s abuse between 1994 and 1997, allegedly participating in the abuse of one of the girls. Last week, federal prosecutors filed a new indictment accusing Maxwell of grooming another girl for Epstein’s abuse between 2001 and 2004.

Epstein has been accused of sexually abusing hundreds of girls and struck an extraordinarily lenient plea deal with prosecutors in 2008 that required him to plead guilty to two charges of solicitation and required only 13 months imprisonment in a county jail. That deal was the subject of the Miami Herald’s 2018 Perversion of Justice series.

Maxwell, 59, has complained about conditions in the Brooklyn facility, saying that the computer she has access to, which lacks search capability, makes it extremely difficult to sift through the 2.7 million documents federal prosecutors have turned over to her as potential evidence in the case. Federal prosecutors said in the Tuesday letter, as they have said previously, that Maxwell has greater access to a computer than any other inmate in her facility and that she can send e-mails to her lawyers from the computer.

She has argued that frequent wellness checks throughout the night with a flashlight make it difficult for her to sleep and that the hospital has improperly warmed up her food and served her cloudy water, resulting in Maxwell’s mental and physical deterioration.

Federal prosecutors wrote Tuesday that Maxwell frequently sleeps with an eye mask and apparently is able to sleep through the wellness checks. They also disputed Maxwell’s complaints about the quality of the food and water she is served and said that her weight has been stable throughout her detention and that doctors have deemed her physically healthy.

Prosecutors also pushed back on suggestions that Maxwell at one point received an inappropriate pat-down from an officer, writing that officials at the facility reviewed footage of the incident and deemed it acceptable.

They also wrote that Maxwell frequently didn’t flush her toilet and left her cell in a state of disarray, prompting staff at the facility to require her to clean her cell.

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