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If Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby could be released on bail while awaiting trial for sex abuse charges, Ghislaine Maxwell deserves the same treatment, her lawyers argued in a new court filing Thursday.
Attorneys for the accused Jeffrey Epstein madam filed a motion with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals requesting it overturn a lower court’s decision to reject Maxwell’s request for bail three times — and treat her the same way as “wealthy men.”
“The truth is that wealthy men charged with similar or more serious offenses, many of whom have foreign ties, are routinely granted bail so that they can effectively prepare for trial. Bernie Madoff. Harvey Weinstein. Bill Cosby. John Gotti. Marc Dreier. Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Ali Sadr. Adnan Khashoggi. Mahender Sabhnani. The list goes on and on,” attorney David Oscar Markus argued in the motion for pretrial release.
“In each case, the court set reasonable conditions of bond and the defendants appeared, despite similar arguments by the government that the defendant faced serious charges or that the evidence was strong or that he had foreign ties or that he had great wealth. Ms. Maxwell is entitled to the same opportunity as male defendants to prepare her defense.”
Maxwell, 59, has been locked up for “over 280 days” in “nightmarish,” “jaw-droppingly appalling conditions” that are more “fitting for Hannibal Lecter” and she should be immediately released so she can adequately prepare for trial before she deteriorates beyond repair, her attorneys argue.
They claim guards wake her up every 15 minutes by shining lights “directly into her small cell” and subject her to the constant glare of neon lights and intrusive searches — “including having hands forced into her mouth in a squalid facility where COVID has run rampant.”
“These conditions would support a complaint for cruel and unusual punishment for a convicted felon. Ms. Maxwell is not one. She is innocent unless and until she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt – an event which is highly unlikely given the lack of evidence against her,” the motion reads.
Lawyers for the disgraced British socialite, the daughter of a billionaire newspaper tycoon, also complained the water at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn is “often cloudy and is not drinkable” and her food was microwaved with a plastic covering, rendering it “inedible.”
“She is on suicide watch for no reason. She continues to lose weight, her hair, and her ability to concentrate,” the motion states.
Maxwell’s attorneys argue she is unable to adequately prepare for trial and review over 2.5 million prosecution pages because she only has access to a “gutted computer, which does not have the ability to search, edit, or print.”
They further argue the case against Maxwell is “palpably weak” consisting of “anonymous, untested hearsay accusations” that only surfaced when Manhattan federal prosecutors needed a “scapegoat” after Epstein died in federal custody.
On Monday, Maxwell was hit with two new sex trafficking charges based on a fourth woman’s allegations that Maxwell recruited her for Epstein when she was just 14 years old.
Maxwell’s attorneys argued in a filing Wednesday the timing of the new charges was “tactical gamesmanship” and could lead to a delay in trial, currently set for July 12.
The appeals court is yet to issue a ruling on the motion.
Maxwell has denied any wrongdoing.
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