Federal officials were so concerned that Jeffrey Epstein's long-time confidant Ghislaine Maxwell could take her own life after her arrest, take away her clothes and bedding, and have her wear paper clothes during her detention, an official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
The steps to ensure Maxwell's security while imprisoned in a New York City federal prison go far beyond what federal officials took when they first arrested her in New Hampshire last week.
The Department of Justice has taken additional security measures and has mandated federal officials outside the Bureau of Prisons to ensure that Maxwell is adequately protected. This is to prevent other inmates from harming them and preventing them from harming themselves, the official said.
Part of the concern is that 66-year-old Epstein killed himself in a federal prison in Manhattan last summer while in custody for sex trafficking, and has spawned conspiracy theories about his death, even though a medical examiner did so as suicide had classified. The sprawling case against him involved British kings and American elites who attended parties in his villas. Whispers about who knew what and when about Epstein even reached the White House after a video of President Donald Trump and the financier appeared at a Mar-a-Lago party in 1992.
The case seemed dormant until Maxwell was arrested last Thursday for persuading at least three girls – one only 14 years old – to be sexually abused by Epstein, who has been accused of dozens of girls and women for many years to have sacrificed.
Maxwell, the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, was the former girlfriend and long-time close colleague of Epstein. She is accused of alleviating his crimes and even joining him to sexually abuse the girls, the charges against her. Several Epstein victims have described Maxwell as his main responsible, who recruits and cares for girls for abuse. She denied wrongdoing and made claims against her “absolute garbage”.
Maxwell was arrested by a team of federal agents last week on a $ 1 million property she bought in New Hampshire. Investigators had kept an eye on Maxwell and knew that she had been hiding in various places in New England.
She had changed her email address, ordered packages under someone else's name, and registered at least one new phone number under the pseudonym "G Max," the prosecutor said.
When the agents came in to arrest her, they weren't sure if she was home at all, the officer said. Some investigators believed that she may have already fled the United States to avoid prosecution, the official added.
Maxwell was not sent to the same prison. Rather, it was brought to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, just behind the Brooklyn Bridge, from where Epstein was detained.
The other protocols put in place for Maxwell's detention include ensuring that she has a roommate in her cell, that she is under surveillance, and that someone is always with her while she is behind bars, the official said.
The officer was unable to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The Bureau of Prisons has been the subject of intense investigation, staff restructuring and leadership changes since Epstein's death. Attorney General William Barr said his death was the result of the "perfect storm of failures".
The Bureau of Prisons has been plagued by serious misconduct, violence, and staff shortages for years that are so severe that guards often work overtime or are forced to work mandatory double shifts day after day. It has also been struggling with an exploding number of coronavirus cases in US prisons.