Ghislaine Maxwell put on suicide watch, but isn’t suicidal, ahead of sentencing

Guards at the federal prison where Ghislaine Maxwell awaits her sentencing for her role in an elaborate child sexual abuse case have placed her on suicide watch, though she isn’t suicidal, according to court records.

The move prompted the British socialite’s attorney to write a letter telling the judge in the case that Maxwell would seek to postpone her sentencing Tuesday because she can’t properly prepare for the hearing. Prison officials on Friday took away Maxwell’s legal papers – along with her regular clothes, toothpaste and soap – while putting her in solitary confinement and on suicide watch, said the letter from her attorney Bobby Sternheim.

“If Ms Maxwell remains on suicide watch, is prohibited from reviewing legal matters prior to sentencing, becomes sleep-deprived and is denied sufficient time to meet with and confer with counsel, we will be formally moving on Monday for an adjournment,” Sternheim’s letter toJudge Alison Nathan said Saturday.

Sternheim’s letter added that a psychologist evaluated Maxwell, 61, and concluded she is not suicidal. But her sentencing comes nearly three years after her co-defendant, financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, killed himself in jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial in the sex trafficking case that also ensnared Maxwell.

Maxwell was convicted on 29 December of sex trafficking and related charges filed against her in Manhattan federal court after she recruited girls – some as young as 14 – for Epstein to abuse. Nathan could sentence Maxwell to up to 55 years in prison.

Her lawyers on Friday asked Nathan to bar four accusers from providing victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, arguing that they were adults when they encountered Maxwell and therefore did not have the right to speak at the proceeding.

Nathan hasn’t ruled on that request. Maxwell has maintained her innocence despite her conviction.

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