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U.S. says Ghislaine Maxwell was isolated in jail for her safety

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors said ensuring Ghislaine Maxwell’s safety was a key reason she has been isolated from other inmates at the Brooklyn jail where she is being held on charges she facilitated late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls.

FILE PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell appears via video link during her arraignment hearing where she was denied bail for her role aiding Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and eventually abuse of minor girls, in Manhattan Federal Court, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. July 14, 2020 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg/File Photo

In a letter on Thursday to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan, prosecutors also said it was “at best premature” to require they identify three alleged victims named in Maxwell’s indictment.

Lawyers for Maxwell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Maxwell, 58, has pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and eventually abuse three girls from 1994 to 1997, and committing perjury by denying her involvement under oath.

In an Aug. 10 letter, Maxwell’s lawyers objected to her being subjected to round-the-clock surveillance and numerous body scans at the Metropolitan Detention Center despite no longer being on suicide watch, and said she belongs in the general population rather than in her cell 21 hours a day.

Prosecutors said Maxwell was isolated for reasons of “safety, security, and the orderly functioning of the facility,” and that it was appropriate to closely monitor new inmates facing a “strong likelihood” of many years in prison.

They nonetheless said jail officials agreed to give Maxwell 13 hours a day to review materials for her scheduled July 2021 trial, rather than the normal three hours.

Prosecutors also said they have acted “expeditiously” in turning over materials, and Maxwell can request victims’ names and make other motions in December after discovery is finished.

Epstein was found hanged at age 66 last August in a Manhattan jail, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Maxwell is separately asking a federal appeals court to block the release from a separate lawsuit of a 2016 deposition about her sex life, saying publicity could make getting a fair trial impossible. Oral arguments are scheduled for Sept. 22.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Daniel Wallis

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