LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Federal officials were so worried Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime confidant Ghislaine Maxwell might take her own life after her arrest that they took away her clothes and bedsheets and made her wear paper attire while in custody, an official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
The steps to ensure Maxwell’s safety while she’s locked up at a federal jail in New York City extend far beyond the measures federal officials took when they first arrested her in New Hampshire last week.
The Justice Department has added extra security precautions and placed federal officials outside the Bureau of Prisons in charge of ensuring there is adequate protection for Maxwell. That's to help prevent other inmates from harming her and to stop her from harming herself, the official said.
The concern comes in part because Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal jail in Manhattan last summer while in custody on sex trafficking charges, spawning conspiracy theories over his death despite a medical examiner ruling it a suicide. The sprawling case against him ensnared British royalty and American elite who attended parties at his mansions. Whispers over who knew what and when about Epstein even reached the White House, after video surfaced of President Donald Trump and the financier chatting at a Mar-a-Lago party in 1992.
The case appeared dormant until Maxwell was arrested last Thursday on charges she helped lure at least three girls — one as young as 14 — to be sexually abused by Epstein, who was accused of victimizing dozens of girls and women over many years.
Maxwell, the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, was the former girlfriend and longtime close associate of Epstein. She is accused of facilitating his crimes and even joining him in sexually abusing the girls, according to the indictment against her. Several Epstein victims have described Maxwell as his chief enabler, recruiting and grooming girls for abuse. She has denied wrongdoing and called claims against her “absolute rubbish.”
Maxwell was arrested by a team of federal agents last week at a $1 million estate she had purchased in New Hampshire. The investigators had been keeping an eye on Maxwell and knew she had been hiding out in various locations in New England.
She had switched her email address, ordered packages under someone else’s name and registered at least one new phone number under an alias “G Max,” prosecutors have said.