Official: Feds feared Epstein confidant might kill herself

Official: Feds feared Epstein confidant might kill herself

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 sheets 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 implemented additional safety protocols, and federal officials, outside the Bureau of Prisons, have been specifically tasked with ensuring that there is adequate protection and that the prisons protocols are being followed, the official said. The protections are in case she harms herself and in case other inmates wish to harm her.

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. The Bureau of Prisons has been the subject of intense scrutiny and conspiracy theories since then, with staff shakeups and leadership changes. Attorney General William Barr said his death was the result of the “perfect storm of screw ups.”

Maxwell was sent to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, just over the Brooklyn Bridge from where Epstein was held.

The other protocols put in place for Maxwell’s confinement include ensuring that she has a roommate in her cell, that she is monitored and that someone is always with her while she’s behind bars, the official said.

The official could not discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

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 on some occasions joined 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.

When the agents swooped in to arrest her, they weren’t sure that she was even at the home, the official said. Some of the investigators believed she may have already fled the United States to avoid prosecution, the official added.

The Bureau of Prisons been plagued for years by serious misconduct, violence and staffing shortages so severe that guards often work overtime day after day or are forced to work mandatory double shifts. It has also struggled recently with an exploding number of coronavirus cases in prisons across the U.S.

Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press

Epstein molesting girls

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

Alisha Bryan holds a handful of poppy sticks at the poppy laying ceremony on Oct. 28. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)
Remembrance Day will look a little different this year for Lacombe

The Lacombe Legion is taking COVID-19 precautions for people who want to pay their respects.

Chad Carlson (left) Jarita Carlson and their two children Milo Carlson (left) and Lennon Carlson are dressing up as Ghostbusters for Halloween. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)
Lacombe family passionate about Halloween and giving back to their community

COVID-19 has changed how the Carlson’s will celebrate Halloween this year

The Lacombe Legion volunteers laid poppies beside the graves of veterans on Oct. 28. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)
Lacombe Legion volunteers lay poppies for fallen veterans

Twenty volunteers showed up on Wednesday to pay their respects and help out

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo by The Associated Press)
Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Pilots Ilona Carter and Jim Gray of iRecover Treatment Centres, in front of his company’s aircraft, based at Ponoka’s airport. (Perry Wilson/Submitted)
95-year-old Ilona Carter flies again

Takes to the skies over Ponoka

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. Alberta Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz says the province plans to bring in a new way of licensing and monitoring child-care facilities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Alberta proposes legislation to change rules on child-care spaces

Record-keeping, traditionally done on paper, would be allowed digitally

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read