U.S. appeals court rejects Ghislaine Maxwell's latest bail request

FILE PHOTO: British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell appears during her arraignment hearing on a new indictment at Manhattan Federal Court in New York City, New York, U.S. April 23, 2021, in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday rejected Ghislaine Maxwell's latest request for bail, after her lawyer said guards in her Brooklyn jail were keeping her awake at night to ensure she does not commit suicide like the financier Jeffrey Epstein.

In a brief order, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said that to the extent Maxwell is being deprived of sleep, she should seek relief from U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, who oversees her criminal case.

"I'm heartbroken," Maxwell's lawyer David Markus said in an email. "If our system tolerates detaining a presumed innocent 59-year old woman with no criminal history and subjecting her to tortuous conditions, simply because of her old connection to Jeffrey Epstein, we should all be deeply troubled."

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and other charges over her alleged role in procuring four teenage girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004.

She had been appealing Nathan's March 22 rejection of a $28.5 million bail package, the third time the judge denied bail.

Nathan said Maxwell remained a "significant risk of flight" despite the high dollar amount, and that no conditions would ensure she would show up in court.

In oral arguments on Monday, Markus objected to jail guards' waking Maxwell every 15 minutes with flashlights to make sure she was still breathing, despite there being no evidence she was suicidal.

Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Lawyers for Maxwell have also said other conditions at the Brooklyn jail prevented her from preparing effectively for her scheduled July 12 trial, which she is seeking to delay. Maxwell faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler)

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