Ghislaine Maxwell’s siblings have filed a complaint with the United Nations, saying her pretrial detention is an act of “unprecedented discrimination” and accusing U.S. authorities of trampling the “narrow line between justice and revenge.”
Maxwell, who is being held without bail ahead of her federal trial in New York City, was a confidante of Jeffrey Epstein — the millionaire financier and accused sex trafficker who died by suicide in 2019 in federal custody.
Maxwell, a British socialite, faces a host of charges accusing her of helping Epstein groom girls and young women for nonconsensual sex.
Her trial is scheduled to begin next week.
Maxwell’s brothers and sisters filed their complaint Monday with the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, denouncing a judge’s repeated rejections of bail.
“This is unprecedented discrimination, the like of which has never seen before: All her applications for bail have been rejected, with no regard for the security offered,” family lawyers Francois Zimeray and Jessica Finelle, based in Paris, said in a statement.
“It is as if Ghislaine Maxwell is suffering the consequences for the failure of the U.S. Administration to preserve the life of Jeffrey Epstein and secure his appearance at trial,” they said.
Maxwell has been in custody since July 2020, and her requests for home detention have been denied. Prosecutors have opposed any bail, claiming Maxwell poses an “extreme flight risk.”
Defense lawyers said she is being unfairly treated and kept in terrible jail conditions as she awaits trial.
“There is a narrow line between justice and revenge,” Zimeray and Finelle said. “We are not fighting against the complainants but against arbitrariness. In the court of public opinion, Ms. Maxwell is presumed guilty, convicted and demonized before any trial. The U.S. prosecution authorities have not sought to mitigate the effects of this demonization.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern New York declined to comment Tuesday.
The U.N. committee has no standing in federal court, and the family lawyers said the international petition is separate from Maxwell’s U.S. criminal defense. Representatives for the U.N. Human Rights Office, which oversees the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.