One of Ghislaine Maxwell’s fellow inmates was offered money to murder her and planned to "strangle her in her sleep," according to lawyers for the longtime Jeffrey Epstein confidante and convicted sex trafficker.
The claim was made in court papers in which Maxwell’s lawyers pleaded for leniency ahead of her June 28 sentencing.
“One of the female inmates in Ms. Maxwell’s housing unit told at least three other inmates that she had been offered money to murder Ms. Maxwell and that she planned to strangle her in her sleep,” the lawyers wrote, referring to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
The inmate claimed that an additional 20 years in prison would be worth the money she would receive for killing Maxwell, the lawyers wrote. The inmate was ultimately sent to a special housing unit, commonly known as solitary confinement, presumably to protect Maxwell, according to the lawyers.
“This incident reflects the brutal reality that there are numerous prison inmates who would not hesitate to kill Ms. Maxwell — whether for money, fame, or simple 'street cred,'” the lawyers wrote.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons, which oversees the federal detention system, said it does not comment on pending litigation or matters subject to legal proceedings.
“Additionally, for privacy, safety, and security reasons, the BOP does not discuss whether a particular inmate is the subject of allegations, investigations, or sanctions in prison, nor do we comment on the conditions of confinement for any individual or group of inmates,” the spokesman added.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan did not respond to a request for a comment.
Maxwell was convicted of sex trafficking and other charges in a case brought by federal prosecutors after Epstein’s death by suicide nearly three years ago. Prosecutors accused the British socialite of recruiting and grooming girls as young as 14 for Epstein to abuse.
Maxwell, 60, is facing up to 55 years in prison. In the court filing, her lawyers asked Judge Alison Nathan to impose a sentence below the 20 years recommended by the court’s probation department.
“Justice would not be served by sentencing Ms. Maxwell to the extent of the more culpable Epstein,” her lawyers wrote. “Nor should she be sentenced as if she were Harvey Weinstein.”
The lawyers described Maxwell as the victim of a grim childhood who met Epstein at a time when her life was in shambles.
Her father, the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell, was overbearing, narcissistic and vicious, according to Maxwell’s lawyers.
When Maxwell was 13, she hammered a thin tack into the freshly painted wall of her bedroom to hang a poster of a pony. Her father flew into a rage, grabbing the hammer and banging on Ghislaine’s hand, “leaving it severely bruised and painful for weeks to come,” her lawyers wrote.
Maxwell was the youngest of nine children. Their family was rocked by tragedy two days after Maxwell was born when her eldest sibling suffered severe and permanent injuries in a car accident.
“Ghislaine was hardly given a glance and became anorexic while still a toddler,” her lawyers wrote. “At age three, she stood in front of her mother and said simply, “‘Mummy, I exist.’”
Her father stopped living at home once he became a member of Parliament, but would return every Sunday and subject his children to brutal rounds of questioning, according to Maxwell’s lawyers. Robert Maxwell would select a child to answer questions on a particular topic in accordance with the “rules of life” he had drilled into them: the 3Cs (concentration, consideration and conciseness) or WWWH (What? Why? When? How?), the lawyers wrote.
“If the child stumbled, didn’t speak on point, or gave a wrong answer, Mr. Maxwell would demand them to answer which of the principles they had forgotten to apply and the reason for that failure,” the lawyers added. “The dressing down was always painful in the extreme with everyone around the table feeling uncomfortable. Mr. Maxwell, a man of large physical stature with a booming voice, would explode, threaten, and rant at the children until they were reduced to pulp.”
Robert Maxwell died in 1991 after falling off his boat. His publishing empire collapsed, his family was left penniless, and “Ghislaine was left to fend for herself,” her lawyers wrote.
It was around this time that she met Epstein.
“Her relationship with Epstein began at a moment of extreme vulnerability in Ghislaine’s life after the tragic death of our father,” wrote a sister and brother of Maxwell — Anne Holve and Philip Maxwell — in one of several reference letters that accompanied the lawyers’ court filing.
“As elder siblings we witnessed our father taking Ghislaine under his wing whereby she became over dependent on his approval and vulnerable to his frequent rapid mood swings, huge rages and rejections. This led her to becoming very vulnerable to abusive and powerful men who would be able to take advantage of her innate good nature.”