A PRISONER in Ghislaine Maxwell’s jail housing unit claimed she was offered money to murder the former socialite, according to the convicted sex offender’s legal team.
Maxwell‘s lawyers have also alleged that she was “beaten with a hammer” by her father as they laid bare details of her “traumatising childhood”.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers claim her cellmate was offered money to murder herCredit: Alamy
She faces up to 50 years in prisons for child sex trafficking offencesCredit: Reuters
Maxwell is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New YorkCredit: EPA
The 60-year-old was convicted of sexual offences in December last year following a month-long trial in New York.
She was found guilty of five of the six charges against her including sex trafficking of minors, which carries a 40-year maximum prison sentence.
Her lawyers have made a last-minute plea for mercy, blaming her actions on the cruelty of her parents and her relationship with Epstein.
Last month, Maxwell was removed from solitary confinement after two years of what her family branded “torture”.
But, her legal team claim that after being moved in with the general population at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, she was the “target of a credible death threat from a fellow inmate”.
The New York Times reports that a prisoner in Maxwell’s housing unit told at least three other inmates that she had been offered money to murder her.
She allegedly said that she planned to strangle her in her sleep.
This inmate was later moved to a different unit “presumably to protect Ms Maxwell,” according to her legal team.
The incident has not been independently confirmed, and the US attorney’s office has declined to comment on the claim.
But Maxwell’s defence lawyers have insisted that “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’.”
Her legal team have also accused Maxwell’s father – the late British media baron Robert Maxwell – of a range of physical and psychological attacks on his young daughter.
One time, they allege, after a 13-year-old Ghislaine had tacked a poster of a pony on her newly-painted bedroom wall, her furious father took a hammer and hit her on the hand with it.
The attack allegedly left her hand bruised and painful for weeks.
There are numerous prison inmates who would not hesitate to kill Ms Maxwell
Ghislaine Maxwell defence team
Maxwell’s lawyers claim that their client is being sentenced because of her association with Jeffrey Epstein in the 1990s and 2000s.
They describe Epstein as “always the central figure,” the “mastermind,” and the “principal abuser”.
In their sentencing brief, Maxwell’s lawyers argue that prosecutors had only focused on her following the “strong media and public uproar” that came after Epstein’s death in prison in August 2019, a month after his arrest over sexually exploiting and abusing girls and women.
“The government faced an urgency to appease the renewed distress of Epstein’s accusers and to repair the tarnished reputations of the DOJ and BOP,” the lawyers wrote.
“There would be no trial for Epstein and no public vindication and justice for his accusers. The government now had a huge hole to fill: Epstein’s empty chair.”
Maxwell will reportedly ask to be transferred to a UK prison so that she can serve out the bulk of her sentencing for child sex trafficking close to her family.
Maxwell’s lawyers have attempted to present her as a ‘victim’ of the men in her lifeCredit: PA
They allege her father Robert Maxwell, centre, once hit her with a hammerCredit: Getty
Maxwell was found guilty of trafficking girls and young women for Jeffrey EpsteinCredit: PA
She dated the paedo billionaire in the 1990s and early 2000sCredit: Splash
At Maxwell’s trial last December, prosecutors presented evidence from four female accusers.
Two women said Epstein had sex with them from the age of 14.
One of the women said Maxwell had molested her directly, touching her breasts, while the other said Maxwell was sometimes present during the encounters.
“Maxwell was a sophisticated predator who knew exactly what she was doing,” assistant US attorney Alison Moe told the jury in a closing argument.
“She manipulated her victims and she groomed them for sexual abuse.”
In their brief filed in the Federal District Court, Maxwell’s lawyers asked judge Alison Nathan to impose a sentence below the recommended 20 years.
They argued Maxwell had spent much of her life being victimised by two men in her life – her father and Epstein.
The lawyers claimed Maxwell became anorexic as a toddler and received so little attention from her parents that one time when she was three she stood in front of her mother and declared: “Mummy, I exist.”
Earlier this month, Judge Nathan affirmed Maxwell’s conviction, meaning sentencing will go ahead.
She also ruled out holding a new trial – which Maxwell’s defence team had called for – after a juror failed to admit his past sexual abuse while filling out the jury questionnaire.
But she did rule that the three conspiracy counts would be sentenced as one, reducing Maxwell’s maximum prison term from 65 years to 50 years.