"Operation GGO." The plan to spring Ghislaine Maxwell from jail

The last time we heard from Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged procurer of underage sex slaves, the transcript from an earlier deposition she’d given had been released to the public in partially redacted form. While she may have feigned ignorance about the definition of “sex toys,” there aren’t any other real bombshells in there in terms of who may have been visiting Epstein’s creepy island. For the moment, Maxwell remains behind bars and on suicide watch, but if some of her famous friends have their way, she’ll soon be released. Her trial isn’t scheduled to start until next year and a campaign is underway to have the court allow her to go free on bail until the trial. (NY Post)

“Operation GGO” is underway. The mission: Get Ghislaine out of jail.

A friend has taken up the cause of springing Ghislaine Maxwell from her Brooklyn cellhole, claiming she is on the verge of starvation and humiliated every day by her prison-issued paper clothes.

Brian Basham is a close family friend who wants federal authorities to grant the British socialite bail while she waits to be tried for sex trafficking next summer, the Telegraph reported. Two weeks after Maxwell was taken into custody, a judge denied her bond offer of $5 million, deeming her a flight risk. She maintains her innocence.

As much as I’ve been critical of Maxwell throughout this entire drama, I will admit that a couple of the requests being made by her friends aren’t entirely without merit. She’s essentially been locked up in solitary for quite a while now, though it’s being done for her own protection. Her request to be moved to the general prison population was likely just a stunt to press for better conditions where she is now, but perhaps something could be done to ease her loneliness and the general monotony. Perhaps they could find some other female prisoner to act as her roommate, particularly if it’s some white-collar criminal who should be less likely to stick a shiv in her.

Maxwell’s friends are also complaining about the paper clothes she has to wear every day. But that’s supposed to help prevent her from killing herself. The other complaint is that she’s lost a dangerous amount of weight because the prison isn’t providing her with a vegan diet. That’s another issue where the health of the prisoner is being directly affected, so maybe some accommodation on that score is possible.

But as to allowing her to go free on bail, why would the judge even consider the request for a second time? Her friend claims that Ghislaine has (or had, actually) three passports, one of them from France. Had she wanted to flee the country to Europe she could have done so at any time when the authorities were searching for her. This, in his opinion, means that she’s not a flight risk. But she already took flight, even if it was to a mansion in New Hampshire. She never turned herself in. The FBI had to go track her down and drag her in. Of course she’s a flight risk.

And how safe would Maxwell be on the outside? She’s looking at a very serious stretch behind bars if convicted and her entire world has collapsed around her. To argue that she’s not a suicide risk doesn’t seem rational. And even if she’s not inclined to take her own life, she still probably knows a great deal about many powerful people that they wouldn’t like to see in the headlines. If the prosecutors wave enough jail time in her face, she might decide to spill the beans. Are we really sure that nobody would arrange for “an accident” to take place while she’s out on bail?

It’s not right for Maxwell to be receiving any sort of cruel and unusual punishment, particularly since she’s still technically innocent until proven guilty. It sounds like a few simple accommodations might make her time between now and the trial a bit more bearable. But cutting her loose on her own recognizance seems like a foolish and potentially catastrophic move.