Ghislaine Maxwell’s complaint about treatment in jail rejected by prosecutors | US News


US prosecutors have rejected a claim by Ghislaine Maxwell that she is being treated “worse” than other inmates at the Brooklyn federal jail where she is being held.

Maxwell, a close friend of the late financier and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, is behind bars awaiting trial on charges including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.

The 58-year-old British socialite was arrested last month when FBI agents raided a property in New Hampshire.

In a letter to a US district judge earlier this week, Maxwell’s lawyers objected to her being subjected to “uniquely onerous” conditions, including 24-hour surveillance and numerous body scans, and said she should be treated like other pre-trial detainees.

They called her treatment in jail “a reaction” to Epstein’s jailing and death.

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Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein dated for a while, according to reports

However, prosecutors said Maxwell was being isolated for reasons of “safety, security, and the orderly functioning of the facility”, and that it was appropriate to closely monitor new inmates facing a “strong likelihood” of many years in prison.

Maxwell’s lawyers also argued that they cannot properly investigate the charges against her because prosecutors will not tell them the identities of three accusers named in Maxwell’s indictment.

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But prosecutors said it was “at best premature” to require they disclose the identities of the three alleged victims.

They added that they have acted “expeditiously” in turning over materials, and prison officials had agreed to give Maxwell 13 hours a day to review materials for her scheduled July 2021 trial, rather than the normal three hours.

Maxwell’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and eventually abuse three girls from 1994 to 1997, and committing perjury by denying her involvement under oath.

She was denied bail in July after prosecutors argued she was a high risk to flee because evidence against her was strong and she had access to millions of dollars.

Maxwell also has connections worldwide along with citizenship in the US, the UK and France.

Epstein, 66, was found hanged last August in a Manhattan jail, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

According to reports, the pair dated for a while but the relationship later turned into something akin to a close friendship.



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Warriors interim coach Todd Payten reveals he rejected job offer for family


The New Zealand Warriors are still looking for a new head coach after interim coach Todd Payten revealed on NRL 360 on Monday that he had been offered — and rejected — the role.

The exchange appeared to stun show’s hosts Ben Ikin and Paul Kent after Payten revealed the bombshell on the first question.

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It had been long expected that Payten would be high on the Warriors hit list after the encouraging performances from the club despite being housed in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Payten took the reigns of the club after former coach Stephen Kearney was unceremoniously sacked in June.

But it hadn’t been leaked despite the offer going through a week ago.

“I had a job interview 10 to 14 days ago. It went well. I’d been offered the job last Monday and I told the club I’m going to turn it down,” Payten said. “It just wasn‘t the right opportunity for myself and my family at this time being.“

Ben Ikin was stunned.

“You‘re telling us you were offered the head coaching job of the New Zealand Warriors and turned it down?”

Payten replied: “It‘s not an easy decision, something I agonised over for a few days but in the end, it was the first time I’ve put my family first in the decision. It just wasn’t the right timing.”

The admission shocked the host with both Ikin and Paul Kent seemingly scrambling.

Payten said there was some family pain behind the decision with his father-in-law undergoing chemotherapy.

“With the COVID thing, for her to travel back and forth is very very difficult so that‘s a big part of it,” he said. ”There are some other issues I don’t want to make public but that’s just my decision, I’ve made it, I’m well aware it’s tough for everyone. The club was shocked and disappointed but moving forward, my focus is on getting this side prepared as well as we can week to week.”

It was a shock admission as in the show preceding NRL 360 on Fox League, NRL Tonight, The Australian’s Brent Read had reported Payten was the favourite to take the job.

Payten said he still has another 12-month contract as an assistant coach and said any new coach would know that he has an assistant coach who is NRL ready.

The interim Warriors coach also teased another opportunity with Kent identifying it as the North Queensland Cowboys job.

He said he wanted to return to Australia for family, having alerted the Cowboys of his interest although the group have not entered into the recruitment process as yet.

The Cowboys are on the lookout for a new coach after premiership winning mentor Paul Green was told he would no longer be required after this season.

Payten said it had been a challenging season but he has no doubt that he could take on a head coaching role.

He added the team was “respectful” and ”ready to learn” but admitted there were some personnel changes he would suggest.

“We need a big body in the middle of the park and I reckon we‘re short a strike centre,” he said. ”We’re very skilful, we need some good leaders, some strong voices that can bring those guys who are the level below that up and push the group.”

As for the next coach of the Warriors, Payten said the side need “a good teacher who can communicate well and teach them the game of footy, not just the skills of the game but the actual game itself”.

As the conversation wrapped up, Ikin still seemed surprised and congratulated Payten for his decision.

“Congratulations on making such a brave decision, I can‘t remember the last time a coach knocked back a head coaching role – I think it may have been Craig Bellamy and it turned out well for him,” he said. ”But more than that, we wish you all the very best particularly your wife and your family through what I’m sure has been a pretty tough time.”

Ikin admitted Payten‘s reveal “knocked me for six – I was not expecting to hear that tonight”.

Kent said it was “a sign of his maturity as a coach”.

He pointed to the time that Bellamy was offered the Wests Tigers head coaching role but hindsight has been kind as he took the Melbourne Storm coaching role.

Reportedly there are three coaches on the Warriors hit list for the vacant coaching role.



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Red Bull’s protest against Mercedes steering system is rejected


Red Bull team principal Christian Horner (left) and Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff (right)

Formula 1 officials have rejected a protest by Red Bull against a controversial steering system on Mercedes’ 2020 car.

Red Bull alleged that the so-called dual-axis steering system (DAS) broke the rules on two counts.

They said that was because it was an aerodynamic and suspension-related device.

But stewards at the season-opening race decided that it was legal because it constituted a steering device alone.

They said it was “not conventional” but did not contravene the rules on steering.

Red Bull argued that the DAS was a moveable aerodynamic device and that it was an adjustment to the suspension while the car was in motion.

The system alters the ‘toe’ of the front wheels by moving the steering wheel.

The ‘toe’ is the angle of the front wheels in relation to the longitudinal axis of the car.

F1 cars operate with a degree of ‘toe-out’ – which effectively means that the front part of the tyres are turned outwards by a few millimetres.

This is beneficial when the driver turns in to the corner as it gives them more grip and stability but causes a degree of ‘scrub’ on the straights, where the tyre is dragged across the track at an angle, which causes its temperature to rise.

In the Mercedes system, the driver can pull on the steering wheel to straighten the front wheels as he comes on to a straight and then push back on it to revert to the ‘toe-out’ position as he enters a corner.

The potential advantage is two-fold: it changes the amount of tyre ‘scrub’ on the straights and so improves tyre usage; and it reduces drag to increase straight-line speed.

DAS steering wheel graphic
Typically the front wheels on an F1 car are mounted at an outward-facing angle to help with cornering (yellow dotted line) – this system adjusts them to be more centred (red line) travelling down the straights when the driver pulls back the steering wheel

Rivals believe its primary aim is to keep the front tyres warm while drivers keep the rears cool as they prepare for a flying lap.

The system has been banned by a change of rules for 2021, but governing body the FIA had already said it considers DAS to be legal under the current rules.

Following Red Bull’s protest, stewards at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix declared that the system “would be illegal if it was not part of the steering system”.

But it was a steering device because it “realigns the two front wheels via the same central mechanism that conventional steering does” and it “remains under the full control of the driver”.

The ruling means Mercedes, who were first and second fastest in both of Friday’s practice sessions at the Red Bull Ring, are able to continue using the system this weekend.

Red Bull have a right to appeal.



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Victorian brumby cull challenge rejected by Supreme Court


A Victorian High Country cattleman has lost his bid to stop feral horses from being shot under a Parks Victoria management plan.

The decision clears the way for the agency to begin a ground shooting cull as early as next month.

Cattleman Philip Maguire had challenged Parks Victoria in the Supreme Court of Victoria in a bid to halt the organisation’s Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan.

The plan aims to eliminate a large number of feral horses in parts of the Alpine National Park, including shooting some in the Eastern Alps and removing the entire Bogong High Plains brumby population.

Mr Maguire argued Parks Victoria had failed to properly consult with the public over its decision to shoot brumbies in the Alpine National Park.

Today, the Supreme Court of Victoria ruled that Parks Victoria was not required to consult with the community in its decision to cull Alpine National Park brumbies by method of shooting.

“It is clear that the decision to remove the horses from the Alpine National Park was the subject of extensive community consultation before the Action Plan was made and is given effect to by the contents of that plan,” Justice Steven Moore said in his ruling.

Method of shooting horses had been canvassed already

He also highlighted that the public had had their chance to weigh in on the option of shooting as a control method while the plan was being developed.

“Although the shooting of horses was not proposed in the draft action plan, 351 comments were received about shooting as a control method,” Justice Moore outlined in his ruling.

“About 80 per cent of those comments supported shooting as a control method on the basis of its efficiency, practicality and humaneness.

“The majority of the opposition to shooting as a control method was based on animal-cruelty concerns or ethical principles.”

Parks Victoria told the court ground shooters would not start their operations before Tuesday, June 9, or June 12 if Mr Maguire lodged an appeal within a week.

The Victorian National Parks Association has welcomed the ruling, which it said had upheld “good management of our ancient Alpine habitats”.

“Parks Victoria’s plan to cull horses on site, if they can’t be rehomed, is by far the most humane way to manage them,” the association’s Phil Ingamells said in a statement.

“After a century and a half battling hard-hooved invaders, it’s time to put our remarkable High Country native plants and animals securely on the path to recovery.”

Cattleman had argued shooting option was ‘off the table’

Mr Maguire’s legal team had argued Parks Victoria failed to properly engage and consult broadly with the community about its plans to shoot feral horses.

The team argued that the public was not made aware about Parks Victoria’s plans to shoot the horses until May 8, when the organisation made the announcement via a press release after winning an injunction against the Australian Brumby Alliance in the Federal Court of Victoria.

A farmer stands next to his white brumby petting its head. He wears a wide brim hat and brown oil skin jacket.
In addition to his court battles, Phil Maguire has led musters to remove brumbies from the area ahead of the planned cull.(ABC News: Steven Schubert)

Mr Maguire’s lawyer Angel Aleksov argued Parks Victoria had an obligation to conduct timely and inclusive community engagement, which he said was synonymous with consultation, to support the preparation of management strategies and plans, particularly when a plan had been amended.

“The argument is that the community is at the centre of Parks Victoria’s functions and consultation is at the heart of that,” Mr Aleksov said.

The team also argued that there was no reference to brumbies being shot in the 2018-2021 Feral Horse Strategic Action Plan, which noted on page 25 that “shooting will not be used to control free-ranging feral horses”.

“In relation to the kill policy, there was not any engagement with the broader community,” Mr Aleksov told the court.

Parks Victoria argued shooting was necessary due to rise in feral horses

But Parks Victoria argued it had a duty to control feral horses in the Alpine National Park, and that the community was consulted while the Feral Horse Strategic Action plan was being developed.

“The full range of community views about this method of control [shooting] were expressed and received by Parks Victoria in the course of the consultation period [in] relation to the action plan,” Parks Victoria’s representative Jason Pizer QC said.

A brumby looks towards the camera.
The court rejected an argument by cattleman Phil Maguire that Parks Victoria was required to consult more widely about its plan.(ABC: Ginny Stein, file photo)

Parks Victoria had decided to send in ground shooters as a control method in March after they said an aerial survey showed feral horses in the Australian Alps had risen significantly since before the plan was launched, and that native flora and fauna had been put under extreme pressure following widespread summer bushfires.

The organisation argued that the media release on May, 8 indicating its intentions to send in ground shooters was sufficient community engagement on the plan, and a further delay of up to four months for public consultation would only hinder urgent environmental action.

“A four-month delay would have further limited the capacity to address urgent management issues in the Alpine National Park,” Mr Pizer said.

The defence also argued that the definition of Parks Victoria’s obligation to engage with the community was of “some breadth”, and wasn’t synonymous with consultation.



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Australia rejected huge offers for medical supplies


In some cases, Health Minister Greg Hunt has personally involved himself in negotiations to ensure the government was getting value for money.

Mr Hunt said the Australian government’s strategy from the beginning of the outbreak was to offer long-term deals, not big one-off deals at inflated prices.

“While early on there were attempts to sell masks at inflated prices, they were rejected,” Mr Hunt said.

“What we offered and were able to secure was longer-term contracts for volume and time, not one-off inflated purchases.”

In February, two teams were set up within the departments of health and industry to coordinate the national response to procuring supplies. They were charged with negotiating with major producers overseas and ramping up local production.

Mr Hunt said he, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy and Prime Minister Scott Morrison went for a policy of “containment and capacity”.

“This was tested, refined and endorsed through a rigorous National Security Committee process,” Mr Hunt said.

“We foresaw a great global rush for test kits and locked in our supply lines early. We also established procurement teams for masks, test kits and ventilators.”

In other instances, high-level diplomacy has been needed behind the scenes on deals that, on the surface, looked like commercial agreements.

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In April, Australia reached a deal with Taiwan to send 1 million litres of alcohol to make sanitiser and vaccines in exchange for three tonnes of material to make face masks.

The strategy to only focus on long-term deals has been credited with this week’s decision to resume up to 25 per cent of elective surgery from Monday, weeks before any of the government’s top health advisers expected.

While the Australian government has not raised any issues with receiving faulty equipment, defective testing kits from China have been reported by governments in Britain, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands.

The desperation for supplies became so intense that Britain decided to accept a risky “take-it-or-leave-it” offer from two Chinese companies for two million home test kits for at least $20 million, which were later found to be faulty. In the United States a cheque worth $5.6 million for 1.5 million masks from a Chinese middleman was reportedly handed over in a McDonald’s car park in Illinois.

In the private sector, the combination of travel bans and sky-rocketing demand sent prices for masks through the roof. In some pharmacies across NSW and Victoria, the cost of a single N95 mask jumped from $1.30 to $38.50 – a 1500 per cent increase that has been referred to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Chemist Warehouse chief operating officer Mario Tascone said there had been a “lot of sharks” in the market.

“I can see where other people can get into trouble out there,” Mr Tascone said.

Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone said there had been “massive competitive pressure put on dwindling amounts of production around the world”.

“I have colleagues overseas who have either fallen ill or lost their lives to COVID-19,” he said.

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Trump says he rejected sum South Korea offered for defense costs



U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

April 21, 2020

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he had rejected a sum offered by South Korea in response to his demand that Seoul pay for a larger share of the cost of U.S. military forces deployed there.

“Now they’ve offered us a certain amount of money and I’ve rejected it,” Trump said at a White House news conference, adding that Seoul was paying about a billion dollars a year towards a U.S. troop presence of 28,000-32,000 personnel.

“We’re defending a wonderful nation. We’re asking them to pay for a big percentage of what we’re doing. It’s not fair. … It’s a question of will they contribute toward the defense of their own nation,” Trump added.

U.S. officials told Reuters earlier this month that Trump had rejected a South Korean offer made ahead of that country’s mid-April parliamentary election of an increase of at least 13% from the previous cost-sharing accord.

“We’re doing a tremendous service. We have a wonderful feeling and a wonderful relationship with each other, but we have to be treated equitably and fairly,” Trump said.

When asked about reports that he was negotiating a reduction of U.S. troop numbers with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump appeared to reject this, replying:

“It’s not a question of reduction, it’s a question of, will they contribute toward the defense of their own nation? We’re defending nations that are very wealthy. South Korea’s a very wealthy nation – they make our television sets, they make ships, they make everything.”

Trump said “we’ll find out fairly soon” what would happen with the negotiation.

The White House said at the weekend that Trump spoke to Moon on Saturday and expressed appreciation for South Korea’s help in procuring COVID-19 tests for the United States. It said they also discussed ways to strengthen the security relationship.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, David Brunnstrom and Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Sandra Maler and Grant McCool)





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