Ghislaine Maxwell ‘woken by flashlight in prison every 15 minutes to make sure she’s still alive’

Michael Howie
·2-min read
<p>Ghislaine Maxwell is being quarantined after a prison worker tested positive for Covid-19</p> (via REUTERS)

Ghislaine Maxwell is being quarantined after a prison worker tested positive for Covid-19

(via REUTERS)

Ghislaine Maxwell is awakened by flashlight every 15 minutes in her New York prison cell to ensure she is still breathing, her lawyer has said.

The socialite is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn on charges she aided the late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of girls.

Her attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, told a Manhattan judge on Tuesday that she faces more restrictive conditions than inmates convicted of terrorism or murder.

She said Maxwell has no history of mental health issues and no criminal history and asked US District Judge Alison J. Nathan to intervene on her client’s behalf to improve her conditions.

Maxwell, 58, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she procured three girls for her former boyfriend to abuse in the mid-1990s. She has been held without bail while she prepares for a July trial.

<p>The Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn where Ghislaine Maxwell is being held ahead of her trial</p>AP

The Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn where Ghislaine Maxwell is being held ahead of her trial

AP

In her request, Ms Sternheim made no direct reference to Epstein taking his life in August 2019 in his cell at another federal jail in Manhattan.

In a letter to the judge, she said Maxwell was effectively being kept in solitary confinement and is excessively and invasively searched and monitored 24 hours a day, including camera surveillance in her cell and a camera following her movement whenever she is permitted to leave her cell.

“And despite non-stop in-cell camera surveillance, Ms Maxwell’s sleep is disrupted every 15 minutes when she is awakened by a flashlight to ascertain whether she is breathing,” Ms Sternheim wrote.

Prosecutors revealed on Monday that Maxwell was put in quarantine last week for 14 days after a prison worker in her section of the jail tested positive for the coronavirus. She is not allowed to meet with her defence team during that period.

In their own letter to the judge, they said the 13 hours a day Maxwell gets to review trial materials on a laptop computer is more time than any other prisoner is allotted.

<p>File photo of Jeffrey Epstein provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry in March 2017</p>AP

File photo of Jeffrey Epstein provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry in March 2017

AP

However Ms Sternheim wrote that Maxwell was facing burdens unmatched by other inmates and has been mistreated. She said the latest production of evidence by prosecutors was over one million documents and Maxwell lacked enough time to study the material.

She said Maxwell was initially quarantined without soap or a toothbrush and that medical and psychology staff stopped checking on her, failing to tell her the results of her Covid-19 tests or what to do if she becomes symptomatic. Prosecutors said on Monday that her test result for the coronavirus was negative, and she will be tested again at the end of her quarantine.

The judge instructed defence lawyers and prosecutors to confer over the next week over Ms Sternheim’s request that the Brooklyn facility’s warden directly address the concerns about her conditions.

Read More

Maxwell claimed Jeffrey Epstein accuser's story was 'absurd'

Maxwell loses court battle to keep testimony private in Epstein case