Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyer slams her 'Orwellian' treatment in prison

Prison guards shine a torch into Ghislaine Maxwell’s cell every 15 minutes while she sleeps for her own safety, prosecutors claim as her lawyer slams ‘Orwellian’ treatment

  • Maxwell, 59, has been held without bail since July on charges alleging she recruited teenage girls from 1994 to 2004 for Epstein to sexually abuse
  • Prosecutors said the 15 minute nighttime checks on Maxwell were necessary because of her charges, potential stress from the trial and for her safety
  • Her lawyers have alleged the checks are a response to the suicide of Maxwell’s ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein in August 2019 as he awaited trial
  • The comments came after a judge requested an explanations for the flashing of light at the ceiling of Maxwell’s cell every 15 minutes while she sleeps

Prison guards are shining a torch into Ghislaine Maxwell’s cell every 15 minutes while she sleeps for her own safety, prosecutors have claimed.

The British socialite’s lawyer has slammed Maxwell’s treatment in the New York prison where she is being held as she awaits trial on sex trafficking charges as ‘Orwellian’.

Prosecutors told a judge on Wednesday that heightened security for Maxwell was necessary because of the nature of her charges, the potential stress she faces in a high-profile criminal case and because of a need to ensure her safety in a cell where she is alone.

Her lawyers say the light flashing is a response to ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein’s August 2019 suicide as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.

 Last week, Maxwell’s lawyers released a photo of Ghislaine Maxwell with a bruise under her left eye. It is not clear how she got the bruise, but Maxwell told lawyers it might have come from shielding her eyes during the nighttime checks

Maxwell’s trial on charges she procured teenage girls for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse has been postponed until the fall of 2021. Pictured: Maxwell with Epstein in 2005

Last week, Maxwell’s lawyers released a photo of Maxwell with a bruise under her left eye.

It is not clear how she got the bruise, but Maxwell told lawyers it might have come from shielding her eyes during the nighttime checks. 

Maxwell, 59, has been held without bail since July on charges alleging she recruited teenage girls from 1994 to 2004 for Epstein to sexually abuse. She has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors based their letter on a consultation with lawyers for the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, where Maxwell is held, after a judge requested an explanations for the flashing of light at the ceiling of Maxwell’s cell every 15 minutes while she sleeps.

Two judges of the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals recommended the explanations be sought after recently rejecting an appeal of three rulings rejecting bail for Maxwell.

Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in jail in 2019 before he could face trial in a sex trafficking case in New York

They also questioned why Maxwell was not allowed to wear a mask that would shield her eyes at night. Her lawyer told the 2nd Circuit that she puts socks or a towel over her eyes to try to sleep. 

David Oscar Markus, a lawyer who represents Maxwell before the 2nd Circuit, said in an email late on Wednesday: ‘This is positively Orwellian. Prosecutors have parroted a nameless MDC official, who has determined that a detainee, who has not been deemed a suicide risk, must be awoken every 15 minutes for her own ‘well-being’.

‘What’s next? Bread and water diet to eliminate the risk of diabetes? Please!’

In their letter, prosecutors said Maxwell cannot be issued an eye mask because they are not available for purchase in the jail commissary and are thus considered contraband.

Maxwell’s trial was postponed this week from July until early autumn, with an exact date yet to be set.

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and other charges over her alleged role in procuring four teenage girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004

Her lawyer’s have said a postponement of the trial was necessary after prosecutors added sex trafficking charges to the case in late March.

They also cited what they described as onerous jail conditions that slow Maxwell’s ability to prepare for trial.

Maxwell was arrested in July on charges that she had recruited three teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to 1997. 

A superseding indictment in March added a fourth teenage girl to the allegations and extended the years of the alleged conspiracy to 2004.   

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