According to a letter filed by her attorney, Ghislaine Maxwell, 58, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein who is accused of grooming and abusing underage girls, is woken up every 15 minutes to see if she’s alive.
“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,” Attorney Bobbi Sternheim wrote in the letter.
Maxwell, who is awaiting her trial at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York, is in de facto solitary confinement under the most restrictive conditions.
According to her legal counsel, Maxwell is “excessively and invasively searched” and monitored 24 hours per day. A treatment that is more restrictive than prisoners convicted of terrorism or capital murder, her lawyer says.
Attorney Sternheim requested that US District Judge Alison Nathan order the MDC’s warden to address the court regarding the conditions of Maxwell’s detention.
Earlier this week, Maxwell was placed in quarantine after a staff member who works in her area of the detention center tested positive for Covid-19.
According to a letter from federal prosecutors submitted to the court, Maxwell tested negative for the virus and is showing no symptoms of the disease.
Maxwell is being monitored by jail psychologists for several hours a day without her knowledge, according to previous court filings.
The tightened security follows Epstein’s death last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges at a different federal facility, Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.
The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner said Epstein died by suicide. The two guards were napping and online shopping while they were supposed to be observing Epstein, according to prosecutors, who charged them with filing false records.
The guards have pleaded not guilty.
On July 2, Maxwell was arrested and charged with recruiting, grooming, and ultimately abusing three alleged victims, including a girl as young as 14 years old. Maxwell pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Judge Nathan denied Maxwell bail after finding her a flight risk.
In August, the judge denied Maxwell’s request to be moved to the general jail population, saying changes to her confinement were unnecessary at that time.
Maxwell’s lawyers have argued that she has never been diagnosed as suicidal and the current conditions treat her unfairly.