Ghislaine Maxwell ‘woken every 15 minutes to make sure she is breathing’

Ghislaine Maxwell faces tougher jail conditions than inmates convicted of murder or terrorism, according to one of her lawyers.

Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend is woken every 15 minutes to ensure she is breathing, despite her having no history of mental health issues or suicide attempts, a judge was told.

She is also effectively kept in solitary confinement and is excessively and invasively searched, said her defence lawyer.

Bobbi Sternheim said Maxwell is monitored 24 hours a day with a camera in her cell and cameras following her whenever she steps outside.

The 58-year-old former socialite is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, New York.

Maxwell was arrested in an FBI raid at her secluded New Hampshire home in July over claims she played a central role in procuring underage girls for Epstein to abuse in the mid-1990s.

Convicted paedophile Epstein killed himself in prison in August 2019.

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Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her and is being held without bail until a trial in the summer. She faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted.

Ms Sternheim said her client faced restrictions unmatched by other prisoners and claimed she had been mistreated.

Ghislaine Maxwell was living in an isolated property in Bradford, New Hampshire, when she was arrested
Image:Maxwell was living in an isolated property in Bradford, New Hampshire, when she was arrested

“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,” said the lawyer.

Maxwell is also under quarantine after someone in her area of the prison tested positive for coronavirus last week, and is currently barred from meeting her legal team.

More than a million documents were produced by prosecutors in their latest submission, added Ms Sternheim, saying Maxwell lacked the time to properly review it all.

Prosecutors disagreed and said she had 13 hours a day – more than another other prisoner – to look at the material.

The judge told both sides to confer over the next week over the request for the prison warden to review the restrictions on Maxwell.

Maxwell’s arrest earlier this year made headlines after she was allegedly being guarded by former members of the British military, according to court papers.

FBI agents are said to have broken down a door to arrest her after she fled to another room and found a mobile phone wrapped in foil – something prosecutors say was an attempt to avoid being traced.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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