Ghislaine Maxwell is woken up in her cell every 15 minutes by flashlight to see if 'she is breathing,' her lawyer says
(CNN) -- Ghislaine Maxwell, 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, according to a letter filed by her attorney Tuesday.
"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.
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, treatment her lawyer says is more restrictive than prisoners convicted of terrorism or capital murder.
Sternheim requested that US District Judge Alison Nathan order the MDC's warden to address the court regarding the conditions of Maxwell's detention.
Maxwell was placed in quarantine earlier this week after a staff member who works in her area of the detention center tested positive for Covid-19. She tested negative for the virus, and is showing no symptoms, according to a letter from federal prosecutors submitted to the court.
According to previous court filings, Maxwell is being monitored by jail psychologists for several hours a day without her knowledge.
The stepped up 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. 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.
Maxwell, 58, was arrested on July 2 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. Her trial is scheduled for July.
Maxwell's lawyers have argued that Maxwell has never been diagnosed as suicidal and the current conditions treat her unfairly.
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