Is Ghislaine Maxwell ill-treated in prison? Lawyer says she's 'losing hair' and 'physically abused by guard'
Ghislaine Maxwell was physically abused by a jail guard during a pat-down search and is "withering to a shell" behind bars, dropping weight and losing her hair, her lawyer said in court papers, filed on Tuesday, February 16. Maxwell's attorney Bobby Sternheim wrote about the "onerous" conditions her client is allegedly being subjected to at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
According to court papers accessed by The New York Post, Sternheim wrote to Judge Alison Nathan that Maxwell's treatment is purported to include sleep deprivation, being given inedible food, being "physically abused" by a jail guard, and also being punished for complaining about it.
Sternheim wrote, "Ms Maxwell continues to be at the mercy of a revolving group of security officers who are used to guarding hundreds of inmates but now focus their undivided attention exclusively on one respectful, middle-aged female pretrial detainee."
She added, "Recently, out of view of the security camera, Ms Maxwell was placed in her isolation cell and physically abused during a pat-down search. When she asked that the camera be used to capture the occurrence, a guard replied ‘no.’ When Ms Maxwell recoiled in pain and when she said she would report the mistreatment, she was threatened with disciplinary action."
Guards also reportedly forced Maxwell to clean a shower with a broom as retaliation for reporting the abuse, according to Sternheim, who filed the letter in response to a message by prosecutors about Maxwell's jail conditions. Judge Nathan had ordered in December 2020 that prosecutors had to submit written updates about Maxwell's lockup conditions every 60 days after she complained about them in a separate letter.
Sternheim also claimed that surveillance of her client is so strict that "guards forbid" Maxwell from standing in certain areas of her six-foot by nine-foot cell, including telling her not to stand to the left or right over her toilet. The attorney also addressed that prosecutors had confirmed complaints she raised months ago about guards pointing a flashlight at the ceiling of Maxwell’s cell "every fifteen minutes from approximately 9.30 pm to 6.30 am ."
Sternheim also wrote that Maxwell has never received "a properly heated meal" and has been forced to drink "odorous" tap water, during her time behind the bars. She also said that Maxwell is regularly given food in a container that is not meant for microwave use, but staff microwaves her food anyway. She wrote, "Ms Maxwell’s food either does not defrost the food or disintegrates it and melts the plastic container, rendering the food inedible."
“She is withering to a shell of her former self — losing weight, losing hair, and losing her ability to concentrate,” Sternheim wrote.
Sternheim also accused the prison of denying her client vital information, claiming that newspapers are delivered to her six weeks late and that her emails have been deleted from prison computers, hindering her abilities to communicate with her defense lawyers.
“Having been incarcerated in de facto solitary confinement for 225 days and monitored by two to six guards 24 hours a day with a handheld camera dedicated to capturing her every move, except when it would record improper conduct on the part of the guards, it is not surprising that Ms Maxwell feels she is detained under the control of the Bureau of ‘Pretrial Punishment’,” the letter states.