Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell have complained she's being subjected to raw sewage, water deprivation and "hyper surveillance" by overbearing guards in her Brooklyn jail cell.
The British socialite is awaiting a potential November trial in New York for allegedly grooming and trafficking underage victims for her former boyfriend, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The 59-year-old, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.
For months, Maxwell has claimed she's being tortured by staff at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Sunset Park, accusing of them of shining a light into her cell every 15 minutes overnight – to ensure she hasn't taken her own life like Epstein did – and holding her under "uniquely onerous conditions".
In a filing earlier this week, Maxwell's lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, said she was forced to change cells at the MDC after raw sewage permeated hers last week, writing that "vermin droppings fell from air vents".
Sternheim also said guards were reading Maxwell's confidential legal papers and monitoring her meetings with lawyers, and that during a four-hour meeting over the weekend, her and her legal team were not allowed any water.
Sternheim pointed out that "numerous complaints have been brought to the court's attention regarding recurring problematic conditions at the MDC and over-management of Ms Maxwell".
"Little if anything has been done," she wrote of Ms Maxwell's repeated complaints.
"The ever-changing rules are negatively impacting Ms Maxwell's ability to prepare for trial.
"The hyper-surveillance of Maxwell and counsel during legal visits is highly inappropriate and invasive."
Earlier this year, another of her lawyers, David Markus, told reporters after one of her hearings that Maxwell wasn't suicidal and instead was being subjected to "difficult" jail conditions because she's a "victim of the Epstein effect".
"Ghislaine is in very, very, very difficult conditions – conditions that none of us would wish on our worst enemies," Markus said.
"She's not suicidal, she shouldn't be treated like that. It's only because of the horrible Epstein effect."
He said that despite her alleged living conditions, she is "looking forward to fighting", confirming that "she will fight".
Maxwell has been denied bail three times by US District Judge Alison Nathan, who oversees her case, and twice by a federal appeals court.
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
From Prince Andrew, Elon Musk, Naomi Campbell and Paul Allen to Bill Clinton and Donald Trump – Maxwell's standing among the elite was cemented from the moment she was born to her media baron father Robert Maxwell and mother Elisabeth.
Her close ties with royalty and celebrities later led her to Epstein – a wealthy American financier who appeared to collect famous friends as readily as he did money. It was an encounter that would ultimately change the course of her life.
Maxwell and Epstein reportedly dated for a short period in 1992 before breaking up and remaining close friends – often appearing together on the international fashion circuit, and at prestigious events and lavish parties over the decades that followed.
She also allegedly played a vital role in Epstein's most sinister behaviour – according to multiple court filings, Maxwell lured his alleged victims into the sex ring by offering them modelling, fashion and educational opportunities. At least two of the women allege that Maxwell and Epstein sexually assaulted them together.
Maxwell was arrested in July last year, and faces six charges including grooming underage women to have sex with the convicted sex offender, sexual abuse and two counts of perjury.