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Lawyers for jailed socialite Ghislaine Maxwell have claimed that she is losing her hair and has shed weight due to the conditions she has had to endure while in federal custody.
Bobbi Sternheim, an attorney for Maxwell, made the claim in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan refuting the federal Bureau of Prisons' claims on Monday that Maxwell is being kept in conditions that are normal for the facility, the New York Post reports. That letter, itself only the latest in an ongoing series of complaints and rebuttals between Maxwell’s legal team and the Bureau of Prisons, claimed that she has maintained a healthy weight of 134 pounds and argued that she is afforded the same privileges — including access to recreational areas and the ability to make social calls — as other inmates, according to the Post.
But Sternheim has claimed that, while Maxwell’s weight may seem stable, she has actually lost more than 15 pounds since her arrest.
“While her weight may currently be fairly consistent, she had lost over 15 pounds, and she is sustaining hair loss,” the letter reads, according to the Post. Sternheim went on to allege that the weight and hair loss were due to undue stress and a poor diet, the New York Daily News reports. Maxwell has had to go without food for up to 20 hours in the past, Sternheim claimed, according to the paper.
And while the BOP argued that Maxwell has been given meals that are in accordance with policy, the latest rebuttal from her attorneys claims otherwise, arguing that for the first six weeks Maxwell was in custody, she was not given meals that adhered to the policy put forth by the BOP, according to the Post.
Maxwell’s lawyers have also repeatedly sought bail for their client, and in their latest letter, also claimed that she was not being kept safe amid an outbreak of COVID-19 in the facility, NBC New York reports. They say that the conditions of her detainment are also "punitive, unwarranted, deleteriously impacting her ability to prepare her defense, and interfering with counsel’s ability to provide the legal representation to which she, and any other detainee, deserves.”
Maxwell, 58, was arrested in July and is facing numerous charges related to claims that she engaged in child sex trafficking and aided late financier Jeffrey Epstein in the sexual abuse of girls as young as 14. She allegedly groomed and participated in the sexual abuse of minors in numerous locations, including New York, Florida, and New Mexico, officials announced earlier this year.
Maxwell, who has been denied bond, has been awaiting trial in Brooklyn at the Metropolitan Detention Center, where, her lawyers claimed in August, she has been subjected to “uniquely onerous conditions” that include frequent searches of her cell and having her phone calls with her lawyers observed by guards. Maxwell has also had to endure “suicide watch protocols,” which entail being woken up numerous times at night, her lawyers said.
Sternheim has pointed to Epstein’s prison suicide in August 2019 as the reasoning behind the BOP’s determination to keep what they believe is an unnecessarily tight watch on Maxwell.
“It is obvious that Ms. Maxwell is bearing the brunt of BOP incompetence,” Sternheim wrote, according to the Post. She went on to claim that the facility has “imposed extraordinarily onerous conditions of constraint on Ms. Maxwell to avoid the catastrophic consequences of negligence occurring at the MDC that resulted in the death of Jeffrey Epstein.”
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