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Epstein Pal's Lawyer: Nightly Checks 'Positively Orwellian'

Prosecutors say flashing light into her cell every 15 minutes at night is necessary for her own safety
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 6, 2021 7:06 AM CDT

(Newser) – Federal prosecutors say Ghislaine Maxwell isn't under suicide watch, but that it's still necessary to flash light into her cell every 15 minutes as she sleeps while she awaits a sex trafficking trial. They told a judge Wednesday via a letter that heightened security for Maxwell was necessary because of the nature of the charges she faces, the potential stress she faces in a high-profile criminal case, and a need to ensure her safety in a cell where she's alone. Maxwell's lawyers say the light-flashing is a response to ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein's August 2019 suicide as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges, reports the AP. Prosecutors based their letter on a consultation with lawyers for the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where Maxwell is held, after a judge requested an explanation for the flashing of light at the ceiling of Maxwell's cell every 15 minutes while she sleeps.

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In a Wednesday email, Maxwell attorney David Oscar Markus said, "This is positively Orwellian," slamming the contention that Maxwell needed to be woken up every 15 minutes for her own well-being. "What's next? Bread and water diet to eliminate the risk of diabetes?" Two judges of the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals who recommended the explanations be sought questioned why Maxwell wasn't allowed to wear a mask that would shield her eyes at night. Her lawyer told the 2nd Circuit that she puts socks or a towel over her eyes to try to sleep. In their letter, prosecutors said Maxwell can't be issued an eye mask because they're not available for purchase in the jail commissary and are thus considered contraband. Maxwell, 59, has been held without bail since July on charges alleging she recruited teenage girls from 1994 to 2004 for Epstein to sexually abuse. She has pleaded not guilty. Her trial was postponed this week from July until early fall, with no date yet set.

(Read more Ghislaine Maxwell stories.)

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