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NEW YORK — Ghislaine Maxwell’s cell in a Brooklyn federal jail was “permeated” with raw sewage last week, according to a new court filing.
Bobbi Sternheim, an attorney for the British socialite accused of grooming and abusing underage girls, included the sewage leak in her latest list of complaints about conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park.
“Last week, raw sewage permeated Ms. Maxwell’s isolation cell, necessitating her removal to another cell,” Sternheim wrote in a Manhattan federal court filing late Tuesday. “Vermin droppings fell from air vents.”
Maxwell, 59, has for months claimed she’s being tortured by staff at MDC, who allegedly shine a light into her cell every 15 minutes overnight among other indignities.
She’s cited the sorry state of the jail on the Brooklyn waterfront as a reason to release her on bail while awaiting trial for allegedly grooming and trafficking underage victims of her former boyfrienc, Jeffrey Epstein.
Those arguments have failed. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals expressed some concern about Maxwell’s experience behind bars, but declined to order the Bureau of Prisons to change security protocols.
In her new letter to the court, Sternheim highlighted comments by Judge Colleen McMahon that there is “no excuse” for conditions at MDC and its sister jail in lower Manhattan.
“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 to improve Ms. Maxwell’s conditions,” Sternheim wrote.
In a separate letter made public Wednesday, the government defended Maxwell’s security protocols. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey wrote that the overnight “wellness checks” were necessary to confirm Maxwell is breathing.
Maxwell has broader access to her lawyers and legal papers than most other inmates, Comey wrote.
“MDC medical staff continue to assess that the defendant is physically healthy,” Comey wrote.