NEW YORK — A federal judge has ordered the government to explain why it flashes a light into Ghislaine Maxwell's jail cell every 15 minutes at night. Her lawyers say the frequent checks with a flashlight may have resulted in a bruise on her left eye.
Maxwell's lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, filed paperwork with the court this week that included an image of her showing the bruise. It's the first image of Maxwell shared since she was sent to the detention center in Brooklyn, New York following her arrest in July 2020.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges. Prosecutors allege she recruited teenage girls for the purpose of Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.
Sternheim argues the guards threatened to punish Maxwell after she was unable to explain the bruise.
"While Ms. Maxwell is unaware of the cause of the bruise ... she has grown increasingly reluctant to report information to the guards for fear of retaliation, discipline, and punitive chores. However, there is concern that the bruise may be related to the need for Ms. Maxwell to shield her eyes from the lights projected into her cell throughout the night," Sternheim wrote in his letter to the court.
In an appeal hearing earlier this week, another attorney for Maxwell argued she is kept up at night with a light shined in her cell every 15 minutes so guards can check her breathing. The attorney argued that Maxwell is not suicidal, but the prison is treating her like she is because Epstein died while awaiting trial in 2019.