19:35 GMT13 April 2021
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    The 59-year-old was arrested by the FBI last July and has since been awaiting trial in the Metropolitan Detention Centre in New York City. She is accused of grooming girls as young as 14 for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who purportedly raped them. She claims she is innocent.

    Ghislaine Maxwell claims her prison conditions are fit for a serial killer, the Daily Mail reported without citing its sources. According to the newspaper, the woman's lawyers have filed a 31-page document in the Second Circuit appeal court in New York, where they spoke of terrible prison conditions that would be appropriate for fictional villain Hannibal Lecter, who ate his victims.

    "Though she is a model prisoner who poses no danger to society and has done literally nothing to prompt 'special' treatment, she is kept in isolation – conditions fitting for Hannibal Lecter but not a 59-year-old woman who poses no threat to anyone", David Oscar Markus, one of Maxwell's lawyers wrote as per the Daily Mail.

    Her legal team accused the prosecution of sexism, noting that men accused and later convicted of sexual assault received much better treatment. Markus cited film producer Harvey Weinstein and famous comedian Bill Cosby as examples. The former was sentenced to 23 years in jail for sexual assault and rape, while the latter was sentenced to three to 10 years of prison for drugging and raping women.

    "The truth is that wealthy men charged with similar or more serious offences, many of whom have foreign ties, are routinely granted bail so that they can effectively prepare for trial. Bernie Madoff. Harvey Weinstein. Bill Cosby. John Gotti. Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Adnan Khashoggi", David Oscar Markus wrote as citied by the Daily Mail.

    The documents were filed as part of an attempt to appeal the judge's decision to deny Maxwell bail. The latter has been refused bail three times. Commenting on her recent ruling, Judge Alison Nathan said Maxwell remains a flight risk.

    What Are the Complaints?

    Maxwell's lawyers have repeatedly grumbled about their client's prison conditions, which they described as "onerous", "cruel", and "vindictive". They claim she is losing hair and weight because the prison food is inedible. Lawyers claim she has lost 25 pounds (11 kg) since she was incarcerated in Metropolitan Detention Centre in New York City.
    According to the court filings, she is kept in isolation and is being woken every 15 minutes to be searched by a prison guard.

    Maxwell's legal team previously said she is being treated worse than other detainees, with guards forcing her to undergo numerous body scans and her cell being searched multiple times a day. A close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell's family said she is forced to wear paper clothes and no bra as prison officials fear she could take her own life.

    Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in New York
    © AP Photo / John Minchillo
    Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in New York

    Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?

    Maxwell is the daughter of British billionaire Robert Maxwell, but is better known as the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, a financier arrested in 2019 on charges of running a sex trafficking network of minors. Dozens of women, who accused Epstein of sexual assault and rape, claim Maxwell lured them into the hands of the financier, promising well-paid jobs. Some women alleged that she not only groomed, but also took part in the abuse.

    She faces eight charges including sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of minors as well as enticing minors – one as young as 14 – to engage in illegal sex acts. She claims she is innocent, while her lawyers insist the prosecution has made her a scapegoat for Epstein's alleged crimes.

    Epstein himself died in a prison cell in August 2019. His death was ruled a suicide. The news caused a wave of indignation among his accusers as well as sparked conspiracy theories, with people suggesting that he was killed by his powerful friends who were afraid of being implicated in the scandal.

    Related:

    Epstein's 'Madame' Selling House Where Pic of Prince Andrew, Sex Accuser Giuffre Was Allegedly Taken
    Harvard Sanctions Professor Over Links to Epstein, Unrestricted Access to Campus for Sex Offender
    Tags:
    Sex Trafficking, sex trafficking ring, sexual assault, Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein
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