14:01 GMT12 May 2021
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    The British socialite, who has been charged with grooming underage sex victims for pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, made her first in-person appearance in court on Monday, pleading not guilty to the sex trafficking charges brought against her by prosecutors.

    Guards “intimidated and humiliated” Jeffrey Epstein’s suspected accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, when she used the lavatory, and she was alleged to have unrightfully laid her hands on legal papers, her lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said, in the latest complaint about the former socialite’s prison conditions.

    On Monday, soon after an appeals court over her rejected bail release, Sternheim penned a letter to US District Judge Alison Nathan, depicting what she claimed is unsatisfactory treatment of her client.

    “Ms. Maxwell requested and was given permission to use the bathroom,” Sternheim wrote after a lengthy meeting with Maxwell, who appeared in court in person for the first time, after a lengthy COVID quarantine.

    “But unlike any other occasion, the guard team leader stood knee to knee with Ms. Maxwell while Ms. Maxwell sat on the commode in the small area containing one toilet and a sink,” she went on.

    Sternheim noted that the guards then confiscated her legal papers, as they mistakenly believed the detainee had obtained them in violation of the prison rules, and threatened to discipline her.

    Complaints About 'Onerous' Jail Conditions

    The lawyer, who previously defended one of Osama Bin Laden’s henchmen, suggested the incident had further “compromised” Maxwell’s ability to pull herself together for the upcoming trial, currently slated for July.

    Earlier in the day, Maxwell’s legal team claimed during the court hearing that the socialite has to sleep with a sock over her eyes to be less disturbed by the torchlight that they say is shone into her jail cell every quarter of an hour at night, depriving her of sleep.

    The lawyers previously referred to her conditions at the Brooklyn jail as “uniquely onerous,” including the "pervasive stench of sewage," saying they prevent her from effectively preparing her defense.

    Bail Attempts Failed

    The lawyers have to date made three attempts to secure bail for Maxwell, but all were turned down by Judge Alison Nathan, who said she had displayed a “lack of candor” regarding her finances and argued she remained a high flight risk.

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

    In early April, the British socialite, who was detained last summer in her secluded New Hampshire property as Epstein’s suspected “madam” faced two new charges, plus the six which were brought against her right after her arrest. The two new ones include sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor.

    The initial six charges, which comprise enticing underage children to be abused and perjury in the past, could put her behind bars for up to 35 years, should she be proved complicit in Epstein’s lewd acts. The 59-year-old Brit has repeatedly pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking, including during her first in-person appearance in a New York court.

    Her lawyers suggested that the two new charges would require a longer preparation, and thus the 12 July trial should be postponed to a later date. However, prosecutors hit back saying that the updates to the indictment center around only one new victim, along with the three already mentioned, and do not require lengthy preparation.

    Related:

    Judge Denies Ghislaine Maxwell's Dismissal Motions - Report
    Alleged Epstein Procurer Ghislaine Maxwell to Appear in Person in NYC Federal Court
    Ghislaine Maxwell Denies Sex Trafficking Charge During First In-Person Court Appearance
    Tags:
    sexual abuse, Sex Trafficking, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell
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