Ghislaine Maxwell's imprisonment like Hannibal Lecter's in Silence of the Lambs, says her lawyer

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Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyer has claimed her client's treatment in a New York jail "rivals scenes of Hannibal Lecter's incarceration in the movie Silence of the Lambs, despite the absence of the cage and plastic face guard".

In a letter to a federal judge, Bobbi C. Sternheim yet again requested bail for Ms Maxwell.

Five previous bail applications have been rejected. The government argues Ms Maxwell is a flight risk due to her three nationalities and access to considerable wealth.

Ms Sternheim wrote that her client "suffers from headaches and back pain and general physical weakness" and claims that during searches she has been "touched in a sexually inappropriate manner by corrections officers on multiple occasions".

In the seven page letter, Bobbi Sternheim said: "Many of the officers are openly hostile toward her and have mentioned having read the press and seen various television shows which amplify their hostility."

Ms Sterneheim also claimed that an investigation is underway within the US Marshall Service, which oversees court security, after a staff member was "verbally threatening" and allegedly told Ms Maxwell: "You think you are special. You are not special. Remember you are in custody and the judge doesn't care about you."

Bobbi Sternheim added that Ms Maxwell's prison conditions are "reprehensible and utterly inappropriate for a woman on the cusp of turning 60 with no criminal record or history of violence" and that if her detention continues "it is highly likely that she will not have the stamina to assist in her defence and endure the physical demands of a five-day per week, multi-week court proceedings".

Ms Maxwell's lawyers have previously claimed their client is subjected to "flashlight checks" in her cell every 15 minutes, and that she has lost hair and 15 pounds in weight during her 16 months in Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center.

They argue she is treated differently due to intense criticism following the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein in jail in 2019.

In a pre-trial hearing on Monday, Ms Sternheim told a federal court that Ghislaine Maxwell was forced to crawl "on her hands and knees" while wearing leg shackles to get into a prison van.

She said Ms Maxwell was woken at 3.45am and arrived at the courthouse at 5.38am but was prevented from looking at her legal materials. She was offered "very little food" and given no utensil to eat it with.

In April, Ms Maxwell's lawyers released an image which appeared to show her with a black eye.

Ian Maxwell, her brother, has told Sky News: "I don't see Ghislaine administering a black eye to herself… I think she has suffered some occasional physical abuse at the hands of her guards. Yes."

The British socialite, and former girlfriend of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, is awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking, which she denies. She is accused of procuring teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse. The opening arguments of Ghislaine Maxwell's trial are expected to begin on 29 November.

The US Marshall Service and the US Federal Bureau of Prisons have been contacted for comment.

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons has previously said: "The BOP takes allegations of staff misconduct seriously and consistent with national policy, refers all allegations for investigation, if warranted."

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