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Ghislaine Maxwell tells all from inside her US prison cell

Ghislaine Maxwell has spoken for the first time about her ‘living hell’ behind bars – claiming that she has been assaulted and abused by prison guards, purposely deprived of sleep and given rotting food to eat.

In a world exclusive, Ms Maxwell, who had her £21 million bail application denied for the fourth time last week, also claims negative media coverage while she has been in custody and the deliberate withholding of evidence have made it ‘impossible’ for her to receive a fair trial.

Speaking from her 10ft by 12ft prison cell inside New York’s notorious Metropolitan Detention Center, where she has spent the past 16 months in solitary confinement, Ms Maxwell said: ‘I have been assaulted and abused for almost a year and a half.

‘I have not had a nutritious meal in all that time. I haven’t slept without lights on – fluorescent lights that have damaged my eyes – or been allowed to sleep without constant interruptions.

‘I am weak, I am frail. I have no stamina. I am tired. I don’t even have shoes which fit properly. They feed me rotten food. One apple had maggots in it. I have not been allowed to exercise.’

Pictured, Ghislaine Maxwell in 2010

Speaking from her 10ft by 12ft prison cell inside New York’s notorious Metropolitan Detention Center, where she has spent the past 16 months in solitary confinement, Ghislaine Maxwell said: ‘I am weak, I am frail. I have no stamina. I am tired. I don’t even have shoes which fit properly. They feed me rotten food. One apple had maggots in it. I have not been allowed to exercise.’ (Left, Ghislaine has lost weight while in the detention centre; right, she is pictured in 2010)

Despite her grim surroundings, Ms Maxwell manages to force a smile as she describes how prison guards were so impressed by her hairdressing skills that they gave her paper-cutting scissors and joked that she should open her own salon. (Above, the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn)

Despite her grim surroundings, Ms Maxwell manages to force a smile as she describes how prison guards were so impressed by her hairdressing skills that they gave her paper-cutting scissors and joked that she should open her own salon. (Above, the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn)

Ms Maxwell, who faces the rest of her life behind bars if convicted of abusing and procuring young girls for billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein (above, with Ghislaine in 2005) – charges that she vehemently denies – claims that a 'friendly rat' routinely sat next to her on an open sewer as she went to the toilet

Ms Maxwell, who faces the rest of her life behind bars if convicted of abusing and procuring young girls for billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein (above, with Ghislaine in 2005) – charges that she vehemently denies – claims that a ‘friendly rat’ routinely sat next to her on an open sewer as she went to the toilet

Ms Maxwell, who faces the rest of her life behind bars if convicted of abusing and procuring young girls for billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein – charges that she vehemently denies – claims:

  • A ‘friendly rat’ routinely sat next to her on an open sewer as she went to the toilet;
  • She has stopped taking showers as ‘creepy’ guards stare at her;
  • Her mail has been tampered with and she has been ‘purposely’ prevented from preparing for trial by being given vital evidence too late;
  • The jury pool has been so tainted by the continuous slurs against her character she believes it will be virtually ‘impossible’ to get a fair trial.

Some will say that a woman accused of sexually abusing young women, including a 14-year-old girl, deserves no sympathy. Others will argue that the American justice system is inhumane.

Either way, she remains innocent in the eyes of the law before her trial.

At 59, the Ghislaine of today is a far cry from the glamorous woman who was once a fixture on the international social scene, where she mingled with world leaders such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and was close friends with royalty, including Prince Andrew.

Today, the designer outfits have been replaced by the shapeless overalls of prisoner 02879-509.

Her trademark hair, once coiffed by French stylist Frederic Fekkai, is streaked with grey and fashioned into a shoulder-length style she managed to craft using toenail clippers while peering into a 3in by 5in hand mirror.

Despite her grim surroundings, she manages to force a smile as she describes how prison guards were so impressed by her hairdressing skills that they gave her paper-cutting scissors and joked that she should open her own salon.

But the harsh reality for a woman dubbed a ‘socialite’ – a term she fiercely objects to – has been what she describes as a living hell ever since more than 20 armed FBI agents swooped on her 156-acre, £800,000 New Hampshire home in July 2020.

At 59, the Ghislaine of today is a far cry from the glamorous woman who was once a fixture on the international social scene, where she mingled with world leaders such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and was close friends with royalty, including Prince Andrew. Today, the designer outfits have been replaced by the shapeless overalls of prisoner 02879-509. (Above, Ghislaine with Epstein and Bill Clinton in 1993)

At 59, the Ghislaine of today is a far cry from the glamorous woman who was once a fixture on the international social scene, where she mingled with world leaders such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and was close friends with royalty, including Prince Andrew. Today, the designer outfits have been replaced by the shapeless overalls of prisoner 02879-509. (Above, Ghislaine with Epstein and Bill Clinton in 1993)

Maxwell's trial will also put Prince Andrew's relationship with her, and Epstein, back under the spotlight. The Duke of York's accuser Virginia Roberts, who claims she was sex-trafficked to Andrew three times (the first when she was 17 and under the legal age of consent), has vowed to attend the trial. Andrew has vehemently denied Ms Roberts's claims. His friendship with Ghislaine stretches back decades and he was notoriously photographed with his arm around Ms Roberts's waist inside Maxwell's London mews house (above)

Maxwell’s trial will also put Prince Andrew’s relationship with her, and Epstein, back under the spotlight. The Duke of York’s accuser Virginia Roberts, who claims she was sex-trafficked to Andrew three times (the first when she was 17 and under the legal age of consent), has vowed to attend the trial. Andrew has vehemently denied Ms Roberts’s claims. His friendship with Ghislaine stretches back decades and he was notoriously photographed with his arm around Ms Roberts’s waist inside Maxwell’s London mews house (above)

She has remained in custody ever since, surviving mostly on a diet of rice and beans with unsalted peanuts for protein and mayonnaise for fat.

Her arrest came 11 months after Epstein, her ex-boyfriend and long-time friend, killed himself in jail while facing child sex charges. Until Epstein’s suicide, Maxwell had never faced criminal charges.

Her lawyers are expected to argue she is being punished by proxy for Epstein’s heinous crimes because, as one source close to the case maintains, ‘someone has to pay for what he did’.

Maxwell has told friends: ‘I fear it will be impossible to get a fair trial. I have tremendous fear that overwhelmingly negative media stories will poison my jury pool and affect the outcome of my trial despite the evidence that will demonstrate everything the jurors thought they knew isn’t true.

‘I look forward to finally having my day in court to prove I played no part in Epstein’s crimes.’

She cannot discuss the specifics of her case on the advice of her powerful legal team. Jury selection begins tomorrow, with the trial starting on November 29. The charges are grave. US authorities have described her as a ‘procurer’ of underage girls for convicted paedophile Epstein.

She also faces multiple felony charges, including ‘transporting a minor for the purposes of criminal sexual activity’ and ‘conspiring to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts’.

Maxwell’s trial will also put Prince Andrew’s relationship with her, and Epstein, back under the spotlight.

The Duke of York’s accuser Virginia Roberts, who claims she was sex-trafficked to Andrew three times (the first when she was 17 and under the legal age of consent), has vowed to attend the trial.

Andrew has vehemently denied Ms Roberts’s claims. His friendship with Ghislaine stretches back decades and he was notoriously photographed with his arm around Ms Roberts’s waist inside Maxwell’s London mews house.

One lawyer associated with the case said: ‘This will thrust Andrew back under the spotlight. It is inconceivable his name won’t be introduced by the women who will testify against Maxwell. He must be dreading it.’

Ghislaine, the Oxford-educated daughter of disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, was transferred to the Brooklyn prison in July last year and has been seen by the public only in court sketches since then. In real life, the 20 lb she has lost is obvious. Her cheeks are sunken and her skin pale.

Prince Andrew's accuser Virginia Roberts is expected to attend the trial and may give evidence. She has described Maxwell as 'pure evil', saying: 'Epstein was a sick paedophile but Maxwell was the mastermind.'(She is pictured leaving the US Federal Courthouse in NY in August 2019)

Prince Andrew’s accuser Virginia Roberts is expected to attend the trial and may give evidence. She has described Maxwell as ‘pure evil’, saying: ‘Epstein was a sick paedophile but Maxwell was the mastermind.'(She is pictured leaving the US Federal Courthouse in NY in August 2019)

I first met Ghislaine in 1992 when I interviewed her mother, Robert Maxwell’s widow Betty, following the tycoon’s extraordinary death off the coast of Tenerife – just before it was discovered he plundered his newspapers’ pension funds.

Ghislaine had just relocated to New York and joined her grieving mother at the Plaza Hotel. Ghislaine was pretty. She was smart and articulate. Yet she also seemed vulnerable. She was ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ and clearly grieving deeply.

At the time, she told me she was living in a small studio on Manhattan’s Upper East side ‘given to me by a friend… Jeffrey’.

She was ‘working on certain things to make money. I must make money!’ as she put it.

She went on, of course, to live a glamorous jet-set life, moving between Epstein’s homes: in Florida, his New York mansion (the biggest private home in Manhattan), his private Caribbean island and his ranch in New Mexico. 

She also ended up owning a New York townhouse – which she sold for £12 million – and having a successful career including founding TerraMar, a charity focused on oceans.

I reconnected with Ghislaine three months ago when my friend Susan Zirinsky, the first female president of CBS News, asked me to get involved with a major new documentary, Ghislaine, a four-hour show which will air on ITV in the UK and CBS-Paramount plus at the end of the six-week trial.

With my partner Erbil Gunasti, I’ve interviewed members of Maxwell’s family, including brother Kevin and sister Isabel, have spoken to friends and have obtained exclusive quotes from Ghislaine herself.

She said: ‘In my most recent court appearance, I was in leg irons for more than 12 hours and had to climb up and down stairs with my arms and legs shackled to my waist. My ankles are raw.

‘I’ve been given food so over-nuked it looked like Chernobyl after the nuclear fallout. The salads are wilted with mould, an apple had maggots, they gave me a black soggy banana. There was bread so wet, water came out when you squeezed it.

‘I used to take a shower every day but I’ve stopped because of the creepy guards who stand close and stare at me the whole time.

One lawyer associated with the case said: 'This will thrust Andrew back under the spotlight. It is inconceivable his name won't be introduced by the women who will testify against Maxwell. He must be dreading it'

One lawyer associated with the case said: ‘This will thrust Andrew back under the spotlight. It is inconceivable his name won’t be introduced by the women who will testify against Maxwell. He must be dreading it’

‘I used to go to the loo with an open sewer drain and a friendly rat would regularly visit. I told the guards, but nothing was done until the rat popped out and charged a guard, who screamed in terror. Finally, the sewer drain was covered.’

She claims guards try to intimidate her. On one occasion, she says she was accused of having illegal contraband after she spilled the painkiller Tylenol – prescribed by a prison doctor – on to the floor.

Another time, her reading glasses were broken. She added: ‘I was laughing at some absurd rule and the guard said, ‘There is nothing funny here. I’ll teach you what it’s like to be a prisoner.’ He threatened me with disciplinary action that would have resulted in no contact with my lawyers for a month.

‘I was also threatened with punishment when I used a hair-tie to secure my legal documents.

She’s a monster in designer clothes, says alleged victim

Ghislaine Maxwell faces six charges including enticement of minors and sex trafficking of children, which carry a maximum punishment of 80 years in prison.

From 1994 to 2004, she allegedly ‘facilitated and contributed’ to the abuse of children by her ex-boyfriend, the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. 

The youngest alleged victim was just 14 at the time she claims she was sexually assaulted by Maxwell.

Four women, one British, are listed in the indictment although only American Annie Farmer has waived her anonymity. 

Farmer claims Maxwell posed as a ‘big sister’ figure before molesting her at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch in 1996. She called Maxwell ‘a sexual predator who has never shown any remorse’.

From 1994 to 2004, Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly 'facilitated and contributed' to the abuse of children by her ex-boyfriend, the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein

From 1994 to 2004, Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly ‘facilitated and contributed’ to the abuse of children by her ex-boyfriend, the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew’s accuser Virginia Roberts is expected to attend the trial and may give evidence. She has described Maxwell as ‘pure evil’, saying: ‘Epstein was a sick paedophile but Maxwell was the mastermind.’

Another alleged victim said: ‘We thought she [Maxwell] was Mary Poppins because she acted like she was our friend and had that lovely English accent. 

But she turned out to be a monster in designer clothing. She lured us in. She knew exactly what she was doing. I hope she rots in hell.’

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has vowed to prove her innocence. She claims she is being used as a scapegoat for Epstein, who committed suicide in August 2019.

‘This will be a knock-down fight to the end,’ said one lawyer involved in the case. ‘Ghislaine is determined to prove she did nothing wrong and is prepared to enter the witness box and be cross-examined if necessary.

‘She has maintained her innocence since the start and is determined to prove to the world she didn’t do any of these heinous crimes she has been accused of.’

The trial starts on November 29 and is expected to last six weeks. Jury selection begins tomorrow.

‘I was accused of being untidy, with ‘food and crumbs’ on my bed and told I would be disciplined. I had to prove the ‘food and crumbs’ were stains on the linens.

‘I wash my own clothes. The dryer is so loud it’s nicknamed the ‘Space Shuttle’ because it sounds like it might take off. My mail, both legal and personal, has been tampered with. 

‘Legal mail that was hand-delivered to the jail took a week to get to me, even though the prison rules say it should have been delivered within 24 hours.

‘Most alarming was it had a postage stamp which wasn’t there when it was hand-delivered. The bottom of the envelope had been opened.’

On one occasion, she says, she was frisked in a way she considered overly intrusive: ‘I was given a pat-down so aggressive and violent, my underwear found itself in a place it doesn’t belong. The first underwear they gave me were enormous granny pants. You could have put five of me in them. I’ll spare you descriptions of the stains.

‘When I pick up the phone to make a – perfectly legitimate – call, the guards rush towards me with such speed it leaves them breathless. They report on everything I do – in real time.’

Prison life has forced her to develop a dark sense of humour, and a peculiar relationship with the captors who, she says, so often make her life a misery.

She found it funny when one guard exclaimed: ‘The problem with you, Maxwell, is you’re just not a criminal!’

She gives cooking lessons to the guards, saying: ‘I give a five-day meal plan for $10 [£7.50], but post-pandemic I had to increase it to $15. Guards from out of town ask for tips which include where to get the best pizza, my favourite food carts. They ask me what I’m reading and I share my favourite books.

‘They were impressed when I cut my hair with nail clippers and it was somewhat straight. I only had a 3in by 5in mirror. They rewarded me with paper scissors and suggested I might want to open a salon.

‘I play peek-a-boo, hiding behind pillars and the guards join in. There are always smiles all round.

‘Then I have a ‘monster move’ where I raise my hands and growl and they do it back. We laugh.’

‘Mysterious’ events have led her to create an imaginary cellmate, despite the fact she has been in solitary confinement from the start, with a light being shone into her cell every 15 minutes to ensure she has not self-harmed.

‘Strange things happen. The toilet flushes, the shower turns on when no one is nearby. When it happens, it alarms the guards so I created a ‘cellmate’ called A-17 so when something strange happens I blame it on A-17.’

Her most serious complaint, though, revolves around not being given adequate time to prepare for the six-week trial.

She is facing more than 80 years in jail if convicted on all charges.

Maxwell alleges she was given computers that don’t work, that vital paperwork arrived late and that for a while she did not have a proper desk to work at. 

She says ‘there is no presumption of innocence’ in the detention centre. ‘Pre-trial detainees like me, who by law are innocent until proven guilty, are treated like they are already convicted felons,’ she said. ‘It’s wrong, it’s unAmerican and unconstitutional. Where are all the people who swore to uphold the Constitution?’

Her greatest fear is not being able to find an impartial jury. Coverage of the case in the US remains relentless, with her being referred to as ‘Epstein’s madam’ and ‘Epstein’s socialite partner-in-crime’.

She objects: ‘Being tagged a ‘socialite’ feels derogatory and sexist, designed to paint me in a negative light. I’ve worked my entire life, starting with part-time jobs when I was 15. No man who had a similar professional career would be called a socialite. I’m overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and shock at the grotesque and untrue narratives that are total fabrication and bear no resemblance to reality.

‘I’m terrified the overwhelmingly negative coverage will poison my jury pool and affect the outcome of my trial, despite the evidence which I feel confident will prove my innocence. I look forward to having my day in court to prove I played no part in Epstein’s crimes. I am innocent.’

Ghislaine, a documentary Daphne Barak is making with Fremantle Media, will be broadcast on ITV at the end of the six-week trial. Struggling For One America – Trump V Hollywood, by Daphne Barak and Erbil Gunasti, is published by Skyhorse, priced £17.99.

Maxwell faces a maximum of 80 years in prison if found guilty of abusing and procuring young girls for her ex-boyfriend, convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (Pictured: Maxwell being led to court in an artist's sketch on November 1)

Maxwell faces a maximum of 80 years in prison if found guilty of abusing and procuring young girls for her ex-boyfriend, convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (Pictured: Maxwell being led to court in an artist’s sketch on November 1)

Struggling for One America – Trump v Hollywood, by Daphne Barak and Erbil Gunasti is published by Skyhorse, price $24.99

For more on Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial and courtroom drama, go to www.og2d.com.

(Associated Newspapers accepts no responsibility for the content of third-party websites)

Ghislaine, a documentary, will be broadcast on ITV and CBS-Paramount Plus in collaboration with Freemantle at the end of the six-week trial

Daphne Barak is an author, film and television producer who has secured interviews with an extraordinary roster of world leaders in the past two decades, including Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Fidel Castro and Donald Trump. Plus giants of showbusiness such as Amy Winehouse, Andrea Bocelli, Eric Clapton and many others. Barak’s books include Saving Amy, a first-hand account of the star’s personal and family turmoil before her death, which will soon be turned into a Hollywood movie. Daphne’s account of why she’s agreed to the Winehouse movie will be featured later this month.

www.daphnebarak.com 

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