Ghislaine Maxwell has been placed in COVID isolation for 14 days at the Brooklyn jail that has been described as a ‘hell hole’ by the former warden, sources tell DailyMail.com
She was transferred on Monday from a New Hampshire prison so she can face justice in her former playground of New York
The jail is a far cry from the luxurious townhouse where she often resided with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein before his arrest and suicide – or the million-dollar estate in New Hampshire where she had been living since the beginning of the year.
Maxwell will dodge her first public appearance in Manhattan’s Federal Court, after opting instead to appear remotely due to the COVID health crisis and ‘significant safety issues’ related to in-court proceedings, DailyMail.com can reveal
The 58-year-old socialite – who once mixed with celebrities, presidents and royalty at high-class parties – is now bedding in at the Metropolitan Detention Center, once described by a judge as ‘like a third-world country’.
Guards at the jail, which is different to the one where Jeffrey Epstein died last year, have been jailed for raping female prisoners, while the jail also lost power for an entire week during winter last year – leaving inmates locked in freezing, dark cells.
It is unclear exactly how long Maxwell will remain in the jail, which is typically used as a waiting room for those with an upcoming court date.
Maxwell’s legal team – which now includes Christian Everdell, a former New York prosecutor who helped put down El Chapo – are still trying to set a date with a judge.
Ghislaine Maxwell is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, in a 10ft by 12ft cell that contains little other than a bunk bed (pictured) and a toilet
The prison (cell toilet pictured) has been described as one of the most troubled in America by its former warden, and ‘like a third-world country’ by a judge
Maxwell will be held in the jail at least until her first court appearance – potentially a week away – on charges of sex trafficking for her friend Jeffrey Epstein (pictured together)
Initially it was thought she would appear in court on Friday, but that date could now be as soon as Thursday this week or as late as Tuesday next week.
It comes after Maxwell’s lawyers struck a deal with the judge allowing her to appear over video link, rather than in person.
At least until that appearance takes place, and perhaps afterwards, Maxwell will call the MDC home.
A New York judge once said she avoids sending women to the prison because the conditions are similar to ‘some third-world country’.
Meanwhile Cameron Lindsay, a former warden at the MDC, described life in the jail as ‘a crushing experience’, especially for someone who is used to the high life.
‘You go from living a life like Maxwell to all of a sudden being… strip-searched and having people look into your body cavities,’ he said.
One of the biggest questions facing prison bosses will be whether to keep Maxwell in a 10ft by 12ft cell alone, or with another prisoner.
Giving her a cellmate would help prevent suicide, a key issue after Epstein’s death, but will also make her a target.
For other prisoners, injuring Maxwell ‘would be a badge of honor,’ said Lindsay.
Another source told the
Guards at the jail have previously been found guilty of repeatedly raping and beating inmates, while conditions for female prisoners have been condemned as inhumane
The MDC is located in Greenwood Heights, opposite the famous cemetery and just a 15 minute drive from the Brooklyn Bridge
‘They want to make sure she’ll stand trial,’ the source said.
Maxwell’s life with Epstein was one of private jets, Caribbean islands and partying with luminaries including Prince Andrew.
After Epstein’s arrest, she was hiding out on a million-dollar estate in New Hampshire and had access to 15 bank accounts with combined balances that at times topped $20 million.
But at the MDC, she will have just T-shirt and other basic clothing, a thin mattress, pillow and blanket.
She may be allowed to have an approved religious medallion or book, such as the Bible, but that’s it.
Detainees ‘have nothing of their personal property,’ Lindsay said.
Her new location, with a capacity of 1,600 men and women, has had its share of famous residents, including singer R. Kelly, accused of sex abuse, and ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli, a former chief executive convicted of defrauding investors.
But it has had more than its share of problems as well.
In 2001, following the 9/11 attacks on New York, investigators found that guards had been carrying out a campaign of harassment against Muslim prisoners who were slammed face-first into walls and told they would ‘die’.
A probe was also carried out into guards accused of beating two inmates between 2002 and 2006.
Other famous residents have included R Kelly (left) who was locked up there charged with sex abuse, and ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli (right)
In the depths of winter last year the jail lost power for an entire week, leaving inmates locked in freezing cold, pitch-black cells for at least three days (file image)
In 2018, two former lieutenants and a guard were jailed for repeated rapes and sexual assaults on female inmates – who make up about three per cent of inmates.
One woman, a Dominican prisoner in jail on a drugs charge, recalled being raped at least four times over five months while on night cleaning duty.
The most recent crisis to befall the jail came in January last year when, after weeks of malfunctioning, an electrical panel exploded – plunging the jail into darkness and cutting off the heat.
Inmates told the
Because the outage hit the kitchens, guards were forced to make cold food to take to the prisoners in their cells, where they were wrapped in everything they could find in order to keep warm.
With most phonelines and the internet also down, word was slow in getting out – and when it did the initial reaction by officials was to deny the problem.
Only on February 3, a week after the powercut started, was the problem fixed.
Jerry Nadler, who leads the House Judiciary Committee, visited the prison during the blackout and denounced the conditions as well as ‘an absolute lack of urgency or caring by the leadership.’
Maxwell finds herself in the jail accused of luring underage girls so that Epstein could sexually abuse them at lavish mansions in Palm Beach, New Mexico and Manhattan.
Maxwell will be house in the prison until at least her first court date, but potentially until her legal team strikes a plea deal or until she faces trial (file)
In total she is facing six counts – four relating to child sex trafficking, and two of perjury for lying under oath about the trafficking during a previous lawsuit.
If convicted on all charges, she is facing up to 35 years behind bars.
Friends of Maxwell suspect she will try to arrange a plea deal with prosecutors, implicating others in Epstein’s sex ring in order to buy her own freedom.
Maxwell’s former friend told the Dailymail.com: ‘If Ghislaine goes down, she’s going to take the whole damn lot of them with her.
‘Not only did Epstein like to capture himself with underage girls on camera – he wanted to make sure he had something to hold over the rich and powerful men who took advantage of his sick largesse.
‘I’ll bet anything that once it comes out that Ghislaine has those tapes these men will be quaking in their Italian leather boots.
‘Ghislaine made sure that she socked away thumb drives of it all. She knows where all the bodies are buried and she’ll use whatever she had to save her own a**.
Epstein was awaiting trial on federal charges of trafficking minors between 2002 and 2005 when he was found hanging by his neck in a different federal jail in New York City in August. Medical examiners concluded his death was a suicide.