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Ghislaine Maxwell appears in photo with bruise under her eye

Lawyers for former Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell on Thursday provided a photo of their client from jail with a bruise under her eye, which they argued likely resulted from continuous overnight flashlight surveillance. 

Defense attorney Bobbi C. Sternheim argued in a letter to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that Maxwell’s bruise “may be related to the need for Ms. Maxwell to shield her eyes from the lights projected into her cell throughout the night.” 

According to ABC News, Sternheim said that Maxwell was unaware of the bruise until she "caught a reflection of her aching eye" in a nail clipper. 

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The attorney argued that the Metropolitan Detention Center questioned Maxwell about the bruise, "threatening to place her in the [Special Housing Unit] if she did not reveal how she got it.” 

In response, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan asked prosecutors in an order later Thursday to explain the use of flashlight checks, which Maxwell’s defense team argues is disturbing her sleep and limiting her ability to prepare for trial. 

The trial for Maxwell, who has pleaded not guilty to charges related to her alleged assistance in Epstein’s sex trafficking of minors, is scheduled for a July 12 start date. 

"Is Ms. Maxwell being subjected to flashlight surveillance every 15 minutes at night? Or any other atypical flashlight surveillance?" Nathan asked in the order Thursday, ABC noted. "If so, what is the basis for doing so?"

Maxwell’s lawyers have repeatedly sought to get Maxwell released from jail ahead of her trial, though an appellate court on Tuesday turned down the 59-year-old’s appeal of three previous orders denying bail. 

Last month, Maxwell was denied bail for a third time after prosecutors argued she continued to pose an “extreme flight risk.”

Maxwell appeared before a New York judge in person for the first time last week, where she entered a not guilty plea for a recently added charge of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, as well as an additional sex trafficking charge. 

The close confidant and onetime girlfriend of Epstein, who killed himself in jail while awaiting trial in August 2019, now faces a total of eight counts in connection with allegedly aiding him in his sex trafficking scheme.