legal limbo | 

Ghislaine Maxwell faces meatloaf and mash in cell for Christmas as jury seek more time

Ghislaine Maxwel. Photo: Rick Bajornas via AP

Ghislaine Maxwel. Photo: Rick Bajornas via AP

Josie EnsorTelegraph Media Group Limited

Ghislaine Maxwell will mark her Christmas Day birthday in a New York prison cell with meatloaf and mashed potatoes after the jury in her sex trafficking trial asked for more time to reach its verdict.

She will spend her 60th birthday in legal limbo as jurors will not resume deliberations until Monday.

The English socialite has denied six counts of recruiting and transporting under-age girls on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein, her former boyfriend and convicted sex offender.

The federal Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, where she has been held since her arrest in July last year, has been described by a judge as a “hellhole” and “like a Third World country”.

But the prison’s Christmas Day menu includes beef meatloaf, gravy, mashed potatoes, tuna, potato chips, “whole fresh fruit” and vegetable juice. The jail does not appear to allow weekend visits, which will mean Ms Maxwell will spend the holiday alone.

According to a former guard, prisoners are traditionally given Christmas gifts of socks and peanuts.

Ms Maxwell’s lawyers have complained about the conditions in her 10 feet by 12 feet cell, where they say she is deprived of food and must contend with rats running in through the sewers.

Her older brother, Ian, believes her incarceration in virtual solitary confinement while having a flashlight regularly shone into her cell at night had “weakened” her “physical and mental state” and made it difficult for her to give evidence in her own defence.

A former guard said it was “one of the most troubled” federal facilities in the prison system, with a “unique history of staff misconduct”.

In 2018, three prison officers were convicted of sexual abuse of female inmates.

Ms Maxwell was seen warmly hugging her legal team before being escorted out of the Thurgood Marshall courthouse on Wednesday.

The jury of six men and six women have now deliberated for 16 hours and 20 minutes.

They were given the option to continue discussions yesterday but declined as some had already made holiday plans after originally being told the court would not sit so close to Christmas.

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