What’s Ghislane Maxwell going through at the moment?  That’s what most people are wondering.  It’s a terrifying proposition to be in her shoes.  Yes, what’s she’s accused of is horrible, so we have little sympathy.  But the curiosity, it’s like stopping at a train wreck, we simply can’t help ourselves.  We’ve just got to know.  Well, sadly enough, I know more about all this than I’d like.  I was an Ivy League educated attorney who found myself in the exact same position – captured and staring at the abyss –  so, I’m uniquely situated to explain exactly what she’s going through.

At this point her mind is completely overwhelmed, like mush, not all that much different than an animal caught in a trap.  Looking at a potential LIFE sentence has a way of doing that.  I know it did for me.  In fact, she’s spending every single moment in anguish at not having flown to France and taken safety there.  It’s too late to do anything about that now, but she’s crying herself to sleep every night with that exact thought in mind.

When first brought in she was processed, her finger prints taken, a DNA swab from inside her cheek and the removal of all her clothing.  She had to strip naked in front of an officer and expose every single, well, you get it, very dehumanizing.  But necessary, I suppose.  I know many people to have smuggled in stuff in their “prison suitcase” as those body parts are facetiously called.  She’ll be fully cuffed whenever moved around the Federal Detention Center and shackled at the ankles and waist when moved to court in a small vehicle commonly referred to as a dog catcher van because that’s exactly what it looks like.  Long metal seats, barely wide enough to sit, without seatbelts, so you slide and flop with every turn and pothole.  There are bars on the widnows, assuming there are windows.  Not every van does.

As for her accommodations, she’s in a stark 60-80 square foot cell with a rusted metal bed-frame, either sharing it with one other or by herself.  They can’t put her in general population and risk something happening to her.  There’s a metallic toilet without a seat, and probably a small fountain in the back for water needs.  Small portions of awful food are brought three times a day and she is supposed to be allowed into a recreation area, the size of a large cage an hour a day, on weekdays, in which she wanders aimlessly in circles like a gerbil.  Sometimes it’s cancelled at the last minute and I imagine some days she has no interest.  Showers are only three days a week.  She’ll have a chance to buy a radio and a few limited commissary items, and make a 15 minute phone call once a week.  Books can be sent in to her but I doubt she has any attention span for them – the fear and anxiety make every moment excruciating.  It’s like living in constant terror. 

At some point, I’m sure she’ll also be in suicide watch.  There, they take your prison clothes and throw you into a room chilled down to the temperature of an industrial meat locker giving you an outfit made out of some bomb-blast like material affectionately called a Turtle Suit.  I spent an entire week shivering like that, ensuring that I’d never admit to being suicidal again.  Suicidal.  That’s what you feel like every day.  After all, what do you have to live for?  What kind of existence lies ahead when you’re looking at Life behind bars?

She’ll have regular legal visits in a small, cramped room with her high-powered attorneys, which I’m sure have taken on the case solely because it’s high profile.  Her bank accounts have likely been frozen so they can’t expect their regular rate which would otherwise easily run into the millions.  They’re in it for the promotional value, making it easier to get future million dollar pay days.  From there, they’ll be discussing her various options, none of which are good.  If she goes to trial, she will inevitably lose.  The evidence against her seems pretty powerful but even if it wasn’t the game is so stacked in the government’s favor, she doesn’t stand a chance. 

That leaves her with a Plea Agreement, which requires full cooperation.  My guess, is the best she can hope for is doing 10 years or so, if she’s prepared to provide information on and testify against others the government is keen on indicting.  Here’s where things get tough.  The politics of this, given who she can probably testify against make this whole thing a wild card.  PLUS, she has no access to files or any information she may have hidden away for just such a horrible occasion.  The thing is, given the magnitude of this case, she can’t even trust here own attorneys.  There will be people willing to pay millions in order to squash whatever evidence she has and their reach is unending.

In the meanwhile, FBI agents and US Attorneys are posturing, trying to terrify everyone.  It began with fighting bond.  Stuck inside, the monotony and fear of everyday is festering like a wound inside Ghislane.  The distractions of the attorney visits at least help her not to think.  However, when she’s alone in her cell, the haunting silence, and anxiety is like living perpetually in a vise.  Behind the scenes, attorneys for the rich and powerful are now on high alert.  Trying not to make their palpable fear too obvious, but pulling every political and other kind of connection they can, in order not to be implicated.  Much of this will depend on the proof.  What does Ghislane have hidden and where?  Is it enough to bring down a Prince, a past or current president?  I’m only surmising here based on the rumors in the Twittershpere, but it seems like there are dozens of people in all out panic.

So Ghislane, has an adventure ahead of her.  A miserable adventure of pure torture, living inside her own head.  I’ll provide updates on more of what she can expect as the process develops.