Ghislaine Maxwell is sleep deprived and things are so torturous for her behind bars she's suffered a black eye ... so claims her attorney in a letter and photo she filed in court.
Maxwell's attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, filed docs attaching a picture showing what Jeffrey Epstein's associate is looking like these days while locked up at NYC's Metropolitan Detention Center.
It's clear she's suffered a bruise under her eye, but how she got it is a mystery. Her lawyer's filing included a letter to the judge stating Maxwell only noticed the bruise after catching her reflection on a nail clipper. She doesn't have a mirror.
Sternheim says Maxwell -- who's accused of trafficking underage girls to have sex with Epstein -- doesn't know how she got the bruise. It appears prison officials aren't buying that, because Sternheim claims officials threatened to put Maxwell in a Special Housing Unit unless she spilled the beans on how she got the bruise.
But, Sternheim says if Maxwell's ever placed in SHU "it would be ironic" because "it would signal that Ms. Maxwell needs protection from the very staff so intent on protecting her, since she has no contact with anyone but staff."
BTW ... there's one theory on how Maxwell got the bruise. Sternheim said, "There is concern that the bruise may be related to the need for Ms. Maxwell to shield her eyes [using a sock or towel] from the lights projected into her cell throughout the night."
Sternheim's concerned about Maxwell's sleep disruption every 15 minutes to check on her breathing ... to which the attorney also objects, saying it's a "myth" that "Maxwell's conditions of confinement are related to her being a suicide risk."
Maxwell's attorney wants prison officials to ax the 15-minute light surveillance because they say sleep deprivation is having an adverse effect on her "health, well-being, and ability to prepare for and withstand trial."