A New York judge sentenced Ghislaine Maxwell to 20 years in prison after she was convicted for her role for years in helping lure and groom underage girls for the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein would abuse them.
Judge Alison Nathan announced the judgment Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan. Prosecutors had sought a minimum 30-year sentence for the 60-year-old Maxwell, calling her conduct “shockingly predatory” in a recent court filing and accusing her of treating vulnerable girls as “disposable objects.”
Maxwell’s lawyers, by contrast, had asked for a term “well below” the 20 years that sentencing officials had recommended, bolstering an argument from her trial that she was being made a scapegoat for the actions. of Epstein.
Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years in prison for sex trafficking
Shortly before sentencing was announced, Maxwell, shackled at the ankles, took to the podium and read a statement to a courtroom audience that included several of his victims. Some of the women had testified against Maxwell, while others had not previously been heard.
One woman, Elizabeth Stein, told the court she had been “trafficked countless times” after she was approached by Maxwell at the Henri Bendel department store where she worked in New York.
She said she was later forced to drop out of school and endured two dozen hospitalizations for mental breakdowns. Another, identified as Kate, demanded that she and other victims receive full justice.
She told the court that Maxwell “doesn’t think what he did was wrong. she’s not sorry. She would do it again.” Speaking before her sentence was announced, Maxwell expressed regret but did not appear to take responsibility.
“I am sorry for the pain you have experienced. I hope that my conviction, coupled with my harsh and unusual incarceration, will bring it to a close,” he said, adding, “I know that my association with Epstein and this case will forever and permanently taint me.”
Ghislaine Maxwell and her role in the Jeffrey Epstein case
In sentencing, Judge Nathan described Maxwell as “instrumental in the abuse of several underage girls.” The judge noted that Maxwell had acknowledged the suffering of the victims in his statement. But, he added: “What was not expressed was the acceptance of responsibility.”
Maxwell’s behavior during the legal proceedings, the judge said, “was consistent with a pattern of shifting blame.”
Maxwell, a socialite who associated with US presidents and British royalty, was found guilty by a New York jury in late December on five of the six criminal charges against her, including sex trafficking.
During a three-week trial, prosecutors described her as having worked “hand-in-hand” with Epstein for years to find teenage girls and groom them for sexual abuse, often at his Palm Beach mansion or on a private Caribbean island.
He had done so, prosecutors argued, to afford a life of luxury after the death of his father, British baron and publication swindler, Robert Maxwell.
As we report in AmericanPost.Newsthe trial featured testimony from four women who described being drawn by Maxwell into Epstein’s orbit as teenagers and facing difficult family situations.
It became a watershed moment in the #MeToo era, showing in lurid detail how the rich and powerful can abuse young girls with apparent impunity.
Federal agents began collecting evidence against Epstein, a financier, in 2005 after reports by several girls of sexualized “massages” they were paid to provide at his Palm Beach mansion.
However, he reached a lenient plea deal with state charges in 2008, allowing him to serve much of a 13-month jail sentence from his private office.
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What happened to Jeffrey Epstein?
A bombshell report in the Miami Herald prompted federal prosecutors to review the case against Jeffrey Epstein. He was arrested in 2019 as he disembarked from his private plane at Teterboro airport in New Jersey and was charged in Manhattan federal court with child sex trafficking. Weeks later, he was found hanged in his cell.
In addition to the conviction of Maxwell, a long-time fixture on Manhattan’s wealthy social scene, the case has also brought embarrassment to many others who were associated with Epstein, including Britain’s Prince Andrew and Jes Staley, the former CEO of Barclays.
On the eve of Tuesday’s sentencing, her lawyers threatened to push for a postponement, complaining that their client was unable to prepare adequately because she had been placed on suicide watch, against her will, and forced into solitary confinement. .
“Today’s sentencing holds Ghislaine Maxwell accountable for perpetrating heinous crimes against children,” Damian Williams, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice.”
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