British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell will be sentenced on Tuesday, June 28 by a New York court after being convicted of helping billionaire sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein abuse teenage girls.
Maxwell, 60, the youngest daughter of infamous media baron Robert Maxwell, was found guilty by a federal jury on December 29 on five charges, including human trafficking, for recruiting and grooming four girls between 1994 and 2004 for sexual encounters with her former boyfriend. Epstein.
The latter committed suicide in Manhattan prison on August 10, 2019, at the age of 66, while he himself awaited trial.
Federal prosecutors issued a sentencing memorandum on Wednesday describing Maxwell’s behavior as “shockingly predatory” and calling for a sentence of 30 to 55 years in prison for her crimes.
“Ghislaine Maxwell has sexually exploited young girls for years. It is difficult to overestimate the magnitude of her crimes and the damage she has caused. Her crimes demand justice,” they wrote in the file.
“The government is urging the court to impose a prison sentence of 360 to 660 months within the applicable guidelines.
Maxwell’s behavior was shockingly predatory. She was a calculating, sophisticated and dangerous criminal who preyed on vulnerable young girls and prepared them for sexual abuse.
“Not only did her behavior show callous disregard for other people, but her practice of attacking vulnerable victims reflects her view that struggling young girls could be treated as disposable objects.”
In a letter to the court on Saturday, Maxwell’s attorney Bobbi Sternheim said she was placed on suicide watch despite not being suicidal.
Ms Sternheim said she was “abruptly removed” from the general prison population and denied access to toothpaste, soap, legal papers and all clothing except a protective “suicide smock”, which prevented her from viewing documents related to her conviction.
The US probation agency has recommended a 20-year prison sentence, but prosecutors say it does not consider the cases of two additional women who have been proven victims during her four-week trial just before Christmas, despite being not mentioned in the first indictment against Maxwell.
In April, Circuit Judge Alison Nathan, who presided over the trial, rejected the defendant’s offer to acquit, but quashed the guilty pleas on two counts because they overlapped, reducing Maxwell’s maximum possible sentence from 65 years to 55 years.
In a statement, Annie Farmer, who testified at the trial and spoke at Epstein’s bail hearing before committing suicide in August 2019 while awaiting a sex-trafficking trial, said Maxwell’s lack of remorse and her repeated lies about victims “a long battle for enforce justice”. that felt like a black hole sucking up our precious time, energy and well-being.”
Mrs Farmer asked to speak at the sentencing. Maxwell’s lawyers have objected to a request from several other Epstein victims unrelated to her trial, including Britain’s Sarah Ransome, to address the court.
On Friday, seven women who say Maxwell helped Epstein rob them of their childhood wrote to court asking Judge Nathan to reflect on their pain during sentencing.
Her lawyers have called on her to serve no more than five and a quarter years in prison, arguing, as they did at her trial, that she is being seen as a scapegoat in the wake of Epstein’s suicide and that she already has a has served a significant part of her sentence. time incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
“It is undoubtedly a shocking and unpleasant experience to go from waiting on all fours to incarceration,” her legal team wrote, seeking sympathy.
Maxwell’s siblings have also made a plea for leniency, pointing to the similarities between her close bond with Epstein and the one she previously shared with her domineering father, who disappeared from the deck of his yacht, the Lady Ghislainein the Canary Islands in November 1991 and was subsequently found drowned.
“Her relationship with Epstein began at a time of extreme vulnerability [in] Ghislaine’s life after our father’s tragic death,” her siblings wrote in a file of their own.
“He, our father, was a powerful and dominant figure. And as older siblings, we witnessed our father take Ghislaine under his wing, making her overly dependent on his approval and vulnerable to his frequent, rapid mood swings, huge tantrums, and rejections. This led to her becoming very vulnerable to abusive and powerful men who could take advantage of her innate good nature.
Remarkably, Ghislaine showed no perverse behavior before meeting Epstein. She also didn’t show any after she left him, which she eventually managed. The effect of our father’s psychologically violent treatment of her foreshadowed Epstein’s own ability to exploit, manipulate, and control her.
“She had a difficult, traumatic childhood with an overbearing, narcissistic and demanding father. It made her vulnerable to Epstein, whom she met shortly after her father’s death. It’s the biggest mistake she’s made in her life and one she didn’t make and will never make again.”
How long Ghislaine Maxwell will ultimately be behind bars will be decided next week by Judge Nathan.
During her December trial, four prosecutors offered emotional and explicit testimony stating that Maxwell was a central figure at the heart of Epstein’s web of vice, in which he abused countless underage girls at his New York mansion, Florida mansion, ranch in New Mexico and on its private island of Little St James in the U.S. Virgin Islands from the early 1990s to the late 2000s.
Additional reporting by agencies