if the case against Ghislaine Maxwell draws to a close, its lawyers have adopted the thrust of the discussions that preceded it.
“The media coverage has been brutal and extensive,” the British socialite’s lawyers wrote in a sentencing memorandum on Wednesday. “Dozens of broadcast documentaries, dozens of streamed videos and podcasts, and publication of some 50 books and thousands of superficially written articles.”
In December, a federal jury convicted Maxwell for facilitating the sexual abuse of minors by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein. New York’s Southern District Probation Office has demanded a 20-year prison sentence; on Wednesday, Maxwell’s counsel asked for four to five years. Prosecutors will file their own sentencing memorandum next week, and Maxwell will be sentenced June 28 by a federal judge in Manhattan.
The publisher’s plea for leniency was in addition to some of the arguments its lawyers had put forward during the trial. Over three weeks of proceedings in November and December, Maxwell’s team pushed to differentiate her from Epstein, with her lead attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, went so far in her opening remarks as to portray Maxwell as the Eve of Epstein’s Adam—a woman blamed for a man’s crimes.
“If Ghislaine Maxwell had never had the profound misfortune of meeting Jeffrey Epstein more than 30 years ago,” her attorneys wrote Wednesday, “she wouldn’t be here.” They pointed to the public desire to hold Epstein to account after the notoriously friendly plea deal offered to him in Florida in 2008: “Epstein was undercharged and punished, Epstein never faced his accusers, and his accusers were denied justice.” .”
In the eyes of Maxwell’s lawyers, that dynamic has also led to the terms of her treatment at a federal prison in Brooklyn, where she has been held without bail for nearly the entire period since she was arrested in New Hampshire in July 2020.
Authorities ruled that Epstein’s August 2019 death at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan was a suicide. “In the face of strong media and public uproar following Epstein’s death,” Maxwell’s attorneys wrote, “the administration was faced with an urgency to appease the renewed distress of Epstein’s prosecutors and preserve the tarnished reputation of the [Department of Justice] and [Bureau of Prisons] in whose custody Epstein died.”
Maxwell “has already endured difficult times while incarcerated under conditions far harsher and more punitive than those of a typical remand inmate, and she is preparing to spend significantly more time behind bars,” they continued. “Her life has been destroyed.”
In a new story about Maxwell’s detention, her lawyers claimed that a female inmate in her Metropolitan Detention Center housing unit told at least three other inmates that she had been offered money to kill Maxwell and that she intended to strangle her in her sleep. “This incident reflects the cruel reality that there are countless inmates who would not hesitate to kill Ms. Maxwell,” the memo said, “whether for money, fame or a simple street cred.” the MDC and other federal prisons did not immediately send a request for comment on the new allegation.
Maxwell’s attorneys also introduced some biographical notes that played a big part in her wider public narrative, but remained largely absent from the legal process. They reported a partial biography to add to any biographies they claim shaped the story around the daughter of Robert Maxwell, the publishing magnate who died under still-disputed circumstances in 1991 and was later revealed to be part of the pensions of its employees. to fund one of his fraudulent schemes.