Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for assisting Jeffrey Epstein in trafficking

Jenny Bowtie
Ghislaine Maxwell

Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in jail on Tuesday for assisting sex offenders and globetrotting tycoon Jeffrey Epstein in sexually abusing underage girls in a “horrific plan” that caused “incalculable” suffering to victims.

Between 1994 and 2004, the British socialite, 60, was convicted on five counts, including sex trafficking a juvenile, for recruiting and grooming four females to have sexual relations with Epstein, then her lover.

Maxwell described Epstein as a “manipulative, clever, and dominating man” who duped everyone in his orbit during her sentencing hearing in Manhattan federal court before learning the punishment. She expressed “sad” for the anguish his victims endured.

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“It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein,” Maxwell added.

Maxwell’s month-long trial in late 2021 was generally seen as the reckoning Epstein, who committed suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 at the age of 66 while awaiting his own sex trafficking prosecution, never had.

It was one of the most high-profile instances in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, which pushed women to come up about sexual assault at the hands of wealthy and powerful men.

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Maxwell did not appear to exhibit regret or take responsibility, according to U.S. Circuit Judge Alison Nathan, who imposed the punishment.

“Maxwell directly and repeatedly and over the course of many years participated in a horrific scheme to entice, transport and traffic underage girls, some as young as 14, for sexual abuse by and with Jeffrey Epstein,” Nathan said, “The damage done to these young girls was incalculable.”

Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, said Maxwell will appeal, noting that the public scrutiny of the matter before the trial “left little space for her to be treated properly.”

“We all know that the person who should have been sentenced today escaped accountability, avoided his victims, avoided absorbing their pain and receiving the punishment he truly deserved,” Sternheim  responded to the reporters.

Maxwell’s lawyers had requested that she serve no more than 5-1/4 years in prison, alleging that she was being used as a scapegoat for Epstein’s misdeeds. Prosecutors had proposed a sentence of 30 to 55 years in jail for Maxwell last week, but on Tuesday said the 20-year sentence would hold her accountable for “heinous acts against children.”

“This punishment sends a clear message that no one is above the law and that it is never too late for justice,” said Damian Williams, Manhattan’s chief federal prosecutor, in a statement.

Nathan mantained that Maxwell’s statements showed a “pattern of deflection of blame.”

“Although Epstein was of course central to this criminal scheme, Ms. Maxwell is not being punished in place of Epstein or as a proxy for Epstein,” Nathan added. “Ms. Maxwell was instrumental in the abuse of several underage girls.”

During the trial, Annie Farmer, a woman known as “Kate,” and two other women testified that Maxwell, who was found guilty on five counts, was a major participant in Epstein’s abuse of them.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Farmer, who is now a psychologist, stated that her experience being abused by Maxwell “resulted in tremendous guilt,” leaving her feeling like she wanted to “disappear.”

Kate expressed her pride in being able to assist in holding Maxwell accountable.

“Today, I can look at Ghislaine and tell her that I became what I am today in spite of her and her efforts to make me feel powerless and insignificant, and I will cast that empowerment on my daughter,” Kate told the media.

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