After reportedly describing her association with Jeffrey Epstein as her “greatest regret,” Ghislaine Maxwell received a 20-year sentence on Tuesday for sex trafficking minors for the late pedophile’s abuse.
“Today’s sentence holds Ghislaine Maxwell accountable for perpetrating heinous crimes against children,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damien Williams wrote in a statement. “This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice. We again express our gratitude to Epstein and Maxwell’s victims for their courage in coming forward, in testifying at trial, and in sharing their stories as part of today’s sentencing.”
U.S. Circuit Judge Alison Nathan, who received a promotion to the Second Circuit after presiding over Maxwell’s trial, also imposed a $750,000 fine, the maximum penalty available under the law, according to The New York Times. In issuing that fine, the judge reportedly noted that Maxwell received a $10 million bequest from Epstein.
Late last year, a federal jury convicted Maxwell of sex trafficking and grooming minors for Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse. Prosecutors calculated the federal sentencing guidelines between 30 and 55 years imprisonment, seeking a term within that range. Maxwell’s lawyers asked for a sentence below probation authorities’ recommendation of 20 years.
Maxwell turned 60 years old last Christmas.
Even before her trial, Maxwell’s attorneys argued that their client served as a stand-in for a now-deceased Epstein, who died in jail before he could be prosecuted.
Judge Nathan reportedly pushed back at that defense argument, calling Maxwell’s crimes “heinous and predatory” in their own right.
“It is important to emphasize that although Epstein was central to this criminal scheme, Ms. Maxwell is not being punished in place of Epstein or as a proxy for Epstein,” Nathan said, according to the Times.
She complained about her pre-trial confinement inside Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, where guards put her on suicide watch shortly before her sentencing. Maxwell’s attorneys say she is not suicidal.
Four women, who were as young as 14 years old at the time of their abuse, testified at Maxwell’s trial. Three of them — “Jane,” “Kate,” and Carolyn — used pseudonyms or their first name. Annie Farmer was the only victim to testify under her true and full name. Others who did not testify, like Virginia Roberts, delivered scorching victim impact statements.
“Ghislaine, twenty-two years ago, in the summer of 2000, you spotted me at the Mar-a-Lago Hotel in Florida, and you made a choice,” Giuffre wrote in a letter released on Friday. “You chose to follow me and procure me for Jeffrey Epstein. Just hours later, you and he abused me together for the first time. Together, you damaged me physically, mentally, sexually, and emotionally. Together, you did unthinkable things that still have a corrosive impact on me to this day.”
Judge Nathan allowed Giuffre to deliver an abbreviated version of her prepared remarks on Tuesday, which was reportedly read by her attorney through her firm Boies Schiller.
“Kate,” a British model and actress who testified under a pseudonym, also delivered a statement.
Prosecutors have argued that Maxwell has shown no remorse. Before the trial, Maxwell painted herself as the victim of a media-fueled rush to judgment and claimed that the Department of Justice wanted her as a scapegoat for bungling the Epstein case. She claimed that the Bureau of Prisons held her in brutal conditions, including around-the-clock surveillance, and she asserted that she was a target for assassination behind bars.
Maxwell’s statement on Tuesday also contained no apology, except for the “pain” the victims experienced and for her association with Epstein, according to news reports.
This is a developing story.
(Photo via DOJ)
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