Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's accomplice, sentenced to 20 years in prison
Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of enabling young girls to Jeffrey Epstein, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 28.
The New York Times writes that the sentence means Maxwell could spend the rest of her life in prison, it was less severe than the 30 years the prosecutors originally were pushing.
Maxwell's legal team, The Guardian writes, requested that the sentence be “well below” the 20 years that the probation department advised.
The New York Times reports that the defense implied that the Justice Department had thrown the book at her as a way to appease the outrage from Jeffrey Epstein's untimely death in prison while facing trial in August 2019.
Another strategy the lawyers used was painting Ghislaine Maxwell as susceptible to men like Epstein, due to her childhood under a demanding and overbearing father, disgraced media magnate Robert Maxwell.
Shortly before the sentencing, two of Jeffrey Epstein's victims made statements in court. “Maxwell had many opportunities to come clean, but instead, continued to make choices that caused more harm,” declared Annie Farmer, who was 16 when she was abused by the British socialite and the New York financier.
Maxwell herself spoke in court, which The New York Times points out is her first public remark since her arrest in 2020. “It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein”, Ms. Maxwell said. “Jeffrey Epstein should have been here before all of you”.
“Instead of showing even a hint of acceptance of responsibility, the defendant makes a desperate attempt to cast blame wherever else she can”, The US attorney of the Southern District of New York declared in a statement, cited by The Washington Post.
Pictured: New York District Attorney Damian Williams.
Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on December 29. After deliberating for five days, the twelve-person jury made up of six men, and six women came to a consensus. Maxwell was found guilty of committing five of the six offenses for which she was on trial.
The partner in crime of the late Jeffrey Epstein could have spent the rest of her life locked up. Maxwell will be 80 by the time she has served her full sentence.
If given the maximum sentence for all of her offenses, including trafficking of an underage person, Maxwell could have been sentenced to up to 65 years behind bars.
After attending a month-long trial in New York, the jury reached their verdict. The trial featured disturbing testimony from four different women who bravely described the abuse they endured at Maxwell and Epstein's hands from 1994 to 2004.
News outlets reported that Maxwell showed no emotion as the verdict was read. Naturally, Ghislaine's legal team is already working on the appeal, lawyer Bobbi Sterngeim (pictured) told reporters, “We firmly believe in Ghislaine's innocence”.
US Attorney Damian Williams released a statement regarding the jury's guilty verdict, saying, “The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done. I want to commend the bravery of the girls —now grown women— who stepped out of the shadows and into the courtroom. Their courage and willingness to face their abuser made this case, and today's result, possible”.
Photo: CBC News
As for the women who testified against Maxwell, Annie Farmer told the media, “I am so relieved and grateful that the jury recognized [her] pattern of predatory behavior”.
On July 2, 2020, the FBI detained Ghislaine Maxwell after months in hiding. The daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell, how did Ghislaine Maxwell's life cross paths with Epstein?
Ghislaine Maxwell was born in 1961, the youngest child of British publisher Robert Maxwell, owner of The Daily Mirror, and French scholar Elisabeth Meynard. She grew up in Headington Hill Hall, a 53-room manor near Oxford.
Ghislaine was reportedly Robert Maxwell's favorite child. It is certain that her father backed her ventures with money and contacts, and quickly became a fixture in the 1980s London social life. However, tragedy and controversy soon defined her life.
Robert Maxwell was found dead in November 1991 after falling from his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, near the Canary Islands. His media empire had been in decline due to accusations of embezzlement and defaulting loans. The Maxwells' life of wealth and luxury came to an end.
Ghislaine Maxwell maintained that she did not believe her father had taken his own life. “That was just not consistent with his character”, she said in The Observer. “I think he was murdered”. Two of her brothers involved with her father's business were arrested and charged with fraud, but later acquitted.
Ghislaine Maxwell met New York stockbroker Jeffrey Epstein sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. He had the money, she had the connections, and they both loved sailing. Soon they began a relationship that would last for decades.
The exact nature of the relationship between Maxwell and Epstein remains an object of speculation and inquiry. Some referred to the British socialite as 'Epstein's main girlfriend.'
Here's the couple at a party in the Palm Beach estate of Mar-a-Lago in 1995.
A 2003 profile by Vanity Fair, long before any formal accusations, has Epstein calling Maxwell merely “his best friend”. The piece also describes Maxwell organizing much of Epstein's life, including procuring young women for his parties. These parties were attended by the likes of Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of York.
What is true is that Ghislaine remained Epstein's most high-profile companion for several years. Here are the two of them at a party in Mar-a-Lago in February 2000 with their hosts: future US president Donald Trump and his then-girlfriend Melania Knauss.
Maxwell and Epstein's friendly relationships with important figures have been the source of many reports on the socialite's life. Here's Ghislaine Maxwell with Andrew, Duke of York, during an event in 2000.
The beginning of the end for Epstein (and Maxwell) happened in 2008, when the New York financier was sentenced to 18 months in prison for procuring a minor for prostitution. His lawyers managed to negotiate a deal and soften the blow, but more accusations didn't take long to materialize.
With eyes now set on Epstein and his circle, Maxwell began to distance herself from her former partner and employer. The New York Times reported on her attempt to reinvent herself as an ocean wildlife activist.
In 2012, Maxwell founded The TerraMar Project, a nonprofit organization focused on the oceans. She hosted receptions for the cause in her New York City home, with guests like the Buddhist leader Gyalwang Drukpa, Robert Kennedy Jr., and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Ultimately, her past with Jeffrey Epstein caught up with Ghislaine Maxwell. In the past years, new accusations arose that she had recruited and groomed girls for the New York financier.
Annie Farmer (pictured here in July 2019) accused Maxwell and Epstein of assaulting her on several occasions in 1996, when she was only 15. She's one of many who claim Maxwell was deeply involved in Epstein's crimes.
As a result, Maxwell retreated from public life. The TerraMar Project quickly and quietly shut down after Epstein was convicted for trafficking in 2019. She was detained by the FBI on July 2020.
Ghislaine Maxwell, who grew up in a 50-room manor, will now most likely spend the rest of her life in a tiny cell in prison.