Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of late financier Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in the United States on July 2, 2020, by FBI officers investigating his sex crimes. — AFP file pic
Thursday, 23 Jun 2022 11:57 AM MYT
NEW YORK, June 23 — Ghislaine Maxwell should be sentenced to between 30 and 55 years in prison after being convicted of helping the sex offender and globetrotting financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls, US prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Maxwell, 60, was convicted in December by a federal jury on five charges, including sex trafficking, for recruiting and grooming four girls between 1994 and 2004 for sexual encounters with Epstein, then her boyfriend.
In a sentencing memorandum filed in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors called Maxwell’s conduct “shockingly predatory.”
“Her practice of targeting vulnerable victims reflects her view that struggling young girls could be treated like disposable objects,” they wrote.
Circuit Judge Alison Nathan, who presided over Maxwell’s four-week trial before being promoted, will sentence the British socialite on June 28.
Lawyers for Maxwell argued last week that she deserved less than the 20-year sentence recommended by probation officers, and no more than 5-1/4 years in prison based on their review of federal sentencing guidelines.
They argued Maxwell, the daughter of late British media magnate Robert Maxwell, was being scapegoated for Epstein’s crimes and had already spent significant time behind bars.
Prosecutors said Maxwell’s reports of poor confinement conditions at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center were no reason for a lighter sentence.
“Going from being waited on hand and foot to incarceration is undoubtedly a shocking and unpleasant experience,” they wrote.
Epstein killed himself in 2019 at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell’s trial was widely seen as the reckoning Epstein never had.
It was one of the highest-profile cases in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged women to speak out about sexual abuse, often at the hands of wealthy and powerful people.
In often emotional and explicit testimony, four women testified that Maxwell was a central figure in Epstein’s years of abuse.
The US Probation Office had recommended a 20-year sentence for Maxwell.
But prosecutors said that did not take into account the cases of two additional women proven at trial to be victims, despite not being named in the initial indictment of Maxwell, and said 30 years should be the minimum, based on their interpretation of the US sentencing guidelines.
In April, Nathan rejected Maxwell’s bid for an acquittal, but set aside guilty verdicts on two counts because they overlapped. That reduced Maxwell’s maximum possible sentence to 55 years from 65 years. — Reuters