Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced Tuesday by a New York judge to 20 years in prison for helping the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse the girls.
The term, handed down in Manhattan federal court, means the 60-year-old former socialite will spend most of the rest of her life in prison.
The Oxford-educated daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell was convicted late last year on five of six counts, the most serious of the sex trafficking of minors.
Her lawyers cited a traumatic childhood and claimed that Maxwell was being unfairly punished because Epstein had escaped trial.
He had sought a maximum of five years while prosecutors had demanded between 30 and 55 years in prison.
In the end, Judge Alison Nathan went with 20, the amount of time recommended by the US Probation Office.
During Maxwell’s high-profile trial in late 2021, prosecutors successfully proved that he was the “key” to Epstein’s plan to woo young girls into masseuses, during which he would sexually abuse them.
Two of Epstein’s victims, identified as “Jane” and “Caroline”, testified that they were 14 when Maxwell began grooming them.
Maxwell’s lawyers said his client had “a difficult, painful childhood with a domineering, narcissistic and demanding father.”
“It made her vulnerable to Epstein, whom she met right after her father’s death,” he wrote in a submission filed earlier this month.
Money manager Epstein killed himself in prison in 2019 at the age of 66 while awaiting trial for his own sex crimes in New York.
“Ms Maxwell cannot and should not bear all the punishments for which Epstein should have been held responsible,” her lawyers requested.
-‘catastrophic loss’ –
But prosecutors filed in their own court last week that Maxwell was “an adult who made his own choices.”
He argued that he had shown a “complete lack of remorse” for his crimes committed between 1994 and 2004.
“Today’s sentence holds Ghislaine Maxwell responsible for heinous crimes against children,” said US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams.
“This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice,” he said.
Maxwell has already been held in custody for some two years following his arrest in New Hampshire in the summer of 2020.
“Ghislain must die in prison,” Sarah Ransom, who accused Maxwell and Epstein, told reporters outside the courtroom.
Maxwell’s conviction is a dramatic fall for the former international jetsetter, who grew up in wealth and privilege as a friend of royalty.
His circle included Britain’s Prince Andrew, former US President and real estate baron Donald Trump, and the Clinton family.
In February, Prince Andrew settled a sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre, who said she was trafficked for the royal by Epstein and Maxwell.
In April, Nathan declined Maxwell’s request for a new test.
She unsuccessfully argued that a jury member, who claimed to have helped convince fellow panelists to convict Maxwell by recalling her own experiences as a sexual abuse victim, had sided with the jury.
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