Epstein associate Maxwell gets 20 years for sex trafficking
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The Oxford-educated daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell appeared not to react as New York Judge Alison Nathan handed down the term in a packed Manhattan federal court.
The sentence was much less than prosecutors sought but still means the 60-year-old friend to royalty and former US presidents is likely to spend much of the rest of her life in jail.
Nathan called Maxwell's crimes "heinous and predatory" as she went with the amount of time recommended by the US probation office, rejecting Maxwell's claims that she was pursued by prosecutors only because Epstein escaped trial by killing himself in prison.
The charges stemmed from crimes committed against four women between 1994 and 2004.
Prosecutors successfully proved that she was "the key" to Epstein's scheme of enticing young girls to give him massages, during which he would sexually abuse them.
"I believe that Jeffrey Epstein was a manipulative, cunning and controlling man who lived a profoundly compartmentalized life and fooled all of those in his orbit," she said.
Prosecutors had called for Maxwell to receive between 30 and 55 years in jail, saying she "was an adult who made her own choices."
In a statement, Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the 20-year term "holds Ghislaine Maxwell accountable for perpetrating heinous crimes against children," he said.
Annie Farmer, the only victim not to testify under a pseudonym, welcomed the sentence as proof that "it is never too late for the truth to come out and never too late for there to be accountability."
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Maxwell has already been held in detention for some two years following her arrest in New Hampshire in the summer of 2020, meaning she will likely be released in her late 70s, possibly earlier for good behavior.
"Ghislaine must die in prison," accuser Sarah Ransome told reporters outside court before Maxwell's fate was delivered.
Her sentencing completes a dramatic fall for the former international jetsetter who grew up in wealth and privilege as a friend to royalty.
Maxwell's lawyers asked Nathan to show leniency and sentence their client to no more than five years.
They said she had suffered "a difficult, traumatic childhood with an overbearing, narcissistic, and demanding father."
"It made her vulnerable to Epstein, whom she met right after her father's death," they wrote in submissions this month, adding that Maxwell "cannot and should not bear all the punishment for which Epstein should have been held responsible."
Maxwell's lead attorney Bobbi Sternheim told reporters that she would appeal the sentence.
In April, Nathan rejected a request by Maxwell for a new trial.