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Ghislaine Maxwell has been sentenced to two decades behind bars for her role in longtime friend Jeffrey Epstein's years-long pattern of sexually abusing teenage girls.
Maxwell, 60, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday in a Manhattan federal courtroom, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
“From at least 1994, up to and including in or about 2004, [Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and participated in Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to [Maxwell] and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” the press release states. “The victims were as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused.”
A jury convicted Maxwell, 60, of five counts related to child sexual abuse and trafficking in December. Throughout the trial, prosecutors told jurors that the disgraced British socialite recruited and groomed teen girls as part of Jeffrey Epstein’s pyramid of sexual abuse. Epstein, 66, died in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges stemming from allegations made by dozens of victims.
The sentence was less than what federal prosecutors were hoping for. Earlier this month, they asked Judge Alison J. Nathan in a sentencing memorandum to give Maxwell between 30 and 55 years. As the New York Times reports, Maxwell could very well be released by her late 70s.
“Today’s sentence holds Ghislaine Maxwell accountable for perpetrating heinous crimes against children,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated on Tuesday. “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.”
Four survivors testified against Maxwell in court during her trial, including Annie Farmer. She stated under oath that Maxwell and Epstein sexually abused her when she was 16. Prosecutors said that Maxwell and “Epstein identified vulnerable girls, typically from single-mother households and difficult financial circumstances” to groom and sexually abuse.
Maxwell stood stoically while she was sentenced, according to the New York Times. Her lawyers had previously asked Nathan to throw out her conviction, claiming that she'd been denied a fair and impartial jury.
Maxwell’s defense asked that while behind bars, she be enrolled in a treatment program to address her own personal trauma, according to the New York Times.
The former socialite, once accustomed to a life of luxury, was also ordered on Tuesday to pay a $750,000 fine, according to the press release. It’s the maximum under the law. Nathan noted that Maxwell had received a $10 million bequest from Epstein and has the means to pay the fine, though Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim denied that claim.
For more on the case, watch Peacock’s “Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell.”
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