Tuesday June 28, 2022

Ghislaine Maxwell’s sentencing hearing scheduled to take place on 28 June after she was found guilty of sex trafficking in connection to her relationship with the disgraced financier and convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide in a Manhattan jail in August 2019.

Attorneys for the British socialite have told the judge that Maxwell should be sent to prison for no more than four to five years for her part in Epstein’s sexual abuse of teenage girls over the course of a decade, according to ABC News.

In a filing to a Manhattan federal court, Maxwell’s legal team said she was deserving of leniency, arguing that it was “a travesty of justice for her to face a sentence that would have been appropriate for Epstein”.

At the time of his death, Epstein was facing a federal sex trafficking trial.

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“Epstein was the mastermind, Epstein was the principal abuser, and Epstein orchestrated the crimes for his personal gratification,” the attorneys added. “Indeed, had Ghislaine Maxwell never had the profound misfortune of meeting Jeffrey Epstein over 30 years ago, she would not be here.”

The legal team wrote that Maxwell “is not an heiress, villain, or vapid socialite”, adding that she hasn’t deserved the “drumbeat of public condemnation calling for her to be locked away for good”.

The prosecutors have argued that she should be sentenced to at least 30 years in prison.

Maxwell’s attorneys have said that her life has been destroyed and that she has been suffering difficult conditions in jail since her arrest on 2 July 2020. They argued her detention should earn her a lesser sentence.

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Probation officials recommended that Maxwell be sent to prison for 20 years, but added that her conviction could mean a sentence of between 25 and 30 years.

Maxwell’s attorneys have argued that probation officials made an inaccurate estimation using the sentencing guidelines, saying that an accurate calculation would lead to half a decade in prison or less, ABC reported.

(US District Court)

The attorneys wrote that Maxwell now stays in the prison’s general population section where she has been the target of a death threat from another female inmate.

The inmate is said to have told at least three others that she had been offered payment to kill Maxwell, saying that she was planning to strangle her in her sleep.

The lawyers wrote that Maxwell has still helped others in the prison, including by serving as a GED tutor.

Letters from six siblings of Maxwell were included in the lawyers’ filing.

The attorneys wrote that Maxwell was put on suicide watch after her conviction and added that she was worthy of leniency because she of her “difficult, traumatic childhood with an overbearing, narcissistic, and demanding father” which supposedly made her “vulnerable to Epstein”.

British newspaper baron Robert Maxwell died in 1991 under conditions deemed suspicious as he fell off his yacht that was named after his daughter Ghislaine. At the time, he was facing allegations that he illegally stole from his businesses’ pension funds. Ghislaine Maxwell met Epstein shortly after her father’s passing.

<img src="https://static.independent.co.uk/2022/04/04/14/344276.jpeg?quality=75&width=982&height=726&auto=webp" srcset="https://static.independent.co.uk/2022/04/04/14/344276.jpeg?quality=75&width=320&auto=webp&crop=2048:1536,smart 320w, https://static.independent.co.uk/2022/04/04/14/344276.jpeg?quality=75&width=640&auto=webp&crop=2048:1536,smart 640w" alt="

Robert Maxwell and his daughter Ghislaine in 1990

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Robert Maxwell and his daughter Ghislaine in 1990

(Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

“It is the biggest mistake she made in her life and one that she has not and never will repeat,” the attorneys wrote in the filing. Maxwell was Epstein’s girlfriend during a period in the 1990s.

The attorneys wrote that Maxwell has, in the decade and a half after the end of her relationship with Epstein, had committed relationships with two men with young children.

They mentioned a relationship with a lawyer from Miami that supposedly lasted for eight years and a 2013 relationship that resulted in a marriage. They said the marriage “could not survive the negative impact of this case nor a husband’s association with his dishonored wife”.

The lawyers argued that Maxwell was the only person targeted by prosecutors to fill “Epstein’s empty chair” following his suicide. The legal team said four other women were identified as co-conspirators or as Epstein’s accomplices when he was prosecuted in Florida more than a decade ago, but charges were not filed against them.

Prosecutors argued in their own court filing on Wednesday that Maxwell deserves at least three decades in prison.

They described her conduct while helping Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls as “shockingly predatory”.

In a sentencing note filed in a Manhattan federal court, prosecutors condemned Maxwell’s conduct and said her “practice of targeting vulnerable victims reflects her view that struggling young girls could be treated like disposable objects”.

“Instead of showing even a hint of acceptance of responsibility, the defendant makes a desperate attempt to cast blame wherever else she can,” the prosecutors said in the memo, NBC reported.

Her attempts to “cast aspersions on the government for prosecuting her, and her claim that she is being held responsible for Epstein’s crimes, are both absurd and offensive,” they added.

The prosecutors have rejected demands of a lighter sentence for the socialite and said that her reports of poor confinement conditions at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Centre were not a fit reason.

“Going from being waited on hand and foot to incarceration is undoubtedly a shocking and unpleasant experience,” the prosecutors wrote.

Maxwell, 60, holds US, British and French citizenship. She was convicted last December of recruiting teenage girls that Epstein sexually abused between 1994 and 2004.

US District Judge Alison Nathan upheld the jury’s conviction in April, saying that it was “readily supported” by witness testimony and evidence.

The judge also declined to toss out the conviction earlier this year when a juror revealed to other jurors that he had been the victim of sexual abuse when he was a child despite having not said so in a pre-trial written questionnaire provided to possible jurors.

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