NEW YORK – British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell should serve at least 30 years in prison for her role in the sexual abuse of teenage girls over a 10-year period at the hands of her former boyfriend, financier Jeffrey Epstein, prosecutors said in written arguments on Wednesday.
Prosecutors said she should serve between 30 and 55 years in prison, reflecting federal guidelines for sentencing. They made their recommendations to the judge, who will preside over a hearing on the verdict in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday.
It was 60-year-old Maxwell sentenced December of sex trafficking and other crimes after a month-long trial in which four women testified they were molested as teenagers.
Defense attorneys said in a criminal complaint last week that she should not serve more than five years in prison and should not pay for Epstein’s crimes because he was the mastermind and prime perpetrator and “staged the crimes for his personal gratification.” his own life in prison in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial in Manhattan.
However, prosecutors said Maxwell had an “instrumental role in the.” horrific sexual abuse by several young teenage girls” between 1994 and 2004 at some of Epstein’s palatial residences. They called their crimes “monstrous.”
“As part of a disturbing arrangement with Jeffrey Epstein, Maxwell identified, nurtured and abused multiple victims while enjoying lives of extraordinary luxury and privilege. In her wake, Maxwell left her victims permanently scarred by emotional and psychological trauma,” prosecutors wrote.
“This damage can never be undone, but it can be taken into account in devising a just punishment for Maxwell’s crimes,” they added.
Prosecutors also asked the judge to deny Maxwell’s pleas for leniency on the grounds that she suffered exceptionally in prison while awaiting trial and afterwards. Defense attorneys said she faced death threats and harsh conditions that caused her to lose hair and weight.
Maxwell’s court appearance proved those claims false, prosecutors said, adding, “The defendant is perfectly healthy and has a full head of hair.”
They said Maxwell “has enjoyed remarkable privileges as a high-profile inmate that far exceed the benefits afforded to the average inmate. It is not surprising that a woman who has lived a life of incredible luxury should complain about her life as a prisoner, but that fact does not deserve any leniency in sentencing, let alone the extraordinary degree of leniency the defendant seeks.
Prosecutors also attacked claims by Maxwell’s attorneys that she received “a credible death threat” while in prison, saying an internal investigation into the alleged threat found an inmate remarked to someone in passing to the effect: “I would kill her if someone paid me a million dollars.” As a result, they said, someone who overheard the remark reported it and moved the inmate out of the unit.
They also cited what they described as Maxwell’s “complete failure to address her criminal behavior and her total lack of remorse.” Rather than accept even a shred of responsibility, the defendant makes a desperate attempt to assign blame wherever she can.”
Maxwell’s efforts to slander the government’s motives for her prosecution and her claim that she is held responsible for Epstein’s crimes are “absurd and offensive,” prosecutors said.
“Maxwell was an adult who made her own decisions. She made the decision to sexually exploit numerous underage girls. She made the decision to conspire with Epstein for years, to work as an accomplice and wreak havoc on vulnerable victims,” they said.
Prosecutors said nearly all of the $22.5 million in assets Maxwell claimed in a bail proposal that was never granted was given to her by Epstein.
“The defendant’s access to wealth enabled her to present herself as an allegedly respectable member of society who rubbed shoulders with royalty, presidents and celebrities. That same wealth blinded the girls from struggling families who became the accused and Epstein’s victims,” prosecutors said.
The sentencing bill also included quotes from letters written to the judge by women who testified at the trial, including Kate, an ex-model from Britain, who said: “The consequences of what Ghislaine Maxwell did were far-reaching for me.”
“I struggled with substance use disorder and eventually beat it. I’ve suffered from panic attacks and night terrors, which I’m still struggling with. I have suffered from low self esteem and loss of career opportunities. I’ve struggled a lot with feeling like I can’t trust my own instincts when choosing romantic relationships,” she wrote.
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