Ghislaine Maxwell says she should only get five years in prison for sex trafficking

Ghislaine Maxwell pictured with Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell pictured with Jeffrey Epstein (Image: Rex)

Lawyers for disgraced socialite Ghislaine Maxwell say she shouldn’t face more than four to five years in prison.

In a court case yesterday, they called for leniency after she was convicted of sex trafficking and decades of helping pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein abuse teenage girls.

Probation officials recommended a 20-year sentence but said her sentencing could last 25 to 30 years.

Britain’s Maxwell is due to be sentenced on June 28, and in preparation her lawyers have been trying to lay the groundwork for why she shouldn’t serve as long in jail.

Her legal representatives told the judge in a Manhattan federal court submission that it was “a travesty of justice for her to face a sentence that would have been fitting for Epstein.”

Epstein, a former partner of Maxwell, took his own life before he could stand trial on sex trafficking charges in New York in 2019.

Maxwell’s attorneys wrote: “Epstein was the mastermind, Epstein was the prime perpetrator, and Epstein orchestrated the crimes for his personal gratification.

A court sketch of Ghislaine Maxwell entering the courtroom at the start of her trial last year

A court sketch of Ghislaine Maxwell entering the courtroom at the start of her trial last year (Image: AP)

“Indeed, Ghislaine Maxwell would never have had the profound unhappiness of meeting Jeffrey Epstein over 30 years ago if she weren’t here.”

Her lawyers argued before the hearing that she was “not an heiress, a scoundrel or a superficial society lady” and did not deserve the “drumbeat of public condemnation that called for her final incarceration.”

They said her life was ruined and that she was already struggling with difficult prison conditions since her arrest on July 2, 2020.

She was recently the target of a credible death threat from a fellow inmate, it said.

The inmate told at least three others that she had been offered money to murder Maxwell and planned to strangle her in her sleep.

Her attorneys added that she nevertheless eagerly helped other female inmates and gave GED tutoring.

They argued that officials miscalculated the guidelines and that a correct calculation would result in no more than four to five years in prison.

Lawyers said Maxwell was placed under suicide watch after the verdict last year and was told by a psychologist that she opposed it, but the professional opinion was overruled by a Washington DC order.

Lawyers said leniency was also deserved because she had a “difficult, traumatic childhood with an overbearing, narcissistic and demanding father” that made her “vulnerable to Epstein.”

Maxwell met Epstein shortly after her father, British newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell, died in suspicious circumstances in 1991 when he fell off a yacht named after her and was accused of illegally looting his companies’ pension funds.

Her relationship with him in the 1990s was “the biggest mistake she has made in her life and one that she has not repeated and will never repeat,” they said of their client.

They added that in the 15 years since her relationship with Epstein ended, she has had two committed, long-term relationships with men who had young children.

They cited an eight-year relationship with a Miami attorney and a 2013 relationship that resulted in a marriage they wrote “could not survive the ill effects of this case and a man’s union with his disgraced wife.” .

The sentencing bill also claimed Maxwell was the only target meant to fill “Epstein’s empty chair” after his suicide.

They said four other women were named as co-conspirators or accomplices during an indictment in Florida over a decade ago, but none of them had been charged.

Prosecutors declined to comment through a spokesman. They will submit their own written arguments before sentencing.

Oxford-educated Maxwell, 60, who has US, British and French citizenship, was convicted in December of recruiting teenage girls to work for Epstein for sexual abuse from 1994 to 2004.

In April, US District Judge Alison J. Nathan upheld the jury’s conviction of Maxwell, saying it was “easily supported” by extensive testimony and documentary evidence in a month-long trial.

Earlier this year, Ms Nathan refused to vacate Maxwell’s conviction because a juror during deliberations told other jurors he had been sexually abused as a child, although he did not disclose this in response to questions about prior sexual abuse in a questionnaire written to prospective students judges awarded.

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Justin Scacco

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