Ghislaine Maxwell is set to be sentenced Tuesday morning in her New York sex trafficking case, about six months after a jury found the British socialite guilty of luring teenage girls into Jeffrey Epstein’s orbit to abuse them .
Maxwell, 60, faces up to 55 years in prison.
Some of Maxwell’s victims are expected to give statements during his sentencing. Maxwell claims his innocence.
Epstein, a convicted sex offender who once counted Britain’s Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton among his circle of wealthy and influential associates, was arrested by federal officials in July 2019, on charges of sex trafficking. He committed suicide in a federal prison in New York, while awaiting trial.
Maxwell’s attorneys have pleaded for leniency in sentencing, saying she should receive a “much less” sentence than the 20 years recommended by federal probation authorities. They made Maxwell a scapegoat for Epstein’s crimes – who could not be prosecuted due to his death – and a victim of childhood neglect.
“Ms Maxwell cannot and should not bear all the penalties for which Epstein should have been held responsible. Ms Maxwell has already had a hard time while in detention in far more onerous and punitive conditions than those experienced by a typical remand prisoner, and she is preparing to spend much more time behind bars,” they argued. . “His life was ruined.
“Ms Maxwell is not a dangerous criminal or a repeat offender. She is someone who wants nothing more than to live a normal family life – something that has been denied to her because of her association with Epstein and that ‘She almost certainly never will,’ they claimed. ‘The public need not be shielded from Ms Maxwell and such considerations should carry no weight in determining her sentence.
“She had a difficult and traumatic childhood with an overbearing, narcissistic and demanding father,” they also said. “It made her vulnerable to Epstein, whom she met right after her father’s death. It was the biggest mistake she made in her life and a mistake she didn’t make and that she will never repeat.
In their sentencing papers on Wednesday, prosecutors condemned the clemency efforts.
“Ghislaine Maxwell sexually exploited young girls for years. It is difficult to overstate the scale of her crimes and the harm she caused. His crimes demand justice,” they argued. “The government urges the court to impose a sentence within the applicable guidelines range of 360 to 660 months imprisonment.”
“Maxwell’s conduct was scandalously predatory,” prosecutors said. “She was a calculating, sophisticated and dangerous criminal who preyed on vulnerable young girls and set them up for sexual abuse.
“Not only did his conduct demonstrate a callous disregard for other human beings, but his practice of targeting vulnerable victims reflects his view that troubled young girls could be treated like disposable objects.”
They also said: “The defendant acted as the organizer and leader of a massive operation which lasted for many years.”
While probation authorities and lawyers on both sides make sentencing recommendations, the decision will ultimately rest with Judge Alison Nathan.