Ghislaine Maxwell has been sentenced to 20 years in jail and given a $750,000 fine for helping convicted pedophile Jeffery Epstein to sexually abuse underage girls.
Maxwell, who lured the young girls to massage rooms for Epstein to abuse, was dressed in prisoner’s clothing as she listened to her sentencing hearing on Tuesday after entering the courtroom with shackles around her feet.
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The 60-year-old former socialite daughter of British media mogul Robert Maxwell, looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as a judge in the Southern District of New York passed sentence in front of a packed public gallery.
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ITV reports: Her accusers came face to face with her on Tuesday as several women read victim impact statements to the court – describing her as a “manipulative, cruel and merciless person.”
Minutes ahead of her sentencing, Maxwell apologised to the victims of her abuses and said she hopes her prison time will allow them “peace and finality.”
Speaking outside court, Annie Farmer, a victim who had testified during the trial, described her apology as “hollow.”
Oxford-raised Maxwell, who was labelled “dangerous” by the prosecution during her three-week trial last year, helped entice vulnerable teenagers to the disgraced financier’s various properties for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.
Sentencing Ghislaine Maxwell to 20 years in prison, Judge Alison Nathan told the court she “repeatedly, and over the course of many years participated in a horrific scheme to traffic young girls, some the age of 14.”
Judge Nathan said it was important that although “Epstein was central to this scheme” she was not being sentenced “as a proxy” for him.
She said: “The defendant’s conduct… was heinous and predatory.
“Ms Maxwell worked with Epstein to select young victims who were vulnerable and played a pivotal role in facilitating sexual abuse.”
Her victims were forced to live through the “painful, horrific and lasting impact of that trauma”, the judge added.
Victims of Maxwell told the court in the Southern District of New York of her “relentless and insatiable drive to meet the sexual needs of Epstein” and their “retraumatisation” over having to give evidence during the trial.
The socialite was convicted in December last year of sex trafficking minors, conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
She was also found guilty of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.
Maxwell’s defence lawyers sought a delay to sentencing proceedings through a motion filed on Saturday, in which they said she had been placed on “suicide watch” and was “not permitted to possess and review legal documents.”
Her attorneys had also previously moved for a retrial after it emerged one of the jurors in her trial had failed to disclose he was a victim of sexual abuse, but her conviction was upheld.