Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged former madam of the late billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, finally learned her fate on Tuesday when she was sentenced to twenty years in prison.
The Hill reported that Maxwell was given this sentence for allegedly helping Epstein to groom and sexually abuse various young girls for at least a decade between the 1990s and the 2000s. The 60 year-old former British socialite will also need to pay a $750,000 fine.
U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan said today that “a very significant sentence is necessary” and that she wanted to send an “unmistakable message” that crimes such as these will be punished severely. Prosecutors had been pushing for a 30 to 55 year prison sentence, while Maxwell’s lawyers had asked for her to serve just five years behind bars.
Wearing a blue prison jumpsuit, Maxwell was given a chance to speak at her sentencing, calling it the “greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein.” She went on to call him “a manipulative, cunning and controlling man who lived a profoundly compartmentalized life,” portraying him as the mastermind of his crimes.
Maxwell, who maintains her innocence and says she never abused anyone, added that she hopes that her “unusual incarceration” will bring some “measure of peace and finality.” Entertainment Tonight reported that she never took the stand during her trial, saying she felt there was “no reason” to defend herself before the court because “the government [had] not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Maxwell sad silently as Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe claimed that she subjected young girls to “horrifying nightmares” by taking them to Epstein.
“They were partners in crime together and they molested these kids together,” she said, portraying Maxwell as “a person who was indifferent to the suffering of other human beings.”
At least eight female alleged Epstein victims submitted impact statements detailing the sexual abuse they claim to have endured at the hands of Maxwell and Epstein. Meanwhile, six of Maxwell’s seven living siblings submitted letters asking the judge for leniency. Her two oldest siblings said that she met Epstein soon after the 1991 death of their father Robert Maxwell, who they say subjected her to “frequent rapid mood swings, huge rages and rejections.”
“This led her to becoming very vulnerable to abusive and powerful men who would be able to take advantage of her innate good nature,” they wrote.
Prosecutors described Maxwell trying to shift all of the blame to Epstein as being “absurd and offensive.”
Epstein was known to have ties to such powerful figures as Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, so many feel that Maxwell should not be the only person to serve prison time for these crimes. It remains to be seen if any other big names will be joining Maxwell behind bars.
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