Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Ghislaine Maxwell is expected to face at least 30 years in prison for sex trafficking when she is sentenced next week for her role in facilitating the abuse of teenage girls by Jeffrey Epstein, federal prosecutors in New York have said in court. documents filed in court.
“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 said in a court filing on Wednesday. “The government urges the court to impose a sentence within the applicable guidelines range of 360 to 660 months imprisonment.”
The filing of the charge comes a week after Maxwell’s lawyers argued she should receive “well under” the 20-year sentence recommended by those responsible for the conviction. Although Maxwell’s defense attorneys and prosecutors each make their case for an appropriate sentence, the decision ultimately rests with Alison Nathan, the judge.
“Maxwell’s conduct was scandalously predatory,” prosecutors said, arguing for a lengthy sentence. “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.”
Maxwell was sentenced Dec. 29 for her role in convicted financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of girls, some as young as 14, whom she brought into his orbit. She will be sentenced on June 28. She claims her innocence.
Epstein was apprehended by federal authorities in July 2019, for sex trafficking. He committed suicide in a federal prison in New York while his case was pending.
In their application for clemency, Maxwell’s lawyers argued that her conditions of detention were harsh, alleging that “an inmate in Ms. Maxwell’s unit had threatened to kill her, saying an additional 20 years incarceration would be worth the money she would receive for the murder of Mrs Maxwell”.
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They also argued that an emotionally abusive childhood – at the hands of an emotionally explosive father, publishing baron Robert Maxwell – groomed her for Epstein’s influence. Robert Maxwell was killed in a boating accident shortly after his daughter moved to New York in 1991 to start a magazine for his publishing empire.
“His relationship with Epstein began at a time of extreme vulnerability. [in] Ghislaine’s life after the tragic death of our father. He, our father, was a powerful and commanding figure,” several of his siblings claimed in the sentencing documents.
“And as older siblings, we watched as our father took Ghislaine under his wing, so that she became too dependent on his approval and vulnerable to his frequent and rapid mood swings, huge rages and to its rejections,” they said. “This caused her to become very vulnerable to violent and powerful men who might take advantage of her innate good nature.”
“It is striking that Ghislaine did not show any evil behavior before meeting Epstein. Nor did she show any after leaving him, which she eventually managed to do,” they claimed. The effect of our father’s psychologically abusive treatment of her foreshadowed Epstein’s own ability to exploit, manipulate and control her.”
“She had a difficult, traumatic childhood with an overbearing, narcissistic and demanding father. This left her vulnerable to Epstein, whom she met shortly after her father’s death,” Maxwell’s attorneys said. It’s the biggest mistake she’s made in her life and one she hasn’t and will never repeat.”
Prosecutors criticized this argument, saying Maxwell’s upbringing did not warrant a lesser sentence.
“Although many defendants appear in sentencing courts with compelling mitigating factors due to a difficult upbringing, Maxwell is not one of them. She enjoyed a remarkable privileged life, having lived in luxury and moved in social circles among celebrities and the powerful,” they wrote.
“And while the defendant may have had a slightly less positive experience than other exceptionally wealthy kids, it’s hard to see how a stern conversation at the family dinner table is an excuse to attend a program. child exploitation.”
Elsewhere in the document, prosecutors also insisted that Maxwell was not passive in his role of facilitating Epstein’s abusive behavior, saying that “the defendant acted as the organizer and leader of a massive operation that lasted for many years”.
“Acting as the hostess and as Epstein’s right-hand man, the defendant was responsible for overseeing and organizing extensive logistics involved in facilitating the sexual abuse of multiple minors and ensuring a culture of silence that prevented this scheme from being uncovered,” they wrote. “Epstein and the defendant were two knowledgeable participants who took it upon themselves to identify, incite and groom underage girls for abuse.”