Ghislaine Maxwell to be sentenced in Epstein sex abuse case

Maxwell’s sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

NEW YORK — Ghislaine Maxwell, the jet-set celebrity who once socialized with royals, presidents and billionaires, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday for helping wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually assault underage girls.

The 11 a.m. New York morning conviction culminates in an indictment that detailed how the power couple flaunted their wealth and celebrity connections to lure and then exploit vulnerable girls as young as 14.

Prosecutors said Epstein, who killed himself while awaiting trial in 2019, had sexually abused children hundreds of times over more than a decade and could not do it without the help of Maxwell, his longtime companion and former girlfriend.

“Maxwell’s behavior was frighteningly predatory. She was a calculating, sophisticated and dangerous criminal who exploited vulnerable young girls and primed them for sexual abuse,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.

In December, a jury convicted Maxwell of sex trafficking, transporting a minor to participate in illegal sexual activity and two counts of conspiracy. Prosecutors say she deserves 30 to 55 years in prison.

Maxwell, 60, has denied molesting anyone. Her attorneys have asked US District Judge Alison J. Nathan for a sentence of no more than five years in prison.

“Witnesses at the trial testified about Ms. Maxwell’s complicity in Epstein’s abuse, but Epstein was always the central figure: Epstein was the mastermind, Epstein was the prime perpetrator, and Epstein orchestrated the crimes for his personal gratification,” they wrote in the court filing .

Epstein and Maxwell’s connections to some of the world’s most famous figures weren’t a prominent part of the process, but mentions of friends like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Britain’s Prince Andrew showed how the pair used their connections to impress their prey.

Over the past 17 years, dozens of women have accused Epstein of molesting them. Many described Maxwell as a woman they recruited to give massages to Epstein.

However, the trial revolved around allegations by just a handful of those women.

Four testified that they were molested as teenagers in the 1990s and early 2000s at Epstein’s mansions in Florida, New York, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands.

Three were identified in court using only their first names or pseudonyms to protect their privacy: Jane, a television actress; Kate, an ex-model from the UK; and Carolyn, now a mother recovering from drug addiction. The fourth was Annie Farmer, who identified herself in court by her real name after speaking out publicly.

They described how Maxwell charmed them with talk and gifts, promising that Epstein could use his wealth and connections to fulfill their dreams.

Then, they testified, she tricked them into giving Epstein massages, which turned sexual, and played it off as normal.

Carolyn testified that she was one of several underprivileged teenagers living near Epstein’s Florida home in the early 2000s and accepted an offer to have him buried in one of prosecutors in exchange for $100 bills as a “pyramid.” of Abuse” labeled massage.

Maxwell took every precaution, Carolyn told the jury, despite knowing the girl was only 14 at the time.

The allegations against Epstein first surfaced publicly in 2005. He pleaded guilty to sexual charges in Florida and served 13 months in prison, much of it in a layoff program as part of a deal criticized as lenient. After that, he had to register as a sex offender.

In the years that followed, many women sued Epstein for alleged abuse. One, Virginia Giuffre, claimed that Epstein and Maxwell also pushed her into sexual rendezvous with other powerful men, including Prince Andrew. All of these men denied the allegations, and Giuffre eventually settled a lawsuit against Andrew out of court.

Federal prosecutors in New York have reopened the case against Epstein after reports from the Miami Herald drew renewed attention to his crimes in 2018. He was arrested in 2019 but killed himself a month later.

Eleven months after his death, Maxwell was arrested at a New Hampshire estate. The US, British and French national has since been held in a federal prison in New York City as her lawyers repeatedly criticize her treatment, saying she was wrongly even placed under suicide watch days before sentencing. Prosecutors say claims about the prison were exaggerated and that Maxwell was treated better than other prisoners.

Her attorneys also fought to have her conviction overturned for jury misconduct.

Days after the verdict, a juror gave media interviews in which he revealed that he had been sexually abused as a child – something he did not tell the court during jury selection. Maxwell’s attorneys said she deserved a new trial. A judge disagreed.

At least eight women have presented letters to the judge describing the sexual abuse they allegedly suffered for meeting Maxwell and Epstein. Four of them plan to make oral statements at the sentencing hearing, including two women – Annie Farmer and Kate – who testified at the trial.

In letters to the judge, six of Maxwell’s seven surviving siblings pleaded for leniency.

Anne Holve and Philip Maxwell, her eldest siblings, wrote that their relationship with Epstein began shortly after the death of their father, British newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell, in 1991.

They said Robert Maxwell subjected their daughter to “frequent rapid mood swings, big outbursts of anger and rejection.”

“This left her very vulnerable to abusive and powerful men who could take advantage of her innate good nature,” they wrote.

Prosecutors called Maxwell’s blaming Epstein “absurd and offensive.”

“Maxwell was an adult who made her own decisions,” they wrote to the court. “She has chosen to sexually exploit numerous underage girls. She made the decision to conspire with Epstein for years, working as an accomplice and wreaking havoc on vulnerable victims. She should be held accountable for her disturbing role in a sweeping child exploitation program.” Ghislaine Maxwell to be sentenced in Epstein sex abuse case

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