Ghislaine Maxwell, favorite daughter of British press magnate Robert Maxwell, ultra-socialite and jet-set figure, was very close to the powerful before being arrested in the summer of 2020 and sentenced Tuesday in New York to 20 years jail for sex trafficking of minors.
Aged 60, incarcerated since 2020, this former figure of the international jet-set and daughter of British press magnate Robert Maxwell was fixed during the day on the prison sentence decided by judge Alison Nathan of the Manhattan federal court. .
Between 15 and 55 years in prison
Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers had filed a request for clemency in mid-June for a sentence of less than 20 years in prison. Even though the legal texts and case law provide for up to 55 years of imprisonment and the prosecutors had said they were counting on at least 30 years for his “responsibility” and his “total lack of remorse” for his sexual crimes.
Last attempt on Saturday to escape her fate: Ms Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, asked Judge Nathan for a postponement of the sentencing because her client had been placed “under surveillance” in prison due to a risk of “suicide”.
“Without justification”, according to the defense
The lawyers had also invoked, in vain, the responsibility and the harmful influence of Robert Maxwell – an “authoritarian” father who died in 1991 when he mysteriously fell from his yacht – and of Jeffrey Epstein, a multimillionaire financier who committed suicide in prison in New York in August 2019 before his trial for sex crimes against minors.
Ghislaine Maxwell, who is British, American and French, was found guilty on December 29 by the Manhattan court, in particular of sex trafficking of underage girls. Some victims were as young as 14 in the 1990s and 2000s.
Her trial had portrayed her as a “sophisticated predator” who knowingly acted to lure and seduce young girls and deliver them to Epstein at his residences in Florida, Manhattan, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands. “Jane”, “Kate”, “Carolyn” and Annie Farmer, 42, the only one to speak without a pseudonym, had revealed to the audience their lives damaged by forced sex with Epstein – first massages sex– when they were between 14 and 17 years old, often in the presence of Maxwell.
“The mistake of his life”
Born and raised in a hyper-privileged environment in the United Kingdom, Ghislaine Maxwell again assured this month via her lawyers that she “had a difficult, traumatic childhood” and made “the most serious mistake of her life” by meeting Epstein. Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein were in a relationship in the early 1990s before becoming professional collaborators and accomplices in their sex crimes for nearly 30 years.
The financier, with powerful economic and political networks in the United States and abroad, was himself accused of raping young girls but his suicide extinguished the public action against him. Arrested in New Hampshire (northeastern United States) in July 2020, Maxwell has since been imprisoned in New York.
In a separate part of this file with international ramifications, the British prince Andrew, friend of the Maxwell-Epstein pair, sealed an amicable agreement on February 15 – for 13 million dollars according to the Daily Telegraph – with the American Virginia Giuffre, herself the alleged victim of the couple, who accused her of having sexually assaulted her in 2001 when she was a minor.
The British royal family has thus avoided a civil trial in New York as resounding as it is embarrassing.