Former socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been handed down Tuesday a 20-year prison sentence by a New York Court for helping her ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein, sexually abuse underage girls.
The Court found that Maxwell, who has been placed on suicide watch, had normalized sexual abuse and her behavior was heinous and predatory, because Epstein could not have molested hundreds of girls for more than 10 years without Maxwell's help, according to the prosecution.
Maxwell is not being punished in Epstein's place or as Epstein's representative, said U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan, who also imposed a US$750,000 fine on the defendant.
Epstein committed suicide in his prison cell in 2019.
The rule of law requires, and this court agrees, that whether you are rich, powerful, or completely unknown, no one is above the law, the magistrate also found.
Prosecutors had requested 30 to 55 years in prison, while Maxwell's defense asked for a lenient sentence of only 5 years. The judge added that a very significant sentence is necessary, Maxwell had participated directly and repeatedly over many years in a horrific scheme to lure, transport, and traffic minors.
Maxwell denied abusing victims and said she hoped her conviction would bring some measure of peace and finality. She further maintained that the biggest regret of my life having known Jeffrey Epstein and called him a manipulative, cunning and controlling man who lived a deeply compartmentalized life.
Epstein and Maxwell set up a scheme to recruit dozens of young girls, from vulnerable socio-cultural environments, for the sexual satisfaction of the financier, in exchange for money, between 1994 and 2004.
The daughter of former British press magnate Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 in mysterious circumstances when he fell off his yacht off the Canary Islands (Spain), is currently 60 years old. She was born in France and has British, French, and US American nationality.
Two of the complainants testified that they were 14 years old when Maxwell began approaching them, gaining their trust before proposing that they massage Epstein and have sex with him.
Maxwell's name came under the spotlight in 1991 when her father - who for six years was a member of the British Parliament - fell off his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, in what appeared to be an accident for the self-made Jewish businessman of Czechoslovakian origin, whose family perished in the Nazi extermination camps.
Ghislaine Maxwell's circle of friends included the Duke of York, and former US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, among others.