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Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell has been handed 20 years in federal prison. Maxwell was found guilty of helping Epstein sexually exploit underage girls.
Guilty by Association
The British socialite was sentenced this past Tuesday after being convicted in December of last year. The trial took place in a New York courthouse full of journalists and spectators. Judge Alison J. Nathan described her actions as “facilitating a horrific scheme that spanned continents and years.” The government painted Maxwell as a professional in grooming young girls for abuse. However, her lawyers felt that she was being forced to answer for Epstein’s crimes.
The defense argued that the government was trying to appease the public after Epstein’s death by making his closest associate the scapegoat. They also tried to discredit the accounts of the many accusers who presented themselves to the court. Maxwell’s defense blamed her “narcissistic” father and Epstein who was “controlling, demanding, manipulative” for negatively affecting her life. She spoke publicly for the first time since her July 2020 arrest, expressing sympathy for the victims but did not give an apology.
It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein. He should have been here before all of you.
The trial took a month to find her guilty of sex trafficking and other counts. The decision has brought some needed justice to the victims’ families since Epstein did not stick around to answer for his crimes.
Peeking Behind the Curtain of the Rich and Wealthy
Maxwell’s trial revealed a lot about the deep underbelly of the world’s wealthy to the public. People were able to see how wealth and status could be used to support and hide horrible activities. Epstein’s connections and wealth helped to bolster his social clout, even as he was evading abuse accusations. He made a deal in 2008 to plead guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in order to save himself from more trouble in Florida. Then a convicted sex offender, he continued to socialize with popular figures at his many mansions and estates all over the world. He maintained relationships with politicians like Bill Clinton and billionaires like Leon Black and Leslie Wexner.
Epstein even entertained a royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York. He too is under investigation for similar crimes against minors. One woman accused Andrew, Epstein, and Maxwell of forcing her to have sexual intercourse when she was a minor in Maxwell’s home. Maxwell’s role was to entice girls with access to a fast lifesyle only seen on TV. These trusted adults trapped these girls and sucked them into harmful situations that would scar them forever.
What Happens Now
Judge Nathan gave a shorter sentence than the 30 years that federal prosecutors were looking for. Maxwell at 60 years old could end her prison term at 70 with good behavior. That takes into account the 2 years she already has spent in jail.
Written by Chiagozie Onyewuchi
Edited by Sheena Robertson
The New York Times: Ghislaine Maxwell Receives 20 Years for Aiding Epstein in Sex Trafficking; by Benjamin Weiser, Rebecca Davis O’Brien, and Colin Moynihan
Southern District of New York: Ghislaine Maxwell Charged In Manhattan Federal Court For Conspiring With Jeffrey Epstein To Sexually Abuse Minors; press release
Insider: Ghislaine Maxwell said moments before being sentenced that her ‘greatest regret’ was meeting Jeffrey Epstein; by Jake Epstein, Ashley Collman, and Jacob Shamsian