Ghislaine Maxwell should serve at least 30 years in prison for her 'monstrous' crimes, prosecutors say
The 60-year-old was convicted in December of recruiting teenage girls for US financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to 2004.
Thursday 23 June 2022 09:54, UK
Ghislaine Maxwell should serve at least 30 years in prison for her role in the sexual abuse of teenage girls, US prosecutors have said ahead of a sentencing hearing.
In new court filings, the British socialite's conduct was described as "shockingly predatory" - and her crimes were branded "monstrous".
Maxwell was convicted in December of recruiting teenage girls for US financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to 2004 - and a judge is due to sentence the 60-year-old next Tuesday.
Her lawyers have previously argued she should serve no more than four or five years in prison, and claim she has faced onerous and punitive jail conditions since her arrest in July 2020.
Those representing Maxwell allege she has received death threats while behind bars, with the harsh environment causing her to lose hair and weight.
But giving their recommendations to the judge, prosecutors said complaints of poor confinement conditions were no reason for a lighter sentence - adding that she had "enjoyed remarkable privileges as a high-profile inmate".
They wrote: "Going from being waited on hand and foot to incarceration is undoubtedly a shocking and unpleasant experience."
Federal sentencing guidelines indicate Maxwell should serve between 30 and 55 years in prison.
Prosecutors wrote: "As part of a disturbing agreement with Jeffrey Epstein, Maxwell identified, groomed and abused multiple victims, while she enjoyed a life of extraordinary luxury and privilege.
"In her wake, Maxwell left her victims permanently scarred with emotional and psychological injuries. That damage can never be undone, but it can be accounted for in crafting a just sentence for Maxwell's crimes."
The judge was also urged to take her "utter lack of remorse into account", and the document added: "Instead of showing even a hint of acceptance of responsibility, the defendant makes a desperate attempt to cast blame wherever else she can."
Maxwell's lawyers have argued that she was being scapegoated for Epstein's crimes, but this was dismissed as "absurd and offensive" by the prosecutors.
Retorting that she was an adult who made her own choices, they wrote: "She made the choice to sexually exploit numerous underage girls. She made the choice to conspire with Epstein for years, working as partners in crime and causing devastating harm to vulnerable victims."
Epstein killed himself in 2019, aged 66, in a Manhattan jail cell while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell's trial was widely seen as the reckoning Epstein never had - and in often powerful and explicit testimony, four women said that the socialite was a central figure in his years of abuse.