Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of sex trafficking in December
Ghislaine Maxwell has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after telling the court meeting Jeffrey Epstein was the ‘biggest regret of my life’ and apologizing to her victims ‘for the pain that you have experienced.’
Judge Alison Nathan handed down the 240-month sentence followed by five years supervised release after calling Maxwell’s crimes ‘heinous and prefatory.’ The judge imposed a fine of $750,000 and recommended she be sent to the Danbury, Connecticut, Federal Correctional Institution.
The low-security federal prison was the inspiration for the fictional prison in the Netflix show ‘Orange Is The New Black.’
‘Ms. Maxwell worked with Epstein to select young victims who were vulnerable and played a pivotal role in facilitating sexual abuse,’ Judge Nathan said, making it clear the case called for a ‘very significant sentence’ that sent an ‘unmistakable message’ that such crimes would be punished.
There is no parole for federal prison, so Maxwell is likely to serve the entire 20-year sentence, but could potentially be released a few years early for good behavior.
After the sentencing, Maxwell’s attorney Bobbi Sternheim said outside the courthouse, ‘Our client Ghislaine Maxwell has been vilified, pilloried and left little room for her to be treated fairly. Because even before she stropped forward into this courthouse, she was being tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.
‘Ghislaine will appeal this case and we’re confident she will prevail on appeal.’
Maxwell’s brother, Kevin, briefly spoke following the sentencing and said they would be ‘solidly’ behind her during her appeal.
Before the sentencing Maxwell, 60, appearing in a blue prison uniform with shackles around her ankles, addressed the court and said she was ‘fooled’ by Epstein.
‘I realize I have been convicted of assisting Jeffrey Epstein to commit these crimes,’ she said. ‘My association with Epstein will permanently stain me. It is the biggest regret of my life that I ever met him.’
She added that Epstein ‘fooled all of those in his orbit.’
Prosecutors had asked Judge Nathan to impose a sentence of at least 30 years because of Maxwell’s ‘utter lack of remorse,’ while Maxwell claimed she should serve just four years as she is not a danger to the public.
The sentencing marks the end of a decades-long fight for justice by victims of Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein.
Judge Alison Nathan handed down the sentence Tuesday in Manhattan federal court after Maxwell, appearing in a prison uniform with shackles around her ankles, faced her sex trafficking victims as they gave dramatic testimony
The sentencing marks the end of a decades-long fight for justice by victims of Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. In court Tuesday Maxwell said that Epstein ‘fooled all of those in his orbit’
The judge imposed a fine of $750,000 and recommended she be sent to the Danbury, Connecticut, Federal Correctional Institution
Annie Farmer is smiling after the verdict outside the Manhattan courthouse. Farmer fought back tears as she asked the judge to take into account the ‘ongoing suffering of them many women she abused and exploited’
Sarah Ransome and Elizabeth Stein held hands as they walked out of court Tuesday. Ransome claimed in her victim impact statement, ‘I was nothing more than a sex toy with a heartbeat and soul used to entertain Epstein, Maxwell and others’. Elizabeth Stein revealed she had to have an abortion after getting raped ‘countless times’
Ghislaine Maxwell defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim talks to the media outside the US District Court for the Southern District of New York after the sentencing
Before Maxwell spoke in court, she was forced to face her sex trafficking victims as they gave dramatic testimony.
Annie Farmer, Sarah Ransome, Elizabeth Stein and one woman known only as Kate read their heartbreaking victim impact statements where they pleaded for the longest possible sentence and demanded Maxwell spend the rest of her life in prison.
‘I was nothing more than a sex toy with a heartbeat and soul used to entertain Epstein, Maxwell and others,’ Ransome said, sharing photos of herself in a hospital bed after she tried to kill herself when the trauma of the sexual abuse became unbearable.
Prosecutors asked Judge Alison Nathan to impose a sentence of at least 30 years because of Maxwell’s ‘utter lack of remorse,’ while Maxwell claimed she should serve just four years as she is not a danger to the public
Ransome said in her victim statement, ‘On one visit to the island, the sexual demands, degradation and humiliation ensued me to try to escape by jumping off a cliff into shark-infested waters. I was caught by Maxwell and company moments before jumping. At the time, that extremely risky escape seemed more appealing than being raped one more time,’ she said.
‘Maxwell is today the same woman I met almost 20 years ago – incapable of compassion or common human decency,’ she added. ‘Sentencing her to the rest of her life in prison will not change her, but it will give survivors a slight sense of justice.’
During the testimony Maxwell remained stoic and avoided her victims’ eyes. Farmer fought back tears as she asked the judge to take into account the ‘ongoing suffering of the many women she abused and exploited.
‘Judge Nathan, I hope when you consider the appropriate prison sentence for the role Maxwell played in this sex-trafficking operation, you take into account the ongoing suffering of the many women she abused and exploited as we will continue to live with the memories of the ways she harmed us,’ Farmer said.
‘I hope you weigh the systemic effects of the crimes she perpetrated — the ways that our family members, romantic partners and friends have been hurt through our suffering.
‘I ask you to bear in mind how Maxwell’s unwillingness to acknowledge her crimes, her lack of remorse, and her repeated lies about her victims created the need for many of us to engage in a long fight for justice that has felt like a black hole sucking in our precious time, energy, and well-being for much too long now.
‘These things cannot be replaced.’
After the sentencing Annie Farmer slammed Maxwell’s ‘very hollow’ apology.
‘It felt very powerful to finally have a chance to speak and have my voice on the record and say how her crimes impacted people and myself,’ Farmer said.
‘Her statement felt like a very hollow apology to me. she did not take responsibility for her crimes that she committed, and it felt like once more than she was trying to do something that benefitted her and not at all about the harm that she caused.’
Stein revealed she had to have an abortion after getting raped ‘countless times,’ and Kate said Maxwell’s ‘lack of remorse and her blatant refusal to take responsibility is her final insult. She is not sorry and she will do it again.’
Kate said that women ‘must take a stand of zero tolerance to those who use their power to groom and traffic the vulnerable.’
‘Every single child must have their innocence defended,’ Kate says. ‘No person should be shielded from the consequences of their actions.’
‘Maxwell’s lack of remorse and her blatant refusal to take responsibility is her final insult. She is not sorry and she will do it again.
‘Today is not a happy day. I take no pleasure in being part of a world where this is necessary. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with these brave women and to do what is necessary to stop Ghislaine.’
Virginia Roberts was not in court, but her lawyer Sigrid McCawley read her statement.
‘Ghislaine, 22 years ago, in the summer of 2000, you spotted me at the Mar-a-Lago Hotel in Florida, and you made a choice,’ McCawley reads from Giuffre’s statement.
‘You chose to follow me and procure me for Jeffrey Epstein. Just hours later, you and he abused me together for the first time. Together, you damaged me physically, mentally, sexually and emotionally. Together, you did unthinkable things that still have a corrosive impact on me to this day.’
‘When you did that, Ghislaine, you changed the course of our lives forever,’ she wrote.
Ransome shared photos of herself in a hospital bed after she tried to kill herself – one from 2008 and another in 2018 when Epstein was under investigation
In a big win for Maxwell’s defense, Judge Alison Nathan ruled to use sentencing guidelines from 2003 – the year Maxwell’s last offense took place. In 2004, sentencing guidelines were raised, which could have seen Maxwell facing a maximum of 55 years. But the judge ruled to now lower the maximum to 235 months – or 19.5 years
Ghislaine’s siblings, Isabel and Kevin Maxwell, showed up to court to support their sister at her sentencing Tuesday
‘Rogue’ juror Scotty David is seen waiting on line to go into Manhattan Federal court for Maxwell’s sentencing. David was a juror in her trial and lied about his history of sexual abuse
After Epstein hanged himself while awaiting trial in 2019, attention turned to Maxwell who was arrested a year later and found guilty in December following her sensational trial.
She has said she will appeal her conviction and claims that she is being made a ‘scapegoat’ for Epstein.
Four women gave evidence against Maxwell during her weeks-long trial: a victim known as ‘Jane’, Annie Farmer, Kate and another woman called Carolyn.
Over three weeks, the jury heard how Maxwell ‘served up’ underage girls for Epstein and relished her role as the ‘Lady of the House’ at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.
Between 1994 and 2004 Maxwell was Epstein’s ‘right hand’ and paid $200 for sexualized massages or even took part in the abuse.
The victims, some as young as 14, were given a similar amount of money if they brought friends to Epstein, the jury was told.
During the trial, prosecutors called 24 witnesses to give jurors a picture of life inside Epstein’s homes – a subject of public fascination and speculation ever since his 2006 arrest in Florida in a child sex case.
A housekeeper testified he was expected to be ‘blind, deaf and dumb’ about the private lives of Epstein, a financier who cultivated friendships with influential politicians and business tycoons.
Pilots took the witness stand and dropped the names of luminaries – Britain’s Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump – who flew on Epstein’s private jets.
Jurors saw physical evidence like a folding massage table once used by Epstein and a ‘black book’ that listed contact information for some of the victims under the heading ‘massages’.
There were bank records showing he had transferred $30.7 million to Maxwell.
The woman known only as ‘Kate’ read her testimony in person and faced down Maxwell
Four women gave evidence against Maxwell during her trial: a victim known as ‘Jane’ (left) , Annie Farmer, Kate and another woman called Carolyn (right)
Jurors saw physical evidence like a folding massage table once used by Epstein and a ‘black book’ that listed contact information for some of the victims under the heading ‘massages’
Prosecutors produced a 58-page household manual covering every single aspect of running the house in Palm Beach that they indicated Maxwell had written. There were dozens of checklists for each area of the house, instructions on when to replace the toothpaste and what brands of creams to buy.
One instruction to all household staff that was seized on by the prosecution read: ‘You see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing’.
But the core of the prosecution was the testimony of four women who said they were victimized by Maxwell and Epstein at tender ages.
Three testified using first names or pseudonyms to protect their privacy: Jane, a television actress; Kate, a former model from Great Britain; and Carolyn, now a mom recovering from drug addiction.
The fourth was Farmer, who chose to use her real name after being vocal about her allegations in recent years.
The most gut wrenching was Carolyn who testified that she was one of several underprivileged teens who lived near Epstein’s Florida home in the early 2000s and took up an offer to give massages in exchange for $100 bills.
Maxwell made all the arrangements, Carolyn told the jury, even though she knew the girl was only 14 at the time.
The sentencing marks the end of a decades-long fight for justice by victims of Maxwell and Epstein
The couple appeared to vacation to a cold destination. Seen together with warm coats and large fur hats in an undated photo submitted into evidence during the trial
The pair are seen sitting in the grass with a dog in this undated photo submitted into evidence by the government
Jane said in 1994, when she was only 14, she was instructed to follow Epstein into a pool house at the Palm Beach estate, where he masturbated on her.
Jane told the jury: ‘I was frozen in fear’, adding that the assault was the first time she had ever seen a penis. She also directly accused Maxwell of participating in her abuse.
Maxwell’s lawyer asked Jane why it had taken so long to come forward.
She responded: ‘I was scared. I was embarrassed, ashamed. I didn’t want anybody to know any of this about me’.
Kate said she was recruited by Maxwell in London in 1994 when she was 17 and described in vivid detail how she invited her round for tea and then asked her back to give Epstein a massage.
In chilling testimony Kate described how Maxwell closed the door behind her as a naked Epstein lay on a massage table in front of her. After one such encounter Maxwell told her: ‘Did you have fun? Was it good?’
Farmer described how she was lured to Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico at the age of 16 with the promise there would be dozens of other bright students that he wanted to help.
Instead it was just her and Maxwell proceeded to massage her breasts before Epstein got into bed with her.
Summing up her experience, Farmer said: ‘I think this was all a pattern of them working on confusing my boundaries and malign me question myself about what was right and what was not right with the ultimate goal of sexually abusing me’.
Jurors deliberated for five full days before finding Maxwell guilty of five of six counts.
In court Maxwell often hugged her lawyers appeared in good health despite claims from her lawyers she had been losing weight and losing hair due to the grim conditions in prison pre-trial.
She declined to testify, telling the court: ‘You honor, the government has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt so there is no reason to testify’.
Maxwell’s fall from grace is all the more astonishing given her background as a wealthy socialite and the daughter of Robert Maxwell, the late newspaper tycoon who fell off his yacht in the Canary Islands in 1991 in mysterious circumstances.
Four of Maxwell’s siblings – Kevin, Christine, Isabel and Ian and – are seen arriving to court to support their sister during her trial in December
Ghislaine was Robert Maxwell’s youngest child, born on Christmas Day 1961 She’s pictured with her father in 1984
Her lawyers tried to argue that Robert Maxwell’s abusive behavior around his children made Maxwell ‘vulnerable’ when she met Epstein around the time of her father’s death.
She appears to have replaced one controlling, manipulative father with a nearly identical man – Epstein – who she dated before becoming the boss of his sex trafficking organization.
The true number of Epstein’s victims may never be known but the fund set up to pay compensation to them paid out $121million to 150 women around the world.
Most of the victim impact statements were released ahead of sentencing and they were blistering in their condemnation of Maxwell.
They included Virginia Roberts, who earlier this year settled a lawsuit with Prince Andrew for a reported $12m over claims that she was forced to have sex with him three times when she was 17.
According to Roberts, Maxwell recruited her when she was 16 at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
In her victim impact statement reads that Maxwell and Epstein did ‘unthinkable things’ to her.
The statement says: ‘Without question, Jeffrey Epstein was a terrible pedophile.
‘But I never would have met Jeffrey Epstein if not for you. For me, and for so many others, you opened the door to hell. And then, Ghislaine, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you used your femininity to betray us, and you led us all through it.
‘Ghislaine, you deserve to spend the rest of your life in a jail cell. You deserve to be trapped in a cage forever, just like you trapped your victims.’
An infamous photo of Virginia Roberts, Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell, taken at Maxwell’s home in London’s Belgravia
Maxwell, Naomi Campbell, Donald Trump and Melania Knauss in November 2002 at a Dolce and Gabbana show in New York
In 2010 Maxwell attended the wedding of Clinton’s daughter Chelsea in Rhinebeck, upstate New York
And image shows Jeffrey Epstein and his ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell holding a private audience with John Paul II at the Vatican during his blessing almost 20 years ago
Ghislaine studied history at the University of Oxford in the early 1980s where she began building connections of her own, including Prince Andrew, who would later invite her and Epstein to Windsor Castle and Sandringham, Queen Elizabeth’s country estate
Farmer’s victim impact statement reads: ‘I remember sitting at my desk in a Houston hospital physically shaking after seeing the photo of Maxwell with Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew because it became clear to me how their scheme had continued’.
Sarah Ransome, a former model from South Africa who grew up in Scotland, said that Maxwell and Epstein turned her into ‘nothing more than a sex toy with a heartbeat’.
Maxwell’s attorney said her client had been placed on suicide watch at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn
While trying to escape from Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean she tried to jump off a cliff but was found by Maxwell before she could.
Ransome wrote: ‘Maxwell was his right hand woman. She was the Five Star General of several recruiters and many others who provided the means and cover for Epstein’s predation.
‘Epstein and Maxwell were masters at finding young, vulnerable girls and young women to exploit. Like Hotel California, you could blindly check into the Epstein-Maxwell dungeon of sexual hell but you could never leave. Jeffrey and Ghislaine made sure of that’.
The sentencing was delayed after Maxwell’s lawyers raised questions over comments by one of her jurors, Scotty David.
He said that he did not disclose his past history of sexual abuse when filing out his jury questionnaire.
David was recalled to the court by judge Nathan for a hearing where she interrogated him and later ruled his nondisclosure had been an unintentional error.
Maxwell’s family have been unequivocal in their support of her and have refused to believe she is guilty.
In a recent newspaper column her brother Ian said that Maxwell, who is a French citizen, should have fled to France when Epstein was arrested in 2019 rather than stay in the US.
Maxwell only did so because she ‘had a clear conscience’ but her decision meant that she fell victim to a ‘lynch mob.’
Ian Maxwell wrote: ‘I know that Ghislaine is innocent and that she would never have been found guilty in any civilized country.’