Highlights

  • Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for helping Jeffrey Epstein
  • Maxwell accused of sex trafficking for Epstein
  • Epstein killed himself in prison in 2019

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Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for helping Jeffrey Epstein in sex trafficking

In December, a jury convicted Maxwell of sex trafficking, transporting a minor to participate in illegal sex acts and two conspiracy charges.

Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday for helping the financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls.

Prosecutors said Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial, sexually abused children hundreds of times over more than a decade, and couldn't have done so without the help of Maxwell, his longtime companion and onetime girlfriend who they said sometimes also participated in the abuse.

In December, a jury convicted Maxwell of sex trafficking, transporting a minor to participate in illegal sex acts and two conspiracy charges.

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan, who also imposed a $750,000 fine, said “a very significant sentence is necessary” and that she wanted to send an “unmistakable message” that these kinds of crimes would be punished. Prosecutors had asked the judge to give her 30 to 55 years in prison, while the 60-year-old Maxwell's defense sought a lenient sentence of just five years.

Maxwell, wearing a blue prison uniform and a white mask to conform with coronavirus rules, looked to one side as the sentence was announced, but otherwise did not react.

“We will continue to live with the harm she caused us,” said Annie Farmer, one of the four accusers who testified against Maxwell at trial, inside the courtroom before the sentencing.

When she had a chance to speak, Maxwell said she empathized with the survivors and that it was her “greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein.” Maxwell called him “a manipulative, cunning and controlling man who lived a profoundly compartmentalized life,” echoing her defense attorneys' assertions that Epstein was the true mastermind.

Maxwell, who denies abusing anyone, said she hoped that her conviction and her “unusual incarceration” bring some “measure of peace and finality.” Nathan refused to let Maxwell escape culpability, making clear that Maxwell was being punished for her own actions, not Epstein's.

Also watch: Jeffrey Epstein sex abuse case: Ghislaine Maxwell convicted, found guilty on 5 of 6 counts

She called the crimes “heinous and predatory” and said Maxwell as a sophisticated adult woman provided the veneer of safety as she “normalized” sexual abuse through her involvement, encouragement and instruction.

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