Why was Jeffrey Epstein’s partner Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years of prison?
The British socialite has been jailed for her role in the trafficking of teenage girls over a decade between 1994 and 2004.
Theories ran wild at the suicide of sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein in 2019. Found dead in his jail cell, the businessman was arrested on charges relating to the procurement of young girls for prostitution and had served prison time for the same charge in 2008. His death robbed victims of the chance for some justice, but the jailing of his long time accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell may go some way towards that.
Maxwell, 60, will be put away for 20 years as well as pay a fine of $750,000 for the recruiting and trafficking of four teenage girls for Epstein. She had been held awaiting trial since 2020 after being located by the FBI using GPS data on her phone.
During sentencing, Judge Alison J Nathan said Maxwell’s actions had been “heinous and predatory”.
“Ms Maxwell worked with Epstein to select young victims who were vulnerable and played a pivotal role in facilitating sexual abuse,” she added.
The four accusers of her crimes spoke at the hearing on Tuesday. Only one gave their full name. Sarah Ransome, who did not testify at the trial but was due to give an impact statement alongside one of the accusers.
“Ghislaine must die in prison because I’ve been in Hell and back for the last seventeen years,” she told the judge.
“I was 10 years old when Liz Stein was being trafficked. I was 10. That is how long this sex trafficking ring has been going on for. And it should have just taken one survivor to come forward for us to be taken seriously. It should not have been this hard.”
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
Maxwell is the youngest child of media tycoon Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 after falling overboard from his 180-foot yacht - which he had named Lady Ghislaine after his daughter - while it was cruising off the Canary Islands, Spain.
Ghislaine, who moved to the US after her father’s death, is a former girlfriend of Epstein. After their romantic relationship came to an end, reportedly at some point in the 1990s, she became “something more akin to […] a close friend, confidante and personal assistant” to Epstein, a Guardian profile says.