Jeffrey Epstein’s sex abuse collaborator Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years in prison

Ghislaine Maxwell, the confidante of deceased sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in a Manhattan court on Tuesday.

Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein in 2005 (Photo: US Justice Department)

In handing down the sentence, which was far less than the 30 to 55 years requested by prosecutors, New York Federal District Judge Alison J. Nathan said that Maxwell had “direct and repeated participation in a horrific scheme” with Epstein to sexually abuse and traffic underage girls. “The damage done to these young girls was incalculable,” Judge Nathan said.

Maxwell, 60, spoke in the courtroom for the first time since she was arrested and charged in July 2020 with six offenses, including sex trafficking a minor, and then convicted in December 2021 after a monthlong jury trial. She refused to accept responsibility for her crimes or apologize for the abuse endured by her victims over decades.

She merely acknowledged “the pain and anguish” suffered by the women who were as young as 14 years old when they were groomed for sex acts with the billionaire financier Epstein and his wealthy entourage of associates in various locations around the world. Maxwell deflected blame for the abuse of dozens of working class teenage girls, many of whom were from West Palm Beach, Florida.

Appearing in court in blue prison scrubs and shackled at the ankles, Maxwell said, “It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein.” She continued, “Jeffrey Epstein should have been here before all of you.”

Judge Nathan calculated the sentence at 15½ to 19½ years in prison based on guidelines and said that her decision was above the upper limit because of the victims’ disturbing testimony and the fact that Maxwell failed to show any remorse. “Miss Maxwell is not punished in place of Epstein. Miss Maxwell is being punished for the role that she played,” Judge Nathan said.

In addition to the 20-year prison term, Maxwell was also sentenced to five years of supervised release and a $750,000 fine. Judge Nathan said Maxwell will be sent to the Federal Corrections Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. Speaking to the media after the sentencing, Maxwell’s attorney Bobbi Sternheim said the verdict would be appealed and that her client had been “vilified” and “pilloried” and left “holding the whole bag” for Epstein. She also said that Maxwell could not afford to pay the fine.

Epstein, who was known to have been engaged in sex trafficking going back to the 1990s, avoided prosecution for his sex crimes due to relationships he had with people in powerful places. Among those who are known to have traveled with Epstein in his private Boeing 727 called the “Lolita Express” were Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, Bill Gates and former Senate majority leader George Mitchell.

In 2008, Epstein avoided federal sex abuse charges by agreeing to a plea deal—negotiated by his attorney Alan Dershowitz and then U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Alex Acosta—that granted him immunity along with four named and any unnamed “potential co-conspirators.”

In July 2019 Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges when he stepped off his private airliner at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. He was jailed awaiting trial at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. On August 10, Epstein was found dead in his prison cell. His death was declared a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner despite evidence indicating he was murdered.

While the corporate media has been quick to characterize the sentencing of Maxwell as a “pivotal moment” and a “measure of resolution” to the criminal enterprise of Epstein and his ultra-wealthy and elite friends, the trial produced very little new information about who was involved in the sexual abuse of underage girls or why and how Epstein was protected from prosecution for so many years.

There is no doubt that stopping this information from finding its way into the public has been a primary concern of powerful individuals and organizations within ruling circles since the suspicious death of Epstein and throughout the arrest, trial and sentencing of Maxwell.

Detailed revelations about leading individuals within the American and international bourgeois establishment that were participating in Epstein’s degenerate social gatherings and then helping with a cover up of the criminality would severely undermine the authority of the ruling class.

As pointed out by Michelle Licata, one of Epstein’s victims who made statements to the Miami Herald, further details on the participants in the sex trafficking scheme need to be brought out. “By Maxwell not giving up the names of the people that participated in these crimes against underage girls she is telling the world that she doesn’t think she did anything wrong,” Licata said.

Licata also said that Epstein’s victims, who were betrayed by federal prosecutors in South Florida during Epstein’s 2008 plea deal, are still owed an explanation from the government. “There has never been a ‘real apology’ and ‘true justice’ for any of us,” she said. “It would be nice to hear from our own government that they failed to protect us and didn’t punish the people that did it when we needed them the most.”