Ghislaine Maxwell Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison; Survivors Hail Ruling

Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls. The British socialite was seen on many occasions with members of the UK royal family, heads of states and billionaires.

Maxwell did not apologize or accept the responsibility for her crimes for which a fine of $750,000 was imposed on her.

Survivor Annie Farmer said it is never too late for accountability once the verdict was out and said it was victory for her and the group of women who have spent years seeking justice.

“May this sentence demonstrate that it is never too late for the truth to come out and never too late for accountability. If you’re someone who faced sexual abuse or exploitation and did not feel safe to report those crimes or were not believed when you did, or were told the perpetrators would not be held accountable, this is for you,” Farmer told the reporters outside the federal court in Manhattan.

“We will continue to live with the harm she caused us,” she further added. Farmer was the sole accuser to identify herself in court by her real name.

Judge Alison J. Nathan of US District Court in Manhattan said the damage done to the accusers was incalculable. “This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice,” Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said

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Crimes Of ‘The Madam’

Maxwell is accused of using her and Epstein’s connections to lure and coerce unsuspecting underage girls to sexual acts. The British socialite was tried for working together with Epstein to identify and groom their victims to be sexually abused between 1994 and 2004.

Maxwell was described as ‘the Madam’ who lured women to help Epstein satisfy his sexual needs – though in most cases the people lured were underage girls and not women.

Since 2005, scores of allegations of sexual abuse were levelled against Jeffrey Epstein and his friend Ghislaine Maxwell. Though the trial did not mention the powerful people like former US presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump who were seen attending functions organized by the abuser duo.

One survivor Virginia Giuffre alleged Maxwell and Epstein pressured her into sexual trysts with other powerful men, including Britain’s Prince Andrew. Giuffre ultimately settled a lawsuit against Andrew out of court.

Jane, a television actress; Kate, an ex-model from the UK; and Carolyn, now a mom recovering from drug addiction testified that they were abused as teens in the 1990s and early 2000s at Epstein’s mansions in Florida, New York, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands. They used pseudonyms to protect their identity.

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Carolyn said she was asked by Maxwell to massage Jeffrey Epstein in exchange for $100 bills despite knowing she was 14 at the time. The other three also said that they were coerced into giving sexual massages to Epstein, while Maxwell brushed off the incident as ‘normal’.

‘Greatest Regret’

Ghislaine Maxwell during the hearing continued to blame Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell, the daughter of British media magnate Robert Maxwell, said meeting Epstein was the ‘greatest regret of her life’.

“It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein. Jeffrey Epstein should have been here before all of you,” Maxwell was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

Maxwell also said Epstein was ‘a manipulative, cunning and controlling man who lived a profoundly compartmentalized life’.

The judge was quick to point out that Maxwell was being punished for her own crimes and not Epstein’s and lambasted her for her ‘pattern of deflection and blame.’

She entered the courthouse wearing a mask to conform with Covid-19 regulations and wore leg shackles. Her siblings, Anne Holve and Philip Maxwell, also wrote to the court seeking leniency.

Her lawyer Bobbi C. Sternheim said Epstein should have been facing the trial. She said Maxwell was ‘tried and convicted in the court of public opinion’. “Jeffrey Epstein left Ghislaine Maxwell holding the whole bag,” she said.

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