Six months after a jury found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty on five criminal counts related to her role in Jeffrey Epstein's infamous sex trafficking ring, the British socialite has been sentenced to serve 20 years in prison.
Appearing before a New York federal court, Maxwell was sentenced to serve 20 years behind bars and pay a $750,000 fine for helping to recruit, groom and traffic underage girls to some of the world's wealthiest, most influential people for a decade. Maxwell addressed the victims in court ahead of the sentencing, acknowledging that she was guilty of helping Epstein commit those crimes and the suffering she had caused.
“To you, to you, all the victims who came in court and those outside I am sorry for the pain that you experienced,” Maxwell said. “I hope my conviction and harsh incarceration brings you closure.” She went on to apologize to her loved ones for the pain her actions have caused, saying that moral guilt "tortures" her every day. “It is my sincerest wish to all those in this courtroom and all those outside the courtroom that this day brings a terrible chapter to an end. To those of who spoke here today and those who did not, may this day help you travel from darkness into the light.”
One of the four victims, Annie Farmer, said at the hearing "the 16-year-old she harmed had grown into a woman who was now able to use her voice to tell her story and tell the truth about what happened." Farmer went on to comment that she wasn't surprised that Maxwell's statement were mainly centered on the impact it had on her life, "I felt again that there had been an opportunity for her to take ownership for what she'd done, for her in some ways to express remorse to the victims of her crimes and it was all about her, and about how she had been victimized."
Prosecutors initially sought for a 30-year sentence for Maxwell while the defense was looking for a sentence of four or five years closer to the bare minimums, Judge Alison Nathan ruled that "a sentence of 240 months is sufficient and no graver than necessary."
Maxwell was convicted in December by an unanimous jury of trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and three counts of conspiracy. During the trial witnesses testified that Maxwell recruited girls as young as 14 for the late hedge-fund manager's sex trafficking ring, moving them between Epstein's various mansions to entertain such notable figures like Prince Andrew and Donald Trump. Maxwell was even said to have taken part in some of the sexual abuse that went on between the years of 1994 to 2004.
“It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein,” Maxwell told the court, lamenting the fact that the victims could not face Epstein like they did her. Eventually, she did concede, "Today is not about Epstein. It is for me to ultimately be sentenced.”
Photo via Getty/ Jared Siskin/ Patrick McMullan