Death – Ghislaine Maxwell likely to receive 20-year sentence for sexual abuse, says legal analyst

Death – Obituary

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell faces a likely “death by incarceration” as a result of her conviction, a legal analyst has said.

Her legal team said she was going to appeal her conviction announced on Wednesday for setting up teenage girls to have sexual encounters with financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell, 60, was accused of recruiting and grooming four teenagers between 1994 and 2004 for Epstein, her former boyfriend, who killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges of his own.

She was convicted on five of six counts, including one count of sex trafficking, and faces up to 65 years in prison.

Legal analyst Mitchell Epner said she was likely to get between 20 and 25 years.

“Given that Maxwell is currently 60 years old, that is essentially death by incarceration,” he said.

Maxwell’s trial was widely seen as the reckoning Epstein never had and one of the highest-profile cases in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged women to speak out about sexual abuse by famous and powerful people.

“This is the most important trafficking conviction in recent history,” said Mr Epner, who is a former federal prosecutor.

Maxwell will return to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) — which Mr Epner described as a “truly abysmal prison” — where she has been held in isolation since July 2020.

A court illustration show Ghislaine Maxwell in handcuffs and wearing a facemask being sat a chair by a man in a suit.
Maxwell was convicted of five charges and faces up to 65 years in prison.(Reuters: Jane Rosenberg)

Maxwell has voiced concerns about her treatment at the jail, asserting that guards have disrupted her sleep at night and that the stench of raw sewage has permeated her cell.

The conditions at MDC are a far cry from the opulence that Maxwell, a daughter of late British press baron Robert Maxwell, had been accustomed to most of her life.

Once she is fully sentenced, she’s likely to end up a medium-security prison, according to Mr Epner.

‘I wasn’t sure that this day would ever come’

During the month-long trial, jurors heard emotional and explicit testimony from four women who portrayed Maxwell as central to their abuse by Epstein.

Three of the four said Maxwell herself touched their bare breasts or took part in the encounters, which often began as massages.

In an interview with the American Broadcasting Corporation, one of Maxwell’s accusers, Annie Farmer, said the jury “sent a strong message that perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation will be held accountable no matter how much power and privilege that they have”.

A courtroom sketch showing a woman speaking in court
A court sketch shows Annie Farmer testifying on the witness stand during Maxwell’s sex abuse trial.(AP: Elizabeth Williams)

“I wasn’t sure that this day would ever come,” Ms Farmer said.

“I just feel so grateful that the jury believed us.”

Ms Farmer said she hoped investigations into the “other people involved and other perpetrators” would continue.

Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents 20 victims of Jeffrey Epstein, said Maxwell’s conviction was a “legal reckoning” that is “long overdue” and would lead to more sex crimes prosecutions.

Ms Allred represents the victims in claims with the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program, a fund created from Epstein’s estate that pays money to survivors.

More charges possible

During the month-long trial, Maxwell’s attorneys sought to undermine the women’s credibility, arguing they were motivated by money to implicate Maxwell since all four had received million-dollar awards from the compensation fund for Epstein’s victims.

But the women disputed those characterisations, saying they decided to testify out of a desire for justice, not money.

And according to legal analyst Mr Epner, the women were “very plausible”.

“They had an enormous problem in that Ghislaine Maxwell gave a truly awful civil deposition that boxed them into the position that she was just going to deny that any of this ever happened.”

Ghislaine Maxwell wraps her arms around Jeffrey Epstein's necks and kisses his cheek
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in a jail cell in New York in 2019. (Supplied: US Attorney’s Office SDNY)

Epstein’s arrest and suicide drew attention to Maxwell’s role in his abuses, and to the financier’s relationships with prominent figures like former US Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, Britain’s Prince Andrew and billionaire investor Leon Black.

“Given the success in this trial, the federal prosecutors who handled this case will almost certainly be given the latitude to pursue charges if they believe any are warranted against others,” said Mr Epner.

ABC/wires

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What Is An Obituary

In national newspapers an obituary (obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a prominent person. Although it tends to focus on positive aspects of the subject’s life this is not always the case. According to Nigel Farndale, the Obituaries Editor of The Times: “Obits should be life affirming rather than gloomy, but they should also be opinionated, leaving the reader with a strong sense of whether the subject lived a good life or bad; whether they were right or wrong in the handling of their public affairs.”

In local newspapers, an obituary may be published for any local resident upon death. A necrology is a register or list of records of the deaths of people related to a particular organization, group or field, which may only contain the sparsest details, or small obituaries. Historical necrologies can be important sources of information.