NEW YORK (AP) — British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell should spend at least 30 years in prison for her role in the sexual abuse of teenage girls over a 10-year period by her onetime boyfriend, financier Jeffrey Epstein, prosecutors said Wednesday in written arguments.
Prosecutors said she should serve between 30 years and 55 years in prison, reflecting the federal sentencing guidelines. They made their recommendations to the judge who will preside over a sentencing hearing on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.
The 60-year-old Maxwell was convicted in December of sex trafficking and other crimes after a month-long trial that featured testimony from four women who said they were abused in their teens.
Defense lawyers said in a sentencing submission last week that she should spend no more than five years in prison.
But prosecutors said Maxwell played an “instrumental role in the horrific sexual abuse of multiple young teenage girls" between 1994 and 2004 at some of Epstein's palatial residences. They called her crimes “monstrous."
“As part of a disturbing agreement with Jeffrey Epstein, Maxwell identified, groomed, and abused multiple victims, while she enjoyed a life of extraordinary luxury and privilege. In her wake, Maxwell left her victims permanently scarred with emotional and psychological injuries,” prosecutors wrote.
“That damage can never be undone, but it can be accounted for in crafting a just sentence for Maxwell’s crimes," they added.
Prosecutors also urged the judge to reject Maxwell's pleas for leniency on the grounds that she has suffered in extraordinary ways in jail while awaiting trial and afterward. Defense lawyers said she has faced death threats and harsh conditions that have caused her to lose hair and weight.
“The defendant has enjoyed remarkable privileges as a high-profile inmate that vastly exceed the benefits accorded to the average inmate," prosecutors said. “It is unsurprising that a woman who had led a life of incredible luxury should complain about her life as a prisoner, but that fact does not come close to meriting leniency at sentencing, much less the extraordinary degree of leniency the defendant seeks."
They also cited what they described as Maxwell's “complete failure to address her offense conduct and her utter lack of remorse. Instead of showing even a hint of acceptance of responsibility, the defendant makes a desperate attempt to cast blame wherever else she can."
Maxwell's efforts to cast aspersions on the motives of the government for prosecuting her and her claim that she is being held responsible for Epstein’s crimes are “absurd and offensive," prosecutors said.
“Maxwell was an adult who made her own choices. She made the choice to sexually exploit numerous underage girls. She made the choice to conspire with Epstein for years, working as partners in crime and causing devastating harm to vulnerable victims,” they said.