It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein.Ghislaine Maxwell addressing the court on the day of her sentencing. She received a 20-year sentence to federal prison for her involvement in sex trafficking and other crimes.
Why It Matters: British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, was arrested nearly two years ago and was put on trial for her involvement in sexually abusing underage girls while in a relationship with her then-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein. She received a 20-year prison sentence yesterday and a $750,000 fine, marking the end of "one of the highest-profile cases in the wake of the #MeToo movement" (Reuters).
- “It’s been an incredibly long road to justice for myself and for many other survivors. This is for the girls that didn’t have their say, the ones that weren’t here," said Sarah Ransome, one of Epstein’s accusers. While prosecutors recommended Maxwell receive 30-55 years in prison, her accusers still expressed relief at the sentencing.
- Judge Alison Nathan called Maxwell's actions "heinous and predatory." She added that "the damage done to these young girls in incalculable" and that "a very serious and very significant sentence is necessary."
- Here's more of Maxwell's statement:
"It is hard for me to address the court after listening to the pain and anguish expressed in the statements made today. The terrible impact on the lives of so many women is difficult to hear and even more difficult to absorb. I acknowledge their suffering and empathize deeply with all the victims in this case.
It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein. I believe that Jeffrey Epstein was a manipulative, cunning and controlling man who lived a profoundly compartmentalized life and fooled all those in his orbit. Variously, his victims considered him a godfather, mentor, benefactor, friend, lover. It is unfathomable today to think that is how he was viewed contemporaneously. His impact on all those who were close to him has been devastating.
Jeffrey Epstein should have been here before all of you. He should have stood before you years ago, in 2005, in 2009, and again in 2019 — all the many times he was accused, charged, prosecuted — he should have spared victims the years of chasing justice. But today is ultimately not about Epstein. It is for me to be sentenced and for the victims to address me alone in court. To you, I say: I am sorry for the pain you experienced. I hope my conviction along with my harsh incarceration brings you closure."
- Something to watch: Another high-profile case of sexual abuse. R&B artist R. Kelly will receive his federal sentence today in New York after being found guilty of sex trafficking crimes. Prosecutors filed for a 25-year minimum sentence while the defense argued for 10 years or less.
Maxwell sentenced to 20 years (ABC News)
Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for helping Epstein (Associated Press)
by Jenna Lee,