Lawyers for British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell say she shouldn’t face more than four to five years in prison for her sex trafficking conviction and role in Jeffrey Epstein’s decades-long sexual abuse of teenage girls.
In a plea in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, Maxwell’s attorneys told a judge she deserved leniency, calling it “a farce of justice for her to face a sentence that would have been fitting for Epstein.”
The American financier and former partner of Maxwell took his own life while awaiting a federal sex trafficking trial in New York in 2019.
“Epstein was the mastermind, Epstein was the prime perpetrator, and Epstein orchestrated the crimes for his own personal gratification,” the attorneys wrote.
“Indeed, Ghislaine Maxwell would never have had the profound unhappiness of meeting Jeffrey Epstein over 30 years ago if she weren’t here.”
They added in advance of a June 28 sentencing that Maxwell was “not an heiress, villain or shallow society lady” and did not deserve the “drumbeat of public condemnation demanding that she be locked away forever.”
They said her life has been ruined and that since her arrest on July 2, 2020, she has faced onerous and punitive prison conditions that are likely to result in a significant downward deviation from sentencing guidelines.
Probation officials recommended a 20-year sentence but said her sentencing could last 25 to 30 years.
Her lawyers said officers miscalculated the guidelines and a correct calculation would result in no more than four to five years in prison.
The attorneys wrote that she now lives in the prison’s general population, but was recently the target of a credible death threat from a fellow inmate who told at least three others that she had been offered money to murder Maxwell and was planning to to strangle her in her sleep.
Despite this, they added, she was eager to help other female inmates and provide GED tutoring.