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Prosecutors say Ghislaine Maxwell deserves at least 30 years in prison

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.

Maxwell, 60, 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 and shouldn’t pay for Epstein’s crimes, since he was the mastermind and principal abuser and “orchestrated the crimes for his personal gratification.” Epstein took his own life in 2019 in jail as he awaited a Manhattan federal sex trafficking trial.

Prosecutors disagreed and 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.”

“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 went onto say.

Prosecutors said nearly all of the $22.5 million in assets that Maxwell claimed in a bail proposal that was never granted was given to her by Epstein.

“The defendant’s access to wealth enabled her to present herself as a supposedly respectable member of society, who rubbed shoulders with royalty, presidents, and celebrities. That same wealth dazzled the girls from struggling families who became the defendant and Epstein’s victims,” prosecutors said.

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 sentencing submission also included quotes from letters written to the judge by women who testified during the trial, including Kate, an ex-model from Great Britain who said, “the consequences of what Ghislaine Maxwell did have been far reaching for me.”

“I have struggled with, and eventually triumphed over, substance use disorder. I have suffered panic attacks and night terrors, with which I still struggle. I have suffered low self-esteem, loss of career opportunities. I have battled greatly with feeling unable to trust my own instincts, in choosing romantic relationships,” she wrote.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: BOSTON GLOBE

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