Ghislaine Maxwell, a 60-year-old British socialite, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly trafficking young girls. Prosecutors accused her of being a confidante and accomplice in an international child trafficking ring with the late financier and convicted abuser Jeffrey Epstein.
According to the Washington Post, Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell first met at a party for wealthy socialites in the late 1980s through Ghislaine's father, Robert Maxwell. As per the Times, Epstein and Maxwell began a relationship in the early 1990s, following Maxwell's breakup with Count Gianfranco Cicogna Mozzoni of the CIGA Hotels group.
While their romantic relationship eventually ended, the pair would still socialize and work together, with many business partners of Epstein identifying Maxwell as his assistant.
According to CNN, 4 alleged victims of Ghislaine Maxwell accused the socialite of grooming them for Jeffrey Epstein when they were young girls. She is accused of soliciting young women and providing them to a network reportedly run by the wealthy financier.
Maxwell has faced accusations of child trafficking since 2008, based on charges accusing her of having facilitated Epstein's vast trafficking ring in the 90s. However, Maxwell was only arrested in 2020. She continues to vehemently deny the charges.
Jeffrey Epstein, believed to be the ring leader of a child trafficking network catering to the global elite, was arrested on child abuse-related charges in 2008 and 2019, respectively. However, while he was convicted in the 2008 case, the charges leading to his second arrest never went to court, as he allegedly died by suicide while awaiting trial in August 2019.
Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein were close until the latter's death
According to the Wall Street Journal, Maxwell and Epstein were close confidantes. The pair had a brief romantic relationship in the 90s but remained friends long after it they broke up. Maxwell reportedly supervised Epstein's staff for years.
According to the BBC, Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein were closely associated until his death. Throughout the 90's 2000's, they were suspected by various outlets of providing young girls to multiple celebrities, billionaires, and even members of the British royal family.
According to witnesses at the 2022 trial, Maxwell not only overlooked the abuse perpetrated by Epstein but also actively took part in it. One of the victims, Annie Farmer, claimed that the cruel way Maxwell treated the young girls led to lifelong trauma.
Farmer wrote in her statement.
"Judge Nathan, I hope when you consider the appropriate prison sentence for the role Maxwell played in this s*x trafficking operation, you take into account the ongoing suffering of the many women she abused and exploited as we will continue to live with the memories of the ways she harmed us."
"I hope you weigh the systemic effects of the crimes she perpetrated -- the ways that our family members, romantic partners, and friends have been hurt through our suffering."
Maxwell, on the other hand, downplayed her role in the operation, claiming that she was effectively being tried in the absence of the late Jeffrey Epstein. Her defense attorney, Bobbi Strenheim, said that the court was being too harsh on her.
"We all know that the person who should have been sentenced today escaped accountability, avoided his victims, avoided absorbing their pain and receiving the punishment he truly deserved. Jeffrey Epstein left Ghislaine Maxwell holding the whole bag."
At a press conference, Strenheim told news outlets that Maxwell plans on appealing the conviction.