Ghislaine Maxwell's sentencing hearing for sex trafficking begins
Two of the victims who testified at her trial, Annie Farmer and a woman known as "Kate," are expected to make statements at the hearing. Maxwell's monthlong trial was widely seen as the reckoning that Epstein - who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 at age 66 while awaiting his own sex trafficking trial - never had.
Ghislaine Maxwell's sentencing hearing for helping sex offender and globetrotting financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls began on Tuesday. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of at least 30 years for Maxwell, 60, who was convicted in December of recruiting and grooming girls to have sexual encounters with Epstein, then her boyfriend, between 1994 and 2004.
When asked by U.S. Circuit Judge Alison Nathan at the outset of the hearing whether she had read a pre-sentence report prepared by probation officers, Maxwell - wearing a grey t-shirt and white face mask - spoke briefly to say she did "have an opportunity" to read the document. Nathan will sentence the British socialite at the conclusion of the hearing in Manhattan federal court. Two of the victims who testified at her trial, Annie Farmer and a woman known as "Kate," are expected to make statements at the hearing.
Maxwell's monthlong trial was widely seen as the reckoning that Epstein - who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 at age 66 while awaiting his own sex trafficking trial - never had. It was one of the highest-profile cases in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged women to speak out about sexual abuse, often at the hands of wealthy and powerful people.
In often emotional and explicit testimony during the trial, Farmer, Kate, and two other women testified that Maxwell was a central figure in their abuse by Epstein. Maxwell's lawyers said in court papers earlier this month that she should be sentenced to no more than 5-1/4 years, arguing that she was being scapegoated for Epstein's crimes and that she had already spent significant time in jail.
Maxwell was arrested in July 2020 and repeatedly denied bail. Since then, she has been held mostly at Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), where she has complained of vermin and the scent of raw sewage in her cell. Her lawyers have compared her confinement conditions to those of Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs." Maxwell was placed on suicide watch over the weekend. However, her lawyers said she was not suicidal.
Nathan in April rejected Maxwell's bid for an acquittal, but set aside guilty verdicts on two counts because they overlapped. That reduced Maxwell's maximum possible sentence to 55 years from 65 years.
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