British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell should be sentenced to between 30 and 55 years in prison after being convicted of helping sex offender Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls, US prosecutors say.
Maxwell, 60, was convicted in December by a federal jury on five charges, including sex trafficking, for recruiting and grooming four girls between 1994 and 2004 for sexual encounters with globetrotting financier Epstein, then her boyfriend.
In a sentencing memorandum filed in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors called Maxwell’s conduct “shockingly predatory”.
“She was a calculating, sophisticated, and dangerous criminal who preyed on vulnerable young girls and groomed them for sexual abuse,” they wrote.
“Her practice of targeting vulnerable victims reflects her view that struggling young girls could be treated like disposable objects.”
Circuit Judge Alison Nathan, who presided over Maxwell’s four-week trial before being promoted, will manage the sentencing on June 28.
Lawyers for Maxwell argued last week she deserved less than the 20-year sentence recommended by probation officers, and no more than five-and-a-quarter years in prison based on their review of federal sentencing guidelines.
They argued Maxwell, the daughter of late British media magnate Robert Maxwell, was being made a scapegoat for Epstein’s crimes and had already spent significant time behind bars.
Epstein killed himself in 2019 at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell’s trial was widely seen as the reckoning Epstein 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, four women testified that Maxwell was a central figure in Epstein’s years of abuse.
The US Probation Office had recommended a 20-year sentence for Maxwell.
But prosecutors said that did not take into account the cases of two additional women proven at trial to be victims, despite not being named in the initial indictment of Maxwell, and said 30 years should be the minimum.
In April, Nathan 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.