Ghislaine Maxwell used her “femininity to betray us” like she was “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims has said ahead of the British socialite’s sentencing in New York.
The 60-year-old Maxwell was convicted in December of sex trafficking and other crimes after a month-long trial that featured evidence from four women who said they were abused in their teens.
Virginia Giuffre was not included in the trial but has become one of the most well-known accusers of Epstein after settling a sexual assault case against the Duke of York. Andrew denies her claims.
In a victim impact statement submitted to a Manhattan federal court ahead of Maxwell’s sentencing on Tuesday, Ms Giuffre said the woman should spend the rest of her life “trapped in a cage”.
“I want to be clear about one thing: Without question, Jeffrey Epstein was a terrible paedophile. But I never would have met Jeffrey Epstein if not for you. For me, and for so many others, you opened the door to hell. And then, Ghislaine, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you used your femininity to betray us, and you led us all through it,” Ms Giuffre wrote in the documents obtained by the PA news agency.
She added: “I worry every single day and night that you will get away with it and evade being punished. I will worry about that until you are brought to justice. And what should that justice look like? Ghislaine, you deserve to spend the rest of your life in a jail cell. You deserve to be trapped in a cage forever, just like you trapped your victims.”
Maxwell victim Annie Farmer in her impact statement called on the sentencing judge to take into account the “ongoing suffering of the many women (Maxwell) abused and exploited as we will continue to live with the memories of the ways she harmed us”.
Ms Farmer also said: “I ask you to bear in mind how Maxwell’s unwillingness to acknowledge her crimes, her lack of remorse, and her repeated lies about her victims created the need for many of us to engage in a long fight for justice that has felt like a black hole sucking in our precious time, energy, and wellbeing for much too long now. These things cannot be replaced.”
Prosecutors have argued Maxwell should serve between 30 years and 55 years in prison, reflecting the sentencing guidelines.
Defence lawyers said in a sentencing submission she should spend no more than five years in prison and should not pay for Epstein’s crimes, since he was the mastermind and principal abuser and “orchestrated the crimes for his personal gratification”.
Prosecutors have 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.
Defence lawyers said she has faced death threats and harsh conditions that have caused her to lose hair and weight.
Maxwell’s appearance at trial proved those claims were wrong, prosecutors said, adding: “The defendant is perfectly healthy, with a full head of hair.”