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Ghislaine Maxwell launches appeal against sex-trafficking conviction and sentence


Ghislaine Maxwell has formally appealed against her conviction and sentencing for child sex-trafficking offenses.

Maxwell, 60, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $750,000 for helping sex offender and billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein abuse teenage girls last month.

US District Judge Alison Nathan handed down the sentence on 28 June in Manhattan, six months after Maxwell was convicted by a federal jury on five charges, including sex trafficking.

Judge Nathan described Maxwell’s offending as “heinous and predatory” as she sentenced her to a term that exceeded her own maximum sentencing guideline of up to 19 years and eight months.

The jury found her guilty of recruiting and grooming four girls between 1994 and 2004 for sexual encounters with her former boyfriend Epstein, who took his own life behind bars in 2019 while awaiting his own sex trafficking trial.

Her attorney Bobbi Sternheim filed the appeal with the US federal court in Manhattan on Thursday.

Her lawyers unsuccessfully attempted to have her conviction thrown out in January after a juror admitted that he answered parts of the jury selection questionnaire incorrectly.

At a hearing in January the juror, known only as Scotty David, said he had done so inadvertently because he was “super distracted” and had “skimmed way too fast”.

Judge Nathan agreed with prosecutors that Scotty David had not skewed the outcome of the trial and dismissed the appeal.

Bobbi Sternheim, Maxwell’s attorney, speaks to reporters after her sentencing on 28 June

(Bevan Hurley/The Independent)

During her sentencing, victim impact statements were read out including one from attorney Sigrid McCawley on behalf of her client Virginia Giuffre.

“For me, and for so many others, you opened the door to hell,” the statement read.

Maxwell addressed the court in a carefully worded statement in which she stopped short of apologising for the crimes, saying: “I empathise deeply with all the victims in this case.

“I realise I have been convicted of assisting Jeffrey Epstein to commit these crimes. My association with Epstein will permanently stain me. It is the biggest regret of my life that I ever met him.

“I believe Jeffrey Epstein fooled all of those in his orbit. His victims considered him a mentor, friend, lover.”

Maxwell has requested that she see out her federal prison sentence at FCI Danbury, a minimum security prison in Connecticut that has hosted some of America’s most high-profile female prisoners.


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