Ghislaine Maxwell gets 20 years in prison for enabling Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of girls

NEW YORK — Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced 20 years in prison Tuesday for enabling Jeffrey Epstein’s serial abuse of underage girls for a decade.

The former British socialite appeared in Manhattan federal court wearing a blue jail jumpsuit and shackles on her ankles.

The steep prison term all but ensures Maxwell, described at trial as Epstein’s “lady of the house,” will remain imprisoned until her twilight years.

“Today’s sentence holds Ghislaine Maxwell accountable for perpetrating heinous crimes against children. This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

Testimony during last year’s trial revealed Maxwell instructed victims on how to pleasure Epstein beginning in the mid-1990s, forcing them into repeated rapes and sexual assaults at his Palm Beach mansion, Upper East Side Townhouse, and remote “Zorro” ranch in New Mexico. Epstein’s routine of abuse typically began under the guise of a massage.

Maxwell sometimes participated in the abuse and took sexually explicit photographs of Epstein’s victims for his gratification, victims said. Witnesses recalled Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Prince Andrew and other powerful men flying on Epstein’s private planes. A photo introduced at trial showed Epstein and Maxwell lounging at the Queen of England’s Scottish castle.

Speaking to victims in court, Maxwell expressed remorse but stopped short of an apology.

“Jeffrey Epstein should have been here before all of you,” Maxwell said. “I’m sorry for the pain you experienced. ... May this help you travel from darkness into the light.”

A naturalized U.S. citizen, Maxwell, 60, also holds British and French citizenship. Her siblings previously protested her innocence by pointing out that she didn’t flee upon Epstein’s arrest or his death.

She was arrested in July 2020 at an isolated, opulent timber-frame mansion on a 156-acre property in New Hampshire purchased through an LLC. Prosecutors said she lived a “transient lifestyle” after Epstein’s arrest and that she was “skilled” at hiding.

Maxwell lost repeated bids for bail while awaiting trial, despite offering to put up tens of millions of dollars as collateral.

Epstein hanged himself in 2019 while awaiting trial for underage sex trafficking. Maxwell had argued that the feds, embarrassed by his suicide, unfairly substituted her for Epstein.

Evidence obtained through civil lawsuits against Epstein and Maxwell showed the financier gave his former flame advice in 2015 as questioned mounted about their sick lifestyle.

“You have done nothing wrong and I would urge you to start acting like it,” Epstein wrote Maxwell.

“Go outside, head high, not as an escaping convict. Go to parties, deal with it.”