A fellow inmate planned to strangle Ghislaine Maxwell in exchange for money, the British socialite’s lawyers claimed as they pleaded for leniency at her sentencing for sex trafficking .
“One of the female inmates in Ms Maxwell’s housing unit told at least three other inmates she had been offered money to murder Maxwell and she planned to strangle her in her sleep,” the lawyers claimed.
“Ms Maxwell has to live with this threat every day that she is housed in the MDC [Metropolitan Detention Centre] and every day she is incarcerated in the prison where she is designated.”
The lawyers called on New York judge Alison Nathan to reject the probation department’s recommendation of a 20-
year sentence for Maxwell’s role in US financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of teenage girls.
“Ghislaine Maxwell is not an heiress, villain or vapid socialite,” the lawyers wrote in advance of a sentencing scheduled for June 28.
“She has worked hard her entire life. She has energy, drive, commitment, a strong work ethic and desire to do good in the world.”
They said leniency was deserved because she had had a “difficult, traumatic childhood with an over- bearing, narcissistic and demanding father” that made her “vulnerable to Epstein, whom she met right after her father’s death”.
Maxwell was found guilty of five out of the six charges in her trial, including sex trafficking a 14-year-old minor, and faces a possible 65-year sentence.
In its final report, the probation department recommended a 240-month prison term, less than the sentencing guidelines would otherwise allow.
Maxwell’s lawyers claimed in a filing to the Manhattan court that the 60-year-old daughter of British press baron Robert Maxwell is being punished in the place of Epstein.
“In the face of strong media and public uproar following Epstein’s death, the government faced an urgency to appease the renewed distress of Epstein’s accusers and to repair the tarnished reputations of the DOJ [Department of Justice] and BOP [Bureau of Prisons] in whose custody Epstein died,” they wrote.
“There would be no trial for Epstein and no public vindication and justice for
his accusers. The govern-
ment now had a huge hole to fill: Epstein’s empty chair.”
They urged the court not to be influenced by “this inexorable drumbeat of public condemnation calling for her to be locked away for good”.
In their plea, Maxwell’s legal team highlighted her “exemplary” behaviour while held as an inmate.
She is asking instead to be handed a four-year sentence for her crimes.
The sentence of 51 to 63 months was appropriate because Maxwell has never been accused of any sex offences – or any crimes, for that matter – in the period since the conduct at issue in this case ended in 2006, the filing claims.
The prosecution intends to produce a number of victim impact statements to push Judge Nathan toward a higher sentence, including Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Giuffre. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)
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