Ghislaine Maxwell likely to face 'death by incarceration', says legal analyst
Maxwell was found guilty of aiding Jeffrey Epstein's sex abuse
British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell faces a likely "death by incarceration" as a result of her conviction, a legal analyst has said.
Her team is already saying she is going to appeal her conviction Wednesday for setting up teenage girls to have sexual encounters with financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell, 60, was accused of recruiting and grooming four teenagers between 1994 and 2004 for Epstein, her former boyfriend, who killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges of his own.
She was convicted on five of six counts, including one count of sex trafficking. Lawyers for Maxwell, who faces up to 65 years in prison, vowed to appeal.
And according to legal analyst Mitchell Epner, she is likely to get between 20 and 25 years.
"Given that Maxwell is currently 60 years old, that is essentially death by incarceration," he told Reuters.
Maxwell's trial was widely seen as the reckoning Epstein never had and one of the highest-profile cases in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged women to speak out about sexual abuse by famous and powerful people.
"This is the most important trafficking conviction in recent history." said Epner, who is a former federal prosecutor. "Maxwell is somebody who was a real evildoer. She was absolutely essential to this ongoing, decades-long criminal enterprise to abuse children."
During the month-long trial, jurors heard emotional and explicit testimony from four women who portrayed Maxwell as central to their abuse by Epstein. Three of the four said Maxwell herself touched their bare breasts or took part in the encounters, which often began as massages.
"The defense had the problem that you don't go to war with the army you want, you go to war with the army that you have. They had an enormous problem in that Ghislaine Maxwell gave a truly awful civil deposition that boxed them into the position that she was just going to deny that any of this ever happened," said Epner.
Maxwell's attorneys sought to undermine the women's credibility, arguing that they were motivated by money to implicate Maxwell since all four had received million-dollar awards from a compensation fund for Epstein's victims.
But the women disputed those characterizations, saying they decided to testify out of a desire for justice, not money.
And according to Epner, the women were "very plausible."
The jury deliberated for five full days before reaching the verdict.
Maxwell will return to Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), where she has been held in isolation since July 2020. Maxwell has voiced concerns about her treatment at the jail, asserting that guards have disrupted her sleep at night and that the stench of raw sewage has permeated her cell.
The conditions at MDC are a far cry from the opulence that Maxwell, a daughter of late British press baron Robert Maxwell, had been accustomed to most of her life.
Once she is fully sentenced, she's likely to end up a medium security prison, according to Epner.
"It is not so-called 'Club Fed,'" Epner maintained, before adding, it "will be less awful than the time she is currently spending at the MDC."
Epstein's arrest and suicide drew attention to Maxwell's role in his abuses, and to the financier's relationships with prominent figures like former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, Britain's Prince Andrew and billionaire investor Leon Black.
"Given the success in this trial, the federal prosecutors who handled this case will almost certainly be given the latitude to pursue charges if they believe any are warranted against others," said Epner. "Success begets success and success gives you discretion to continue."