NEW YORK — At her New York sentencing Tuesday, Ghislaine Maxwell addressed victims who had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein and herself, telling them she hoped her conviction would provide them closure.
“I hope that it brings you some peace,” she said.
Maxwell’s attorney Bobbi Sternheim went so far as to turn around from her podium and address the victims directly.
“I want to acknowledge the courage that all of you have exhibited in coming forward,” she said. “We feel the pain.”
But to both Maxwell’s victims and the judge presiding over the sentencing, Maxwell’s words didn’t go far enough. Nor do some of them feel that the Epstein/Maxwell matter should be considered over, given persistent allegations that they trafficked women and girls to some of Epstein’s powerful friends.
“Her statement felt like a very hollow apology to me,” Annie Farmer, one of four victims who spoke at Maxwell’s trial last year, said after Maxwell’s sentencing.
Maxwell’s remarks didn’t move Judge Alison Nathan, either, who sentenced Maxwell to 20 years in prison, which was above the sentencing guidelines for her crimes.
“What wasn’t expressed was acceptance of responsibility,” she said of Maxwell’s comments, noting that Maxwell had exhibited a “pattern of shifting of blame.”
Earlier in the sentencing hearing, four of Maxwell’s victims spoke about the impact her crimes had on their lives and their hope that she would receive a harsh sentence.
“She doesn’t think what she did is wrong, she is not sorry and she would do it again,” said “Kate,” the pseudonym for one of the victims who spoke Tuesday and who was also a witness in Maxwell’s trial.
After the sentencing, Kate’s lawyer, Bradley Edwards, who has long represented victims of Epstein and Maxwell, called the sentence a “major victory.”
‘It sends a really powerful message,” he said. “Nobody is above the law.”
But Edwards called on Epstein and Maxwell’s powerful friends, which include former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump as well as Prince Andrew, to come forward with more information about the crimes committed by Epstein, Maxwell and their circle.
Michelle Licata, the first of Epstein and Maxwell’s victims to speak with the Miami Herald for the 2018 “Perversion of Justice” series, which examined a remarkably lenient plea deal Epstein struck with federal prosecutors in 2008, expressed a similar sentiment.
She said she hoped the government would continue to push Maxwell for details on other participants in the sex trafficking scheme.
“By Maxwell not giving up the names of the people that participated in these crimes against underage girls she is telling the world that she doesn’t think she did anything wrong,” Licata said.
While she was gratified by Maxwell’s sentence, she believes that victims, who were kept in the dark by federal prosecutors in South Florida about Epstein’s 2008 plea deal, are still owed more from the government.
“There has never been a ‘real apology’ and ‘true justice’ for any of us,” she said. “It would be nice to hear from our own government that they failed to protect us and didn’t punish the people that did it when we needed them the most.”
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