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Ghislaine Maxwell, the “jet set” dragged by Epstein’s sexual appetite

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New York (AFP) – Friend of the British royalty, romances with billionaires, Ghislaine Maxwell was the parsley of all the sauces of the New York and international “jet set” party circuit, although with an aura of mystery.

Now, she has been sentenced to spend 20 behind bars after a jury found her guilty in December of sex trafficking minors for billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial for that crime.

However, the sentence is less than the between 30 and 55 years that the prosecution requested for his “responsibility” in the trafficking of minors and the “total lack of remorse”, after recruiting between 1994 and 2004 young minors to be sexually exploited by Epstein, with whom he had a sentimental, friendly and professional relationship for almost three decades.

His defense had requested in mid-June clemency for his client and a sentence of less than 20 years.

It is a fall into hell for the daughter of the former British press tycoon, the almighty Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 under mysterious circumstances when he fell off his yacht off the Canary Islands (Spain).

During the trial, the prosecution described Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, born in France, with British, French and American nationality, who studied at Oxford University, as the right-hand man and accomplice of Epstein, whom he met shortly after His dad’s death.

Maxwell and Epstein erected a network to capture dozens of young people, from a vulnerable socio-cultural environment, for the sexual satisfaction of the financier, in exchange for money.

Ghislaine Maxwell at the opening of the Yves Saint Laurent store in New York in 2003
Ghislaine Maxwell at the opening of the Yves Saint Laurent store in New York in 2003 Evan Agostini GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Two of the complainants testified in court that they were 14 years old when Maxwell began approaching them, gaining their trust before proposing that they give Epstein massages and have sex with him.

Witnesses said Maxwell facilitated, and sometimes participated in, the abuse, taking advantage of victims he had previously made feel “special.”

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Maxwell’s name came under the spotlight in 1991 when her father – who was a member of the British Parliament for six years – fell from his yacht, the “Lady Ghislaine”, named after his adored young daughter.

After what seemed like an accident to the self-made Jewish businessman of Czechoslovak origin, whose family perished in the Nazi death camps, details of the financial problems of his conglomerate, the Mirror Group Newspapers, began to emerge, which clouded the name of the family.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in an undated photo provided by US justice.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in an undated photo provided by US justice. Handout US District Court for the Southern District of New York/AFP/Files

That didn’t stop Ghislaine Maxwell from leading an opulent life in Manhattan, rubbing elbows with economic and political elites and becoming a regular on the party circuit.

In his circle of friends, there were the son of the queen of England, Prince Andrew, the real estate magnate who became president of the United States Donald Trump and the family of Bill and Hillary Clinton, among others.

“Sophisticated Predator”

Maxwell was an expert scuba diver and helicopter pilot who founded the now-defunct environmental NGO TerraMar Project.

It is not clear how he met Epstein. What was clear, according to the witnesses who paraded through the trial, is that for years the billionaire financed his luxurious life, even transferring money to buy a helicopter.

Maxwell’s defense considers that his client was a victim of the nefarious influence exercised by both his father – “authoritarian, narcissistic and demanding” – and Epstein.

The relationship with the financier was “the worst mistake of her life”, recently assured the defense to try to soften the image -and the sentence- of who was described during the trial as a “sophisticated predator, who knew exactly what she was doing”.

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Written by Editor TLN

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