(Bloomberg) — Ghislaine Maxwell is seeking to block four women who say they were victims of her and Jeffrey Epstein from speaking at her sentencing next week for sex-trafficking.
Maxwell, who is to be sentenced on June 28, asked US Circuit Judge Alison Nathan in a letter Friday not to accept victim impact statements from three women because they were not minors at the time they alleged they were sexually abused. She also asked that a fourth woman not be considered because her age wasn’t known at the time she says she was abused.
Maxwell, 60, was convicted in December by a federal jury in Manhattan on five counts, including sex-trafficking of a minor, a verdict that was hailed as long-delayed justice for Epstein’s victims. Prosecutors have said Maxwell deserves a term of at least 30 years behind bars, while she’s asked for a prison sentence of less than six.
Bobbi Sternheim, Maxwell’s lawyer, said Maxwell was convicted of trafficking underage girls, so the four women could not be considered her victims under the law. “The sentencing proceeding should not be a bully pulpit for anyone who claims abuse,” Sternheim said.
None of the four testified at Maxwell’s trial, and prosecutors did not mention them in connection to the charges against her. Maxwell did not object to statements by two women who did take the stand against her, and another who was described as one of her victims at her trial.
The four women’s “victim impact statements are unduly prejudicial, contain allegations not previously before the Court which serve to inflame the emotions of the Court and public,” Sternheim said. “Their airing during sentencing or any consideration by the Court in imposing sentence, would violate Ms. Maxwell’s due process rights.”
In a separate filing Friday, prosecutors took no position on these four accusers, noting that the government had not solicited their statements. Prosecutors said two of trial witnesses — Annie Farmer and another woman identified during the trial as “Kate” — intended to attend Maxwell’s sentencing and address the court.
During the trial, Farmer testified she was a 16-year-old high school student when Epstein molested her at a New Mexico ranch. Kate, a British national, said she was 17 when Maxwell forced her into a sexual encounter with Epstein.
Maxwell had objected to Kate’s testimony during the trial, arguing the encounters took place at Maxwell’s home in the UK, where the age of consent is 17. Nathan allowed Kate to testify about “relevant conduct” by Epstein and Maxwell, but not as a victim of a crime charged in Maxwell’s indictment.
Farmer, in her letter to the judge, called Maxwell’s unwillingness to acknowledge her crimes “like a black hole sucking in our precious time, energy, and wellbeing for much too long now.” Farmer said it was “heartbreaking and infuriating” to realize others had also been abused by the couple.
Accuser Kate said her statement that Maxwell’s actions were “cunning and premeditated,” saying the socialite had a “relentless and insatiable drive to meet the sexual needs of Epstein, at any cost to the vulnerable girls and women, upon whom she preyed and fed to Epstein and other powerful men.”
Virginia Giuffre, who the jury found was transported as a teen by the couple across state lines for sex, submitted her own victim impact statement to the judge. Giuffre has alleged she was a teenager when Maxwell met her at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and recruited her to give Epstein massages. She said Epstein sexually assaulted her during that first meeting and abused her for years.
“Ghislaine, twenty-two years ago, in the summer of 2000, you spotted me at the Mar-a-Lago Hotel in Florida, and you made a choice,” Giuffre wrote in her letter. “You chose to follow me and procure me for Jeffrey Epstein. Just hours later, you and he abused me together for the first time. Together, you damaged me physically, mentally, sexually, and emotionally. Together, you did unthinkable things that still have a corrosive impact on me to this day. I want to be clear about one thing: without question, Jeffrey Epstein was a terrible pedophile. But I never would have met Jeffrey Epstein if not for you.”
The case is US v. Maxwell, 20-cr-330, US District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
(Updates with excerpts from accusers’ letters in tenth paragraph.)
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