Ghislaine Maxwell, two weeks before her sentencing for sex trafficking, blamed her actions on parental cruelty and on her relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier whom she was accused of helping recruit and abuse underage girls, the New York Times reports. Maxwell's lawyers federal judge Allison Nathan who is set to impose sentence on June 28, that Maxwell's childhood was "traumatic due to her overbearing, narcissistic, and demanding father." They say that experience shaped her vulnerability to Epstein, who she met soon after her father's death. Maxwell, 60, was found guilty on Dec. 29 after a monthlong trial on five counts. The most serious was for sex-trafficking of minors, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 40 years. Two other counts carry maximum sentences of five and 10 years.
Maxwell’s lawyers asked Nathan to impose a sentence below a pending 20-year recommendation. They argued that Maxwell had spent much of her life being victimized by two men, both of whom are now dead. The story played out in a rarefied world of boarding schools and mansions on two continents. The lawyers accused her father, British media magnate Robert Maxwell, of an array of domestic misdeeds, ranging from long absences to cruel quizzes at the dinner table with dressings down for incorrect answers. They wrote that their client now faced sentencing because of her association with Epstein in the 1990s and early 2000s. “The witnesses at trial testified about Ms. Maxwell’s facilitation of Epstein’s abuse,” the lawyers wrote, “but Epstein was always the central figure: Epstein was the mastermind, Epstein was the principal abuser and Epstein orchestrated the crimes for his personal gratification.” Maxwell's 2020 arrest followed years of investigation and litigation that had focused on Epstein, who died in jail after his arrest in 2019.