Ghislaine Maxwell said moments before being sentenced that her 'greatest regret' was meeting Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell said moments before being sentenced that her 'greatest regret' was meeting Jeffrey Epstein
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  • Ghislaine Maxwell said that her "greatest regret" was meeting Jeffrey Epstein.

  • She delivered the remarks moments before a federal judge sentenced her to 20 years in prison.

  • Maxwell, 60, also acknowledged the "pain and anguished experiences" of her victims.

Moments before British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison, she acknowledged the "pain and anguished experiences" of her victims and said that her "greatest regret ever" was meeting Jeffrey Epstein.

In a statement to the court on Tuesday, Maxwell also said the convicted pedophile was a "manipulative" and "controlling man" who "profoundly compartmentalized his life" and "fooled all those in his orbit."

A federal judge sentenced Maxwell, 60, to 20 years in prison for trafficking girls to have sex with Epstein and sexually abusing them herself. She was also issued a $750,000 fine.

During her speech to the court, Maxwell acknowledged the victims who gave impact statements, saying it was "difficult to hear and absorb" their stories, and that she "empathizes deeply" with them.

"It is hard for me to address the court after listening to the pain and anguish expressed in the statements made here today," she said. "The terrible impact on the lives of so many women is difficult to hear and even more difficult to absorb, both in its scale and in its extent. I want to acknowledge their suffering and empathize. I empathize deeply with all of the victims in this case."

"I am sorry for the pain that you experienced. I hope that my conviction, along with my harsh and unusual incarceration, brings you closure," she added. "I hope that this brings the women who have suffered some measure of peace and finality to help you put the experiences of those many years ago in a place that allows you to look forward and not back."

One of Maxwell's victims — who testified under the pseudonym "Kate" about how Maxwell befriended her as a teenager and introduced her to sexualized massages with Epstein — shook her head as Maxwell spoke in the courtroom.

Ghislaine Maxwell Alison J. Nathan
Ghislaine Maxwell is seen in federal court in Manhattan for her sentencing. Judge Alison J. Nathan on the right.JANE ROSENBERG/Reuters

But she stopped short of taking full responsibility for her actions. Instead, she spoke about Epstein and the "devastating impact" he had on the lives of those around him, and acknowledged her association with him would "forever and permanently stain" her.

"Jeffrey Epstein should have been standing here before all of you," Maxwell said. Epstein died of an apparent suicide in jail in August 2019, before he could be brought to trial himself.

Bobbi Sternheim, one of Maxwell's attorneys, also addressed the victims before US District Judge Alison Nathan issued her sentence.

"I want to acknowledge the courage that all of you have exhibited in coming forward at the trial and again today," Sternheim said, turning to the back of the courtroom to face the victims. "Your statements are immensely powerful. We feel the pain. We can only hope that the end of this case and the sentence to be imposed will give you some solace and the sanctity that you have the ability to move forward and beyond all of it."

Nathan noted Maxwell's focus on Epstein's actions, instead of her own, when she issued the sentence

Nathan said it was important for the victims to hear Maxwell acknowledge their suffering, but that her sentencing submission from her and her attorney Bobbi Sternheim did not include her expressing "remorse or acceptance of responsibility."

"Ms. Sternheim and Ms. Maxwell today acknowledge the courage of the victims who testified and who spoke, talked about the pain and anguish that they have expressed, to some extent acknowledged the impact on them and their suffering, and I think that is important for the victims to hear," Nathan said. "What there wasn't expressed was acceptance of responsibility.

Nathan said Maxwell's statements demonstrated a "pattern of deflection of blame," on her part.

A jury in December found Maxwell guilty of five of six sex trafficking and conspiracy charges after five days of deliberating.

Maxwell's family members and attorneys say they plan to appeal her sentence. In a statement to reporters outside of the courthouse following the sentencing hearing, Sternheim said negative media coverage of Maxwell made it impossible for her to get a fair trial and once again blamed Epstein.

"Clever and cunning to the end, Jeffrey Epstein left Ghislaine Maxwell holding the whole bag," Sternheim said.

Kevin Maxwell, one of Ghislaine Maxwell's brothers, who attended the hearing and much of the trial, said he had the "sincere hope that the trial, her conviction, and this sentencing, will allow the victims some closure."

Read the original article on Insider