Prosecutors Ask That Ghislaine Maxwell Spend at Least 30 Years in Prison

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan, writing that Ghislaine Maxwell had made the choice to conspire with Jeffrey Epstein for years, “working as partners in crime and causing devastating harm to vulnerable victims,” asked a judge on Wednesday night to sentence her to at least 30 years in prison.

Ms. Maxwell, 60, is to be sentenced on Tuesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan. If the judge follows the government’s recommendation, she could spend much of the rest of her life in prison.

Ms. Maxwell was convicted on Dec. 29 on five of the six counts she faced, including sex trafficking, after a monthlong trial in which witnesses testified that she helped Mr. Epstein recruit, groom and abuse underage girls.

Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers, in a brief last week, asked the judge, Alison J. Nathan, to impose a sentence shorter than the 20 years that the court’s probation department had recommended. The lawyers suggested that the government had decided to prosecute Ms. Maxwell after Mr. Epstein’s jailhouse suicide in 2019 to appease his victims and “repair the tarnished reputations” of the Justice Department and the Bureau of Prisons, in whose custody the disgraced financier died.

The defense had also suggested that blame for Ms. Maxwell’s conduct lay with two men who have since died: Mr. Epstein and her cruel and intimidating father, the British media magnate Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991.

The government, in its letter on Wednesday to Judge Nathan, dismissed those claims, asserting that if anything stood out from Ms. Maxwell’s sentencing submission, it was her failure to address her criminal conduct and her “utter lack of remorse.”

“Instead of showing even a hint of acceptance of responsibility,” the office of Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, wrote, “the defendant makes a desperate attempt to cast blame wherever else she can.”

The prosecutors said Ms. Maxwell’s attempt “to cast aspersions on the government for prosecuting her, and her claim that she is being held responsible for Epstein’s crimes, are both absurd and offensive.”

“Maxwell was an adult who made her own choices,” the government added. “She made the choice to sexually exploit numerous underage girls.”