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As victims of convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell prepare to share their experiences of abuse and trauma at her sentencing hearing Tuesday, lawyers for Maxwell tried to make a case that she has been a positive influence on other jail inmates, offering to teach yoga and more.
Another inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City wrote in a letter submitted to the court that Maxwell also volunteered to teach English and help others get GED certificates.
The letter from the person in jail was submitted Sunday ahead of Maxwell’s scheduled sentencing, when she faces decades in prison.
Maxwell, 60, was convicted in December of five federal sex trafficking charges related to her role in recruiting and grooming teenage girls sexually abused by convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein.
A federal judge, who has granted permission for some victims to speak at Maxwell’s sentencing should they choose to do so, ruled Monday that others could also be permitted to speak.
The inmate who wrote positively about Maxwell wrote that she introduced herself to people in the jail unit, which took people by surprise.
“Within one week of Maxwell arriving, she had volunteered to teach ESL, teach yoga, and help women with their GED. I believe it’s important to know that there are also positive opinions, some of which are among inmates in the unit,” the letter reads.
Federal prosecutors said in court documents filed last week that Maxwell should be sentenced to a minimum of 30 years and up to 55 years for her “instrumental role in the horrific sexual abuse of multiple young teenage girls.”
Maxwell’s attorneys have argued for a sentence of less than the 20 years recommended by probation officials, and they have said Maxwell shouldn’t be sentenced as a proxy for Epstein.
Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 as he faced federal sex trafficking charges.
Federal prosecutors have said in sentencing documents that Maxwell conspired with Epstein in an extensive child exploitation scheme that caused devastating harm. They called claims that Maxwell is being sentenced as a proxy for Epstein “absurd and offensive.”
“The Government agrees that the defendant should be sentenced for her own conduct: she committed terrible crimes that caused irreparable harm to vulnerable children,” prosecutors wrote in the sentencing submission.
One of the victims, Annie Farmer, who testified at Maxwell’s trial, wrote in a statement filed in court that she has suffered lifelong impacts from the abuse and that it continued as she took the stand at trial.
“Given the shame and self-doubt that these injuries had already caused, this all felt like a retraumatization — one that could have been easily avoided had she told the truth,” Farmer wrote.
Another victim, Virginia Giuffre, wrote in a statement filed in court that the pain Maxwell caused is “almost indescribable.”
“Nightmares wake me at all hours. In those dreams, I relive the awful things you and others did to me and the things you forced me to do,” she wrote. “Those memories will never go away.”