Prosecutors seek at least 30 years in jail for Ghislaine Maxwell
Ghislaine Maxwell (Photo: via Wikipedia)

US prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence former socialite Ghislaine Maxwell to at least 30 years in prison for helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse girls.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted in December of sex trafficking minors for the late disgraced financier and is scheduled to be sentenced in Manhattan on Tuesday.

Her lawyers have argued for leniency, citing a traumatic childhood and claiming that Maxwell is being unfairly punished because Epstein escaped trial.

They called for Judge Alison Nathan to hand down a sentence less than the probation department's recommended 20 years.

But in a court filing late Wednesday, the government argued that Maxwell should go to jail for somewhere between 30 and 55 years.

She has shown an "utter lack of remorse" for her crimes, wrote Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York.

"Instead of showing even a hint of acceptance of responsibility, the defendant makes a desperate attempt to cast blame wherever else she can," he said.

"Maxwell was an adult who made her own choices. She made the choice to sexually exploit numerous underage girls.

"She made the choice to conspire with Epstein for years, working as partners in crime and causing devastating harm to vulnerable victims," Williams added.

Maxwell, the Oxford-educated daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell, has already been held in detention for some two years following her arrest in New Hampshire in the summer of 2020.

During her high-profile trial, prosecutors successfully argued that Maxwell was "the key" to Epstein's scheme of enticing young girls to give him massages, during which he would sexually abuse them.

She was found guilty on five of six sexual abuse counts and her sentence could amount to an effective life term behind bars.

It will cap a dramatic fall for the former international jetsetter who grew up in wealth and privilege as a friend to royalty.

Her circle included Britain's Prince Andrew, former US president and real estate baron Donald Trump and the Clinton family.

Epstein killed himself in 2019 while awaiting his own sex crimes trial in New York.

In February, Prince Andrew settled a sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre, who said she had been trafficked to the royal by Epstein and Maxwell.