"Maxwell directly and repeatedly and over the course of many years participated in a horrific scheme to entice, transport and traffic underage girls, some as young as 14, for sexual abuse by and with Jeffrey Epstein," Judge Nathan said in a statement.
After Epstein took his own life back in 2019 while awaiting to stand trial, the case of Maxwell became even more prolific, with many eager to see someone involved in this crime take some kind of responsibility. Maxwell's lawyers argued that she was merely a scapegoat for Epstein and his crimes, while the prosecution called her "shockingly predatory", arguing that she deserved at least 30 years behind bars.
The four women who testified against Maxwell argued that she was a central figure in their abuse, whether she sought them out or convinced them to visit Epstein's home.
Annie Farmer, an Epstein victim who now works as a psychologist, said her experience being exploited by Maxwell "resulted in significant shame" that sometimes left her feeling like she wanted to "disappear".
Another victim known only as Kate, said that she will use her newfound empowerment to inspire her daughter, having worked hard to reverse the damage caused by Maxwell and Epstein.
"Today, I can look at Ghislaine and tell her that I became what I am today in spite of her and her efforts to make me feel powerless and insignificant," she said.
Maxwell's lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, said she would be appealing the verdict, claiming that the public scrutiny of the case "left little room for her to be treated fairly".
"We all know that the person who should have been sentenced today escaped accountability, avoided his victims, avoided absorbing their pain and receiving the punishment he truly deserved," Sternheim told reporters.