Maxwell is set to be sentenced for her December conviction for helping her then-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and convicted sex offender, abuse underage girls between 1994 and 2004.
Judge Alison Nathan on Monday ruled to allow in evidence the impact statements of seven victims, including a British woman who testified at trial under the name “Kate”, and Sarah Ransome, who was not included in the indictment.
Ms Ransome, 37, who was born in Johannesburg to British parents, alleges she was sexually abused at Epstein’s private Virgin Island in 2006 aged 22. She claims Maxwell, 60, was aware of the abuse, and in one case, she says, Maxwell forced her into a room where Epstein raped her.
She told The Telegraph ahead of the hearing that she was grateful for the chance for her statement to be read as she had “a lot to say”.
In a filing last week, an attorney representing Ms Ransome requested that she be allowed to address the Manhattan court in her capacity as a “victim of the sex trafficking perpetrated by Jeffrey Epstein” and Maxwell.
But Bobbi Sternheim, one of Maxwell’s attorneys, said that Ms Ransome did not qualify to speak as a victim in the case, due to the date of her allegations and her age at the time. Judge Alison Nathan on Monday, however, ruled against Maxwell.
Using a pseudonym to protect her identity, Londoner “Kate” told how Maxwell asked her to give Epstein massages while they were at Maxwell’s townhouse in Belgravia.
She allegedly led the then-18-year-old – dressed in a school uniform – to a back room where a naked Epstein “engaged in a sex act” before Maxwell told her accuser she was a “good girl”.
US prosecutors say Maxwell deserves between 30 and 55 years in prison, while Maxwell’s lawyers are seeking no more than five. The department of parole recommended 20 years in its pre-sentencing report.
In a plea for the judge to reject Maxwell’s plea for leniency, Ms Ransome writes to the court: “Maxwell is today the same woman I met almost 20 years ago – incapable of compassion or common human decency. Because of her wealth, social status and connections, she believes herself beyond reproach and above the law.
“Sentencing her to the rest of her life in prison will not change her, but it will give other survivors and I a slight sense of justice and help us as we continue to work to recover from the sex-trafficking hell she perpetrated.”
Judge Nathan will also hear from Virginia Giuffre, who settled a civil sex abuse case with Prince Andrew earlier this year. Ms Giuffre, who lives in Australia, is not expected to appear in person, however it will mark the first time she has been heard from since she settled the case against the Prince for a reported £12 million. Prince Andrew strenuously denies all allegations of wrongdoing.
Maxwell had also sought to bar Ms Giuffre, claiming she was not a “credible” victim due to the alleged inconsistencies in her story.
Maxwell’s lawyers had called for a delay to Tuesday’s sentencing after she was put on suicide watch.
Maxwell’s lawyers complained that she was removed from the general prisoner population at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), that she had been put in a “smock”, denied a pen and access to her case files.
Prosecutors argued no delay was needed because Maxwell did in fact have her legal documents. They wrote to the court that Maxwell was put on suicide watch after the heiress complained she was threatened by an MDC guard.
Attorneys for the US Government wrote that Maxwell was at “heightened risk of self-harm, particularly given her upcoming sentencing and sex offender status”.
“Although the defendant has claimed to psychology staff that she is not suicidal, she has refused to answer psychology staff’s questions regarding the threat she reported,” the US government attorneys wrote.
“While she claimed to the Inspector General to be in fear for her safety, she refused to tell psychology staff what that fear is.”
If Maxwell is given a more lenient sentence, she may be sent to the low-security federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, known for housing Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman.
However, the Bureau of Prisons may opt to place an infamous inmate like Maxwell at a high-security prison away from media intrusion.
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