Convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell's cellmate has made multiple claims of being offered money to kill Maxwell, lawyers for the Jeffrey Epstein accomplice say.
"One of the female inmates in Ms. Maxwell’s housing unit told at least three other inmates that she had been offered money to murder Ms. Maxwell and that she planned to strangle her in her sleep," Maxwell's lawyers alleged in a court filing Wednesday. They said that the inmate who made the threat has been moved to a separate housing unit in the Brooklyn prison where Maxwell is incarcerated, "presumably to protect Ms. Maxwell."
"This incident reflects the brutal reality that there are numerous prison inmates who would not hesitate to kill Ms. Maxwell — whether for money, fame, or simple ‘street cred,'" the lawyers wrote.
Maxwell, a British socialite, was convicted in December for sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl during her time as a close associate of infamous billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Her July 2020 arrest came years after investigations and litigation against Epstein, who allegedly operated an underage sex trafficking ring and raped dozens of underage girls.
In their sentencing brief, Maxwell's lawyers argued she should receive a lighter sentence for her convictions based on the alleged death threat and multiple other grounds, including her "difficult, traumatic childhood."
"Ghislaine Maxwell is not an heiress, villain, or vapid socialite. She has worked hard her entire life. She has energy, drive, commitment, a strong work ethic, and desire to do good in the world," her lawyers wrote.
They claimed that Maxwell's dysfunctional relationship with "an overbearing, narcissistic, and demanding father" "made her vulnerable to Epstein, whom she met right after her father's death."
"It is the biggest mistake she made in her life and one that she has not and never will repeat,” the lawyers asserted.
They also asserted that prosecutors sought to charge Maxwell with crimes only because of "strong media and public uproar" after Epstein escaped justice.
“The government faced an urgency to appease the renewed distress of Epstein’s accusers and to repair the tarnished reputations of the [Department of Justice] and [Bureau of Prisons]," the lawyers wrote.
“There would be no trial for Epstein and no public vindication and justice for his accusers,” they insisted. “The government now had a huge hole to fill: Epstein’s empty chair.”
Maxwell's attorneys are seeking a sentence below the 20 years recommended by the court's probation department, the New York Times reported. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 28.