Hazleen Maxwell told her victims that she hoped her sentence would bring “a measure of peace and stability” just moments before she was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
The British socialite said that meeting Jeffrey Epstein was “the biggest regret of my life” and that she wanted to “acknowledge the grief” of her victims.
Maxwell arrived at the hearing in a prison uniform, with handcuffs around his ankles as he made his way to his seat in the courtroom in the Southern District of New York.
He was given a chance to speak and to the surprise of the court he chose to do so.
Maxwell refused to testify in his defense during the first trial.
He said in a lengthy and measured statement, “Your Excellency, it is difficult for me to address the court after hearing the pain expressed in the statements made here today.”
“I want to acknowledge this inconvenience (because of which).
He continued: “I know that my association with Epstein will follow and tarnish me forever.
“It’s the saddest thing in my life to have met Jeffrey Epstein.”
Maxwell described Epstein as “a manipulative, cunning and controlling man who lived a deeply divided life (and) who fooled everyone in his orbit.”
“His victims considered him a godfather, a guardian, a benefactor, a friend, a lover,” he said.
“It is incomprehensible today to think that this is how it is today.
“It has had a devastating effect on everyone close to him.”
He added: “Jeffrey Epstein should have been here first for you today. He should have stood before you so many years ago; in 2005, 2009 and then in 2019.
“But today it’s not really about Epstein; it’s about sentencing me.”
Addressing his victims directly, he said: “For you, for all the victims who came in and out of court today; I feel sorry for you.
“I hope my sentence will give you some peace of mind and help you put the experiences of so many years ago in a place that allows you to look forward instead of backward.”
Maxwell added that the effects of his crimes “torment me every single day”, and he hoped that punishment would “end this terrible chapter” and help its victims travel from darkness to light. Will help
But speaking outside the courthouse after the verdict, its victims and their representatives called the apology “hollow” and “disappointing.”
Anne Farmer, who personally testified in court during the sentencing, spoke to reporters.
“His statement seemed like a very hollow apology to me and he did not accept responsibility for his crimes,” he said.
“It’s as if she’s trying to do something to benefit him again and not at all.”
But he added: “We are very happy with the punishment.”
Ms. Farmer’s lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, said: “Personally, it was not an apology for me. He did not admit his crimes again, in no way did he accept responsibility.
“So it was really disappointing.”
Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobby Sternheim, described his client’s statement as “walking and pointing.”
“And everyone should know that anyone who is appealing against their sentence has the right to maintain record and appeal issues,” he told reporters outside the court.