Powerful men who have escaped scrutiny may well be alarmed by the Maxwell verdict

Prosecutors and judges habitually brandish the spectre of draconian sentences in the hope that the defendant or, in this case, the guilty individual, will spill the beans on related cases, writes Mary Dejevsky

Thursday 30 December 2021 17:02
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<p>‘The prospect of multiple life-sentences could change Maxwell’s mind’ </p>

‘The prospect of multiple life-sentences could change Maxwell’s mind’

For a legal case of some complexity, the prosecution of Ghislaine Maxwell was done and dusted with surprising dispatch. After a trial lasting less than three weeks, the jury spent just 40 hours on its deliberations before returning five guilty verdicts and only one acquittal on the charges of grooming and sex-trafficking before it.

Members of her family – who had been in court for the duration – seemed taken aback by the verdicts, and announced her intention to appeal against convictions that could mean she spends the rest of her life in prison.

The most immediate question now will be whether the unanimity of the verdicts and the likely severity of the sentence will precipitate the sort of plea-bargaining that is common in the US justice system.

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