• Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers have asked for a sentence of just over five years in prison.
  • They said a fellow inmate said she had been paid to strangle Maxwell in her sleep.
  • Prosecutors have recommended that Maxwell serve 20 years behind bars.

Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers argued on Wednesday that she should spend fewer years in prison than the 20-year sentence prosecutors have recommended, citing alleged threats from other inmates and what they described as a troubled childhood.

One of their allegations was that a fellow inmate threatened to kill Maxwell, according to a pre-sentencing memo seen by Insider.

"One of the female inmates in Maxwell's housing unit told at least three other inmates that she had been offered money to murder Maxwell and that she planned to strangle her in her sleep," the lawyers wrote.

The inmate said killing Maxwell would be worth serving an additional 20 years in prison, the attorneys claimed. The report added that the inmate who made the threat was moved to another facility, "presumably" for Maxwell's safety.

The lawyers also said Maxwell's father, the late Robert Maxwell, was abusive to her. They described him as "a man of large physical stature with a booming voice" who would "explode, threaten, and rant at the children until they were reduced to pulp."

"Mr. Maxwell was relentless, with children ending up in tears, punishments being doled out, and the whole family in utter distress," the attorneys wrote.

Maxwell was arrested in July 2020 on suspicion of helping convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein arrange the sexual abuse of underage girls and of participating in the abuse herself. The British socialite has maintained that she is innocent.

In December, she was convicted of three conspiracy charges, one separate sex-trafficking count, and one charge of transporting a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.

Her lawyers said on Wednesday that she shouldn't be held responsible and punished for Epstein's deeds, calling the late financier the "mastermind" of the abuse. Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell in 2019.

"Indeed, had Ghislaine Maxwell never had the profound misfortune of meeting Jeffrey Epstein over 30 years ago, she would not be here," her lawyers argued.

The attorneys asked for a sentence of just over five years, far fewer than the 20 years recommended by probation authorities.

Maxwell, 60, faces a maximum punishment of up to 55 years behind bars. It was reduced from a potential 65 years when US Circuit Judge Alison Nathan ruled in April that two of her guilty charges overlapped. Nathan is scheduled to sentence Maxwell on June 28.

Maxwell is being represented by Bobbi Sternheim, Christian Everdell, Jeffrey Pagliuca, and Laura Menninger. 

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