Ghislaine Maxwell’s restrained confession may help her catch a big break, legal expert says

Convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, who on Tuesday was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, may have a possible path to an early release, according to a London-based lawyer who spoke with the Daily Mail.

The possible path apparently centers on a potential prisoner exchange with the U.K.

“For Maxwell, the US authorities have to agree to it, as do the UK authorities and there has to be a prisoner to swap,” legal expert Mark Stephens of the London-based law firm Howard Kennedy explained to the Daily Mail.

Assuming Maxwell can overcome this hurdle, she could wind up back in the U.K., a nation that allows federally convicted criminals to seek parole. The U.S. doesn’t.

(Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons)

This means she could wind up serving far, far, far less of her 20-year sentence. Why? Because “UK inmates get up to a third off for good [behavior] and a third off for remission,” according to the Daily Mail.

And so she could get paroled in a matter of years. How many, exactly? It depends on how long it takes for her appeal to be processed.

“She’s got to go through the appeal on the conviction and the sentence which is why she essentially confessed as best she could in her apology. She would have been advised not to admit any guilt but she tried to do something within the constraints of what she had,” Stephens told Daily Mail.

Maxwell’s attorneys have vowed to appeal her conviction and sentence on the grounds that all the public attention on her case had “left little room for her to be treated fairly,” as quoted by Reuters.

“We all know that the person who should have been sentenced today escaped accountability, avoided his victims, avoided absorbing their pain and receiving the punishment he truly deserved,” attorney Bobbi Sternheim reportedly said.

Stephens for his part believes the appeal will take two years. And so, Maxwell would spend two years going through that. Then she’d be transferred to the U.K. with 18 years left, and roughly 66 percent of her sentence — 12 years –would be cut.

“She would only serve five or six more years,” Stephens said.

All that remains unclear is why in the world U.S. authorities would exchange Maxwell for a U.K. prisoner. What would there be to gain?

What seems more likely is that Maxwell may try to take advantage of the State Department’s International Prisoner Transfer Program. Instituted in 1977, the program “is designed to relieve some of the special hardships that fall upon offenders incarcerated far from home, and to facilitate the rehabilitation of these offenders.”

(Source: State Department)

That being said, all this speculation is predicted on Maxwell losing her appeal. But what happens if she wins? Can she even win? According to criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, she most certainly can.

“She’s got very solid grounds for appeal. I mean, remember, it may have been forgotten, but one of the jurors brought in his own personal experiences and said that his experiences are what tipped the balance during jury deliberations in the favor of guilt. That’s clearly something that would be prejudicial,” Geragos said Tuesday on “Piers Morgan Uncensored.”

“The judge overruled those objections and denied the motion for a new trial, but she’s got a very good and live appeal, even though appeals are always a long shot in the federal system,” he added.

Listen:

All this is also predicated on the idea that Maxwell will survive the next few months. Some suspect she won’t even make it until the end of the year.

“She will be dead as well. I give it six months, she’ll have a hit on her in jail,” English socialite and model Lady Victoria Hervey told Morgan, referencing Maxwell’s deceased partner-in-crime, Jeffrey Epstein, who died while awaiting trial.

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In fact, in the days leading up to Maxwell’s sentencing, she tried to plead for leniency by claiming that her fellow inmates were trying to kill her.

“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,” Sternheim, wrote in a motion filed earlier this month.

“The inmate who made the threat has been moved to the SHU [special housing unit], 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.’”

“Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Tuesday for carrying out a years-long scheme with her longtime confidante Jeffrey Epstein to groom and sexually abuse underage girls. Maxwell, 60, did not testify in her defense during the trial late last year, which ended with her conviction on five counts, including sex trafficking of a minor,” CNN reported.

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