Ghislaine Maxwell’s 20-year sentence could be slashed if she is allowed to serve it in the UK.
Legal expert Mark Stephens said she would then come under British law rather than US rules, which forbid parole for federal crimes.
That means Maxwell, 60 – who is expected to appeal – may have to spend only a further eight years in jail, and could be free before she is 70.
Mr Stephens, of London legal firm Howard Kennedy, said: ‘I think it will take until autumn to appeal. Once the appeal is done, if she’s British she’s entitled to opt for the prison swap regime – it usually takes six to 18 months as it depends on a US citizen to be shipped back to America.
A courtroom illustration of Ghislaine Maxwell with her defence lawyer Christian Everdell during her sentencing hearing in New York City on Tuesday. She was sentenced to 20 years for sex trafficking
The sentencing marks the end of a decades-long fight for justice by victims of Maxwell and Epstein
‘She starts her remaining tariff on an English basis. Say it took two years to get here, she’s already served two years, she’s got 16 years left.’
He said UK inmates get up to a third off for good behaviour and a third off for remission, adding: ‘She would only serve five or six more years.
The legal expert added: ‘For Maxwell, the US authorities have to agree to it, as do the UK authorities and there has to be a prisoner to swap. I’m sure Kevin Maxwell and his sisters can afford to make the trip to the US to visit her but not everybody can. She’s not getting special treatment.’
Ghislaine was Robert Maxwell’s youngest child, born on Christmas Day 1961 She’s pictured with her father in 1984
But Mr Stephens pointed out there are lot of hurdles for the convicted child sex predator to overcome before she can contemplate early freedom.
Explaining the process for her to switch to UK prison, Mr Stephens – of London-based Howard Kennedy – told the Mail: ‘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.
As grinning Andrew breaks cover, Maxwell victims tell him: You’re next target
By From Sam Greenhill and Daniel Bates in New York for Daily Mail
Prince Andrew came under fresh pressure last night to talk to the FBI about his paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein following Ghislaine Maxwell’s jailing.
Her victims say the duke and other ‘cowardly’ Epstein associates who ‘hide behind power and prestige’ should be targeted by the authorities.
As a grinning Andrew, 62, broke cover yesterday for a horse ride in Windsor, one lawyer said he should ‘definitely be concerned’.
Maxwell, 60, is likely to serve at least 15 of the 20 years she was given in a New York court on Tuesday for doing ‘incalculable damage to young girls’ with Epstein.
The Duke of York smiled at the cameras as he rode through Windsor Great Park on Wednesday on a brown steed
The duke’s former associate, Maxwell, 60, was jailed for 20 years after a court heard how she trafficked vulnerable teenagers for billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein
Andrew was also spotted behind the wheel of his Range Rover as he drove through Windsor Great Park
The Duke of York, Virginia Roberts, and Ghislaine Maxwell at the socialite’s home in London
Yesterday, victims’ lawyer Spencer Kuvin said: ‘Our hope is that the government… prosecutes all the co-conspirators in this sexual conspiracy pyramid scheme.
‘This includes not only the people procuring victims, but also the alleged perpetrators of abuse like Prince Andrew. He should definitely be concerned. But if he did nothing wrong, then come forward and tell the full story to the FBI.’
Andrew has largely withdrawn from public life since reaching a £12million out-of-court settlement this year with Epstein victim Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre), who accused the duke of raping her. He has always denied the allegations.
In the 2000s, he spent weeks at Epstein’s villa in Florida – the so-called ‘House of Sin’ where ‘lady of the house’ Maxwell forced children to dress as schoolgirls for under-age sex with her boyfriend.
For more than two years, US prosecutors have wanted the British Government to set up a formal interview with the duke under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
The Home Office has yet to act, and a stand-off continues between the duke’s legal team and US prosecutors over the terms of any interview by the FBI in London.
Spencer Kuvin (left) and Lisa Bloom (right), lawyers representing Jeffrey Epstein’s victims
Legal sources told the Daily Mail the request had been ‘long-grassed’. One said: ‘It appears to be in the too-hot-to-handle tray.’
After his Newsnight interview in November 2019, Andrew pledged to ‘help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations’, but has not yet done so.
Maxwell, the daughter of media tycoon Robert Maxwell, met Andrew while studying history at Oxford in the early Eighties, and the prince later invited her and her boyfriend Epstein to Windsor Castle and Sandringham.
In New York yesterday, Brad Edwards, another victims’ lawyer, said: ‘There’s a lot of people who have a lot of information. We have said for a long time… they should be speaking and the time is now.
Brad Edwards, attorney representing victims, speaking during press encounter outside federal court in New York
‘Yet they are continuing to not speak, they are hurting victims, they are hurting survivors, they are not helping. There are a lot of people who have a lot of power and prestige and hide behind that and don’t come forward like normal good human beings. They are people that are cowards and I wish they would come forward.’
He urged the FBI to keep investigating. Asked about others possibly linked to Maxwell and Epstein, he vowed: ‘Let’s hope they’re the next target. If we have anything to do with it, they will be.’
Maxwell victim Sarah Ransome, who gave an emotional speech to the court about how her life was ruined, said: ‘The men that were involved in our sexual trafficking, the employees, the wealthy friends – you are as bad as Ghislaine.’
Lisa Bloom, a lawyer for victims of Epstein, who killed himself in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial for child sex charges, added: ‘We call upon the FBI to fully investigate Prince Andrew. Virginia Giuffre’s civil case should be just the beginning. Everyone associated with Epstein and Maxwell should be carefully investigated. It’s time for Prince Andrew to do the right thing, the thing he said he would do, and co-operate with the FBI so everyone who enabled Epstein and Maxwell can be brought to justice. Until he does, it is too soon for him to return to public life.’
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani, who is now a lawyer in Los Angeles, said: ‘I know Prince Andrew’s attorney. I know how they defend cases. There’s absolutely no way they’re going to make him available. They will make sure he never steps foot in the US.’
The FBI has said Andrew is a ‘person of interest’. Nick Goldstone, the UK-based head of dispute resolution at international law firm Ince, said: ‘For the FBI to escalate Andrew’s status they would have to consider bringing criminal charges against him – and in order to do that, they would need quite cogent evidence.
‘Unless or until charges are brought I do not think anything can be done to force Andrew to assist, so long as he doesn’t set foot in the USA or on US territorial soil any time soon.’
Last night, a spokesman for the Duke of York and prosecutors for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.