Facing 65 Years In Prison Ghislaine Maxwell May Flip On Powerful Men To Get Reduced Sentence

Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted on five of six counts in her trial and faces 65 years in prison. Maxwell is 60 so she is looking at life in the slammer unless she flips and names names. She knows enough about powerful people that she could get a deal at sentencing if she delivers the goods.

Elie Honig, a former state and federal prosecutor explained how Maxwell could flip on Bill Clinton and others. He said: “Big question out there: will Ghislaine Maxwell flip, now that she’s been convicted by a jury? (Credentials: I flipped dozens of people at the SDNY, was co-chief of the organized crime unit, eventually taught new prosecutors the course on how cooperation works)

“First, will Maxwell want to flip? That’s an intensely personal, complex decision. Let’s consider incentives. She’s 60 years old, likely facing much or all of her remaining life behind bars, no real hope on appeal. Cooperation is her best and perhaps only chance to get out.

“Why might she *not* want to flip? Maybe she doesn’t want to give up others; maybe she’s afraid; maybe she’s resigned to her fate; maybe she hates the prosecutors; maybe she thinks she’s innocent. On paper, she *should* want to flip. But this isn’t always about paper.

“If Maxwell *does* want to flip, then the SDNY also has to want her cooperation. It’s rare — but not unheard of — for the SDNY to cooperate with somebody after a trial conviction.

“(Related side story: I once convicted an old-school Genovese capo of murder, he gets life. We then had the FBI agent go talk to him in prison to try to flip him, figuring mobster had nothing to lose. Mobster politely told the agent “No thanks, I’ll die here.” And he did.)

“In SDNY, cooperation is all-or-nothing. Maxwell would have to give up *everything* she ever did, and everything she knows about *anybody else.* No hedging, no holding back, no half-truths. If the SDNY is completely convinced she’ll do that, cooperation is possible.

“Note that the SDNY wouldn’t be cooperating her first and then hoping for the best. They’d fully debrief her first and decide she’s entirely honest and on board before giving her a deal. The SDNY doesn’t flip people on hope and credit. They make damn sure first. 

“The SDNY (and all prosecutors) prefer to “cooperate up” — use cooperators against more powerful players, not less. This is a preference, but not an ironclad rule. Here Maxwell was #2 and #1 (Epstein) is gone. So that’ll be tough.

“Which brings us to an unusual wrinkle. Maxwell *might* be able to give up information on others who were less involved in the conspiracy, but were otherwise major power players — men who knowingly had sex with Epstein’s underage girls, for example.

“The SDNY might in that scenario decide that it is worth it to flip her — but only if there’s a realistic way and prosecutorial commitment to charge those others, whoever they might be.

“That’ll depend on the willingness of DOJ / SDNY, and perhaps state prosecutors, to go after these powerful people, and whether relevant laws (statutes of limitations, etc.) still permit such prosecutions.

“Bottom line: Maxwell’s cooperation is not particularly likely, but it is possible. You’d need (1) Maxwell to be willing and fully on board, (2) SDNY to be fully convinced of her truthfulness, and (3) a realistic plan to use her information vs. others.”