By Sandra Rose  | 

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Ghislaine Maxwell apologized in open court before she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for trafficking and grooming girls with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell was sentenced in a NY courtroom on Tuesday, June 28.

She was found guilty in December 2021 of conspiring to abuse and traffic girls with her ex-boyfriend, Epstein, who took his own life in a NYC jail cell in 2019.

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The 66-year-old British socialite insisted she was "fooled" by Epstein, whose client list included former President Donald Trump and Britain's Prince Andrew (below).

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"Your honor, it is hard for me to address the court after listening to the pain and anguish expressed today," she told the judge on Tuesday.

"The terrible impact on the lives of so many women is difficult to hear and even more difficult to absorb in its scale and extent... I want to acknowledge their suffering. I empathize deeply with all of the victims in this case."

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Prior to her sentencing, Maxwell was advised that her prison term would be shortened significantly if she cooperated fully with the FBI (and named names).

One of her victims, Annie Farmer, told "CBS Mornings" on Wednesday that she was 16-years-old when she met Epstein and Maxwell, and Epstein began groping her.

She said Maxwell's presence made her think she'd be safe around Epstein.

Other victims said Maxwell's sentencing provides closure for them.