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Ghislaine Maxwell trial: Judge says she’s concerned Omicron could threaten the case

The 12-member panel has now discussed parts of five days – about 32 hours – and plans to resume Wednesday morning.

Maxwell, ex-girlfriend and longtime partner of late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, pleaded not guilty to six federal charges: sex trafficking of a minor, soliciting a minor to travel to commit unlawful sexual acts, transporting a minor with intent intent to engage in criminal sex activity and the three related counts of conspiracy.

On Monday night, Judge Alison Nathan asked jurors to plan to stay at least 6 p.m. onward, an hour later than their usual departure time.

“We are very simply in a different place with regard to the pandemic than we were just a week ago, and we are now facing a heightened and escalating risk that jurors and/or participants trial participants may need to be isolated, thus disrupting the trial (and) jeopardizing their ability to complete this trial,” she said.

But the jurors sent a note saying they were in a good place to stop for the day and that they wanted to finish by 5pm.

“Our discussions are ongoing and we are making progress,” the note also said, according to Nathan.

The judge told lawyers outside of the jury’s presence that if no verdict is reached by Wednesday, she will tell jurors to clear their schedules for deliberation at the end of the day. New Year’s holiday week.

“Simply put, I conclude that proceeding this way is the best chance to give the whole jury as much time as they need and avoid a mistake due to the Omicron variant,” the judge said.

Four women testified at Ghislaine Maxwell's trial that they were sexually abused.  Here's what they said

Judges must be present for deliberation every day unless they are in significant difficulty because of an irrevocable commitment, the judge told the panel before dismissing them for the day.

If convicted of all six counts, Maxwell faces 70 years in prison.

Last week, jurors discussed for about an hour on Monday and all Tuesdays and Wednesdays; This week they are back for discussion on Monday. During that time, they ask the court to provide transcripts of testimony from “Jane,” “Kate,” Carolyn and Annie Farmer – four women have request form the core of the case against Maxwell.
The jury also requested transcripts of testimony from four other witnesses: Juan Alessi, Maxwell’s House Manager; “Matt,” Jane’s Ex-Boyfriend; Gregory Parkinson, a former Palm Beach Police crime scene manager who was present during a 2005 search of Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, Florida; and David Rogers, a pilot for Epstein and Maxwell.
Prosecutors presented a series of undated photographs at the trial showing Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein together.

On Monday, the jury asked for the definition of “sedition,” as part of two of the charges, and sent the judge a question about the travel-related allegation against one of the defendants. accuser.

Discussions limited to a three-week trial are emphasized by Testimony from four women, who said Maxwell recruited and prepared them to be sexually abused by Epstein and sometimes participated in that abuse. The abuse allegedly began when they were under 18, and their charges spanned from 1994 to 2004.
Epstein, an elusive financier who pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges of prostitution, was prosecuted on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019; he die by suicide in prison a month later. Maxwell, now 60, was arrested in 2020 and has been held behind bars ever since under close supervision.

What happened at the trial

The prosecution called 24 witnesses over 10 days to testify. Their case relied heavily on four women with personal stories of her alleged role in facilitating Epstein’s abuse.

Jane, testifying under a pseudonym, said Maxwell provided sex massages with Epstein and sometimes join Abuse. The charges of solicitation and transportation relate only to her testimony.
Carolyn testified that when she was 14, Maxwell touched her breasts, hips, and buttocks and told her she “had a great body for Epstein and his friends.” The number of child sex trafficking charges – the most serious of all charges – relates to her testimony.
Charges against Ghislaine Maxwell in her federal sex trafficking trial, explained
Kate testified Maxwell invited her to come and guide her how to give Epstein aphrodisiac massage. She said Maxwell regularly talked about sex with her and asked Kate to invite other young girls because of Epstein’s sexual desires.
Farmer, the only accuser to testify by her full name, testified that she was 16 years old when Maxwell massaged her topless breasts at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch in 1996.
Prosecutors have sought closely associated Maxwell and Epstein and said her actions to normalize sex massage were crucial to his scheme of international abuse at his properties in New York, Florida, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands belonging to the United States.

“A single middle-aged man who invited a teenage girl to visit his ranch, come to his house and fly to New York, was terrifying,” prosecutor Alison Moe said in the conclusion. “But when that man is accompanied by a classy, ​​smiley, respectable, age-appropriate woman, that’s when things start to seem legit.

“And when that woman encourages those girls to massage that man, when she acts like it’s perfectly normal for a man to touch those girls, that lures them in.” a trap. It allows the man to turn off the alarm.”

The defense called nine witnesses over two days to testify. Their case focuses on the lengthy cross-examination of four accusers, attacking their motives and memories of the alleged incidents. Maxwell refused to testify in his defense.

In the final argument, attorney Laura Menninger sought to separate Maxwell from Epstein, alleging that he had also manipulated her. She said the prosecutor’s case was based on speculation and distracting photos of Maxwell with Epstein, including some showing her giving him a foot massage.

“She’s being tried here for being with Jeffrey Epstein, and that’s probably the biggest mistake of her life – but it’s not a crime,” Menninger told the jury.

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