Judge in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking case worried Omicron could threaten the trial

Judge Alison Nathan told the jury Monday night that they planned to stay until at least 6 p.m. 18.00 onwards, one hour later than their usual departure time. She expressed further concern Tuesday morning, citing the spread of Omicron variant in New York City.

“We are simply a different place in terms of the pandemic than we were just a week ago, and we now face a high and escalating risk that jurors and / or trial participants may be quarantined, disrupting the trial ( and) jeopardizes our risk. ability to complete this experiment, “she said.

A judge has expressed concern about the impact the Omicron variant could have on Mrs Maxwell’s trial. (New York Southern District)

“Therefore, an extension of the deliberations by one hour gives the jury more time each day to continue to engage in its thoughtful deliberations.”

The judge said she would raise the issue again later in the day if necessary, suggesting further changes could be made to the schedule if the jury did not reach a verdict soon.

“In light of the variant, my concern about interrupting the trial given the increasing daily risk of exposure to either a jury or a litigant demanding quarantine, it’s time to think about getting jurors to make plans to consider , until a verdict is handed down, “said Mrs. Nathan.

Ms Maxwell, the former boyfriend and longtime partner of the deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, have pleaded not guilty to six federal charges: sex trafficking with a minor, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and three related cases of conspiracy.
This sketch in the courtroom shows Ghislaine Maxwell, in the middle, sitting in court at the defense table between two U.S. marshals sitting in the foreground, watching the trial in her sexual abuse trial in New York.
Planning changes have been marked to combat the spread. (AP)

If Maxwell is convicted of all six counts, she risks up to 70 years in prison.

At the time, they were asking the court to give the transcripts of testimonies from “Jane”, “Kate”, Carolyn and Annie Farmer – the four women whose allegations form the core of the case against Mrs Maxwell.

Monday morning, the jury asked for a definition of “seduction,” which is part of two of the charges.

The judge wrote that the word meant to “attract, evoke, or entice by means of hope or desire.”

And during his afternoon hearings, the jury sent a question to the judge about one of the charges.

After a debate on how she should react, Judge Alison Nathan eventually referred the jury back to the jury’s indictment and told the parties in court that she did not know the significance of the question and that it was “too difficult to analyze factually and legally what they ask. “

The discussions cover a three-week trial highlighted by testimony from the four women who said Mrs Maxwell recruited and cared for them to be sexually abused by Mr Epstein and sometimes participated in that abuse. The abuse allegedly began when they were younger than 18, and their charges ranged from 1994 to 2004.

Ms Maxwell risks up to 70 years – or the equivalent of life imprisonment – in prison if convicted. (AP)

Sir. Epstein, an evasive financier who pleaded guilty in 2008 to state charges of prostitution, was indicted on federal charges of sex trafficking in July 2019; he died of suicide in prison a month later. Ms Maxwell, now 60, was arrested in 2020 and has been kept behind bars ever since under close surveillance.

What happened during the trial

The prosecution summoned 24 witnesses during a 10-day testimony. Their case rested primarily on four women with personal stories about her role that facilitated Mr Epstein’s abuse.

Carolyn testified that when she was 14, Maxwell touched her breasts, hips and buttocks and told her she “had an amazing body for Epstein and his friends.”

The child trafficking charge – the most serious of all the charges – relates to her testimony.

Kate testified that Mrs. Maxwell invited her over and instructed her on how to give Mr. Epstein a sexual massage. She said Mrs Maxwell often talked about sexual topics with her and asked Kate to invite other young girls to Epstein’s sexual desires.

Ms Maxwell pictured here with former boyfriend and sex dealer the late Jeffrey Epstein. (New York Southern District)

Mrs Farmer, the only prosecutor to testify by her full name, testified that she was 16 when Mrs Maxwell massaged her naked breast on Mr Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico in 1996.

Prosecutors sought to connect Ms Maxwell and Mr Epstein closely, saying her actions that normalize sexual massage were crucial to his international plan of abuse on his New York property. Florida, New Mexico and the US Virgin Islands.

“A single middle-aged man inviting a teenage girl to visit his ranch, get to his house, fly to New York, is creepy,” prosecutor Alison Moe said in concluding arguments.

“But when that man is accompanied by a distinguished, smiling, respectable, age-appropriate woman, then everything begins to seem legitimate.

“And when that woman encourages those girls to massage that man, when she behaves as if it is perfectly normal for the man to touch those girls, it lures them into a trap. It allows the man to sound the alarm bells.”

The defense summoned nine witnesses during two days of testimony. Their case focused on lengthy cross-examination of the four prosecutors and attacked their motives and recollections of the alleged incidents. Ms Maxwell refused to testify in her own defense.

In closing arguments, lawyer Laura Menninger tried to distance Mrs Maxwell from Mr Epstein and suggested that he had manipulated her as well.

She said the prosecution’s case is based on speculation and distracting images of Mrs Maxwell with Mr Epstein, including several that show she is giving him a foot massage.

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

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