GHISLAINE MAXWELL TRIAL: Jury asks for white board and sticky notes
NEW YORK - The jury deliberating the fate of Ghislaine Maxwell at her sex trafficking trial requested a white board and different colored sticky notes Monday as it signaled that it had plenty of work to do after a long holiday weekend.
Jurors in the Lower Manhattan federal court also requested the transcripts of some trial testimony and the definition of "incitement." Judge Alison J. Nathan referred them to her legal instructions that she read to them just before they began deliberations a week ago.
The jury deliberated for the third full day before asking to be dismissed at 5 p.m., FOX 5 NY learned. The jurors gave little hint of their overall progress on six charges, including a sex trafficking count that carries a potential penalty of up to 40 years in prison for the British socialite who turned 60 behind bars on Saturday.
The federal courthouse had stricter anti-COVID rules as of Monday as the number of COVID cases surges in the region.
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Judge Nathan told the jury when it was sent home for the holiday last week that with the surge in the omicron variant, the court would take extra measures to protect the health of everyone there including a requirement that protective masks be worn. She offered to give them the masks to protect themselves and others through the weekend.
The court heard over two dozen witnesses and viewed dozens of exhibits over three weeks.
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Attorneys for Ghislaine Maxwell confer over the jury's request for a white board and colored sticky notes. (Sketch by Jane Rosenberg)
Prosecutors said in their closing arguments last Monday that the crucial evidence was the testimony of four women who say they were sexually abused as teenagers by financier Epstein with help from Maxwell when she was his girlfriend, and later when she morphed into his close confidante and an employee valued highly enough that he gave her over $20 million.
Prosecutors called her the "lady of the house" from 1994 to 2004, saying she recruited and groomed teenagers as young as 14 to meet Epstein's seemingly insatiable need to be touched by vulnerable girls who came from impoverished and despairing backgrounds or who counted on his claims of wealth and connections to aid their quests for success and fame in the performance arts.
Defense lawyers, though, say she was a U.S. government scapegoat after Epstein killed himself in the Manhattan federal jail cell where he was awaiting his own sex trafficking trial in August 2019. They said the memories of her accusers were corrupted by the passage of time and the influence of lawyers steering them toward multimillion-dollar payouts from a fund set up to compensate Epstein victims.
The jury already has asked to review the testimony of the four women, along with former Epstein housekeeper Juan Patricio Alessi, but they have given little hint of their overall progress on six charges, including a sex trafficking count that carries a potential penalty of up to 40 years in prison.
Alessi testified that when he worked at Epstein’s sprawling Florida home from 1990 to 2002, he saw "many, many, many" female visitors, appearing to be in their late 20s, often lounging topless by the pool. He also testified that two accusers, underage teens at the time, were repeat visitors to the Epstein mansion.
Each day of deliberations without a verdict seems to boost the defense team, which is aware that fast verdicts almost always go in the government's favor and that deliberations that stretch out can sometimes indicate dissension or confusion among jurors.
Last Wednesday, two defense lawyers gave each other a high-five.
Deliberations will continue on Tuesday.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attend de Grisogono Sponsors The 2005 Wall Street Concert Series Benefitting Wall Street Rising, with a Performance by Rod Stewart at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Schildh
With The Associated Press.