Jury selected in Ghislaine Maxwell trial
A total of 12 jurors, plus six alternatives, have been selected for Ghislaine Maxwell’s New York trial on sex-trafficking charges, over two years after her co-accused Jeffrey Epstein’s in-jail suicide.
Maxwell, a former girlfriend of the late billionaire, is accused of having been an accomplice in Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls. Multiple accusers have alleged abuse at the hands of both Epstein and Maxwell, dating back to 1994.
The trial, which is expected to last about two weeks, ran into jury trouble on Monday, as two jurors appeared to get cold feet. One indicated financial hardship as a reason for needing to step away, while another said their spouse had surprised them with a trip that necessitated their standing down. The judge asked court officials to contact the first juror’s employer, and told the second to find other dates for their vacation.
The prosecution alleges Maxwell provided transport to properties owned by Epstein for girls she knew were underage. The late financier was found dead in a New York prison cell while he was awaiting trial on sex abuse charges in August 2019. The cause of death was subsequently recorded as suicide.
Interest in Maxwell’s trial is running high, given her and Epstein’s connections to numerous celebrities, a senior British royal, and several influential politicians.
But it has already garnered its fair share of critics, with many pointing questioningly to the involvement of former FBI Director James Comey’s daughter Maurene as one of the three lead prosecutors. A further issue to come in for criticism was an earlier court decision to redact certain evidence and transcripts on the grounds they would serve only to cater to a “craving for that which is sensational and impure.”
Maxwell has denied any wrongdoing, and her lawyers have described her as having been a “pawn” rather than having acted as an accomplice to Epstein.