Jurors in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial were sent home by the judge on Wednesday after a second full day of deliberation without reaching a verdict.
The jury’s departure followed a quiet day in the Manhattan courtroom where the trial is being held. Defense lawyers and prosecutors largely stayed on the sidelines as reporters, cartoonists and court security officers entered and exited.
It was not until about 3:45 p.m. that the jury sent their first note of the day to judge, Alison J. Nathan, asking for copies of the testimony of two of Ms Maxwell’s accusers and a third government witness. are supplied to them in a binder.
The jury’s nearly day-long silence was impossible to read, but Ms Maxwell’s lawyers and the defendant herself seemed more enraged when they entered the courtroom in the late afternoon to hear the judge. Two of Ms Maxwell’s lawyers congratulated each other.
The received wisdom in courthouses is that quick jury decisions are usually guilty verdicts, with longer deliberations signaling confusion, lack of consensus, or a complicated split decision.
But when there are few notes from a jury, attempts to guess her inclinations are often unsuccessful, and the jury in Ms Maxwell’s case must analyze three weeks of complex testimony and assess six separate counts. Jurors gave no indication that there was a disagreement between them.
Judge Nathan gave the jury a chance to deliberate Thursday, even though the courthouse would technically be closed for the holidays. In a note published Wednesday after their request for testimony, the jurors declined the offer.
âNo, thank you,â they wrote. After an asterisk, they clarified: âThe jurors have made plans for tomorrow.
Ms Maxwell, who turns 60 on Christmas Day, has pleaded not guilty to all six counts, including sex trafficking and conspiracy, due to what prosecutors say is her role in recruiting and grooming girls for sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier who was her longtime companion.
Ms Maxwell’s trial has been widely viewed as the courtroom believing Mr Epstein never had: he died in August 2019 after being found hanged in a Manhattan jail cell where he awaited trial for sex trafficking.
Ms Maxwell’s trial will resume on Monday, starting its fifth week. During its deliberations last Tuesday, the jury made several requests to the judge, who at least suggested some of the topics the jurors could discuss.
In a note, the jury asked for an FBI document summarizing a 2007 interview with one of Ms Maxwell’s accusers, who was only identified by her first name, Carolyn. The indictment accuses Carolyn of being a victim of Ms Maxwell’s sex trafficking.
Ms Maxwell’s attorneys, while cross-examining Carolyn, attempted to show that her testimony at trial conflicted somewhat with statements she made in the 2007 interview. The judge told the jury that the FBI summary was not admitted as evidence and said the testimony about it was in the trial transcript they had.
In a separate note later Tuesday, the jury asked if they could take into account the testimony of another accuser, Annie Farmer, who used her real name when testifying at trial, weighing two of the counts. conspiracy charge against Mrs. Maxwell.
Understanding the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell
A confidant of Epstein. Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of a British media mogul and once a fixture on New York’s social scene, was a longtime companion of Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide after his arrest for sex trafficking in 2019.
The parties strongly disagreed on how to respond comprehensively.
“The correct answer is yes,” prosecutor Maurene Comey told the judge.
“I don’t think that’s correct at all,” defense attorney Christian Everdell began to respond.
The argument lasted a few minutes.
âYour Honor, the jury asked a very simple yes or no question,â Ms. Comey said. “They need a very simple answer.”
Judge Nathan wrote a short response for the jury: âI’ll say, ‘I got your mark. The answer is yes, you can consider it. “
On Wednesday afternoon, gathered in the courtroom shortly before 4:30 p.m., a few jurors glanced at the clock at the back of the room as Judge Nathan gave his usual instructions that the jury should not should not discuss the matter or consume news media. about it, and that jurors should keep an open mind.
She also told them about a new rule that will go into effect: As of Monday, N95 masks, or masks of similar quality, would be required for everyone in the courthouse. Most jurors wore fabric or surgical masks during the trial.
“Please stay safe over the long weekend,” the judge told jurors before firing them. “Obviously we have the variant, and I need all of you here and healthy Monday.” “
After the jury left, Ms Maxwell hugged her lawyers before being escorted out of the courtroom. She remains jailed without bond in a federal detention center in Brooklyn.