Ghislaine Maxwell jury must meet New Year's Eve if there is no verdict

NEW YORK (AP), Jurors deciding the fate of Ghislaine Maxill at her sextrafficking trial were informed Wednesday that they would need to work through the New Years holiday. This was the latest indication that a verdict is not imminent in the month-long trial.

Ghislaine Maxwell jury must meet New Year's Eve if there is no verdict

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan, citing an "astronomical rise" in coronavirus cases in New York City on Tuesday, explained to jurors in her presence why she asked them to work an additional hour every day throughout the week.

Minutes after arriving at the courthouse to begin Wednesday's deliberations, the jury wrote to the judge asking if they would also be required to work on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. The latter falls on a Saturday. Nathan wrote them a note confirming that they were, except if any of them had to deal with a "substantial difficulty" due to immovable commitments.

As it weighs the evidence presented by prosecutors, the jury requested transcripts from five witnesses to help prove that Maxwell groomed and recruited teenage girls between 1994 and 2004 to be used as a financial instrument for Jeffrey Epstein and her own sexual abuse.

Maxwell seemed to be encouraged by the lengthy deliberations. Her eyes lit up when Maxwell was asked by the jury to provide transcripts of the testimony of some defense witnesses. One memory expert testified that outside influences can cause memories to become corrupted over time.

Defense lawyers claim that Maxwell was made a scapegoat in the U.S. government's attempt to get rid of Epstein, who committed suicide in Manhattan federal prison in August 2019, while he waited for his own sex trafficking case.

Maxwell, 60 years old, was detained in July 2020. She was deemed a flight threat and has been held without bail since then. Nathan repeatedly rejected bail requests, including one for $28.5 million that would have required Maxwell submit to 24 hour armed guards at her home to ensure her appearance before the court.

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