Ghislaine Maxwell trial jury: What’s happened in deliberations so far?

The jury in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial began its fifth day of deliberations on Tuesday morning to decide the socialite’s guilt on six federal charges.

Ms Maxwell faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted on all six charges and ordered to serve their sentences consecutively. The top charge of “sex trafficking of minors” carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. Ms Maxwell has denied all the charges against her.

The case landed in the hands of the jury late on 20 December. Jurors deliberated for the next two days before taking a four-day break for the holiday weekend and resuming on Monday. Ms Maxwell spent Christmas – which was also her 60th birthday – behind bars.

Ms Maxwell is accused of recruiting and grooming teenage girls for convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein to abuse – and sometimes taking part in the abuse herself.

The defence has maintained Ms Maxwell’s innocence and claimed she is being made a scapegoat for Epstein’s crimes after he died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting his own trial.

Over roughly 24 hours of deliberation, jurors have submitted eight notable questions to the court which together paint a portrait of where the discussions stand.

Focus on accuser testimony

Jane

On its first full day of deliberations, the jury asked Judge Alison Nathan for transcripts of testimony from three of the four women who claimed to have suffered abuse at her hands and Epstein’s: Annie Farmer, Carolyn and “Jane”.

Jane, who testified under a pseudonym, said Ms Maxwell and Epstein befriended her at an arts school under the guise of mentoring the vulnerable 14-year-old who was broke and grieving the loss of her father. After making her feel special, the relationship soon escalated – first to sexualised massages with Epstein and then to other sexual encounters.

Jane testified that Ms Maxwell was sometimes “in the room” and joined in the sexual abuse. The teenager was also forced into sexualised orgies with other older women, she alleged.

Her testimony was the subject of a question submitted by the jury on Monday afternoon which drew significant confusion from the defence, the prosecution and the judge.

It was in regards to count four, transporting a minor – Jane, to New Mexico. Jurors asked, if they determined that Ms Maxwell aided in Jane’s return flight but not her flight there, could they still convict on that count?

The question sparked a debate in the court, including a lengthy discussion of a comma. The prosecution asked Judge Nathan to respond by directing jurors to the jury instructions, while the defence wanted her to reply, simply: “No.”

In the end, Judge Nathan sided with the prosecution and pointed to page 28 of the instructions because the question was so unclear. The decision prompted Ms Maxwell to drop her head into her hands at the defence table.

Witness “Jane” testifies in court on 30 November

Carolyn

Carolyn, who testified only under her first name, alleged that Ms Maxwell groped her naked body when she was 14, assessing that she had a “great body for Epstein and his friends”.

She said she was recruited to give Epstein sexualised massages in exchange for $300, with Ms Maxwell arranging the “appointments” for the underage girl and sometimes handing over the cash.

Under cross-examination, defence attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca sought to undermine Carolyn’s credibility, pressing her about why she did not mention Ms Maxwell in a 2007 conversation with the FBI.

Jurors asked the judge to see the record of the FBI conversation last week. Judge Nathan told the jury it was not in evidence, but they could review the trial transcript.

“In this entire first discussion with the FBI in 2007, it’s true that you never said the name Ghislaine Maxwell once, correct?” Mr Pagliuca asked Carolyn, according to the transcript.

“Yes, because it’s not who we were talking about,” Carolyn replied.

Carolyn’s case underlies the sex trafficking charge, the most serious count Ms Maxwell faces with a prison sentence of up to 40 years.

Witness Carolyn testifies in court on 7 December

Annie Farmer

The jury also appeared to be paying close attention to testimony from Ms Farmer, the only accuser to testify under her full name at trial.

Ms Farmer told the court that Ms Maxwell gave her a nude massage and groped her breasts at Epstein’s ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when she was just 16.

She said she had first met Epstein through her sister and believed he and Ms Maxwell wanted to help with her education.

In a note to the judge on Tuesday, jurors asked whether they could consider Ms Farmer’s testimony in weighing whether Ms Maxwell conspired to lure underage girls to travel for illegal sex acts or conspired to transport them for illegal sex acts, two of the six counts.

Judge Nathan informed the jury that because Ms Farmer was above the age of consent in New Mexico at that time, any encounters she described were not considered “illegal sex acts”.

That meant Ms Farmer could not be considered a victim of being transported or lured to travel for sex by Ms Maxwell – two of the other counts.

However, the judge said jurors could still consider Ms Farmer’s testimony in determining whether Ms Maxwell conspired to violate those laws.

Witness Annie Farmer testifies on 10 December

Kate

On their second full day of deliberation, jurors asked for a transcript of testimony from accuser “Kate”, who said Ms Maxwell first instructed her to give Epstein sexualised massages at the socialite’s London townhouse when she was 17.

Ms Maxwell then allegedly continued to set her up with sexual meetings with Epstein as the teenager was flown between his homes in New York, Florida and his island of Little St James.

One time, Ms Maxwell told her to dress in a schoolgirl outfit for the paedophile and she also asked her if she had other friends who could come to give him oral sex, Kate testified.

The other key players

Jurors have also asked for transcripts of testimony from four other witnesses.

The first was Juan Alessi, a former house manager at Epstein’s estate in Palm Beach, Florida. That request came in late on 22 December.

On Monday, jurors requested a transcript from Jane’s ex-boyfriend “Matt”, who testified under a pseudonym to protect her identity.

Matt, who lived with Jane from 2007 to 2014, said that Jane initially described Epstein as a godfather who helped her family pay bills after her father’s illness and death depleted their finances.

He said she eventually told him that the help Epstein provided “wasn’t free”, but did not provide any details about what happened.

When he was asked what her demeanour was like when he asked Jane questions about her encounters with Epstein, he testified that she was “ashamed, embarrassed, horrified”.

Matt said she also told him that she felt more comfortable in her encounters with Epstein because there was a woman around. Matt said he contacted Jane after Ms Maxwell’s July 2020 arrest and asked her if Ms Maxwell was the woman she had referenced as making her feel more comfortable in her dealings with Epstein.

He testified that she confirmed Ms Maxwell was the woman.

Jurors also asked for testimony from Gregory Parkinson, the police officer who led a 2005 raid on Epstein’s Palm Beach compound.

In addition, they sought testimony from David Rodger’s, a pilot on Epstein’s “Lolita Express” who testified that he saw Jane on the plane.

Jurors signalled that they’re discussions were growing more complicated on Monday by requesting a slew of office supplies, including coloured Post-It notes, a white board and highlighters.

At the end of Monday’s proceedings, Judge Nathan told jurors to expect to stay late until 6pm on Tuesday if they have yet to reach a verdict.

The defence balked at this instruction, saying it sends a message to “Hurry up.”


Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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