Citing COVID-19, Maxwell judge asks jury to work longer hours
The judge overseeing the case of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of grooming underage girls for deceased billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, said the Manhattan jury in the trial could deliberate for at least an hour longer if needed due to the “astronomical spike” in coronavirus cases in New York.
“We now face a high and escalating risk that jurors and/or trial participants may need to quarantine,” U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan told the attorneys of the trial, Reuters reported.
“We are very simply at a different place regarding the epidemic than we were even a week ago,” said Nathan. The jury will have until 6 p.m. to deliberate and will be afforded an additional hour if a verdict is not reached.
Jury deliberations resumed on Monday after they went on break for the holidays. After returning to deliberate the case, the jury indicated that they were not yet close to reaching a verdict and requested additional information from several Epstein accusers as well as Epstein’s former housekeeper.
Maxwell, 60, faces six felony charges for allegedly grooming young girls and causing “deep and lasting harm” to them. Prosecutors have accused her of being Epstein’s “partner in crime,” while her defense has argued that the accusers’ memories have been muddled by time and manipulated by lawyers seeking a payout from Epstein’s estate.
The British heiress refused to testify during the trial, telling Nathan that there was “no need” for her to speak.
Before and during her trial, Maxwell and her family have repeatedly attempted to have her released from jail, offering to put up large sums of money as collateral and even renouncing her British and French citizenships. Her requests have continually been denied, with Maxwell being deemed a flight risk and highly adept at hiding.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.