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Ghislaine Maxwell trial 2021: When does it start and what is she accused of?

British socialite faces decades in prison if convicted of sex trafficking for Jeffrey Epstein

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 30 November 2021 14:51 GMT
Behind The Scenes Of Jeffrey Epstein And Ghislaine Maxwell

The trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is finally set to take place in New York City.

Ms Maxwell will be tried in the downtown Manhattan courtroom of US District Court Judge Alison J Nathan, beginning on 29 November.

Questionnaires have already been sent out to potential jurors in the case, with the judge conducting questioning of those jurors from 16 November to 19 November.

The questionnaires generally ask a potential juror if they have prior knowledge of a criminal case, if they know anyone connected to the case, and if they or anyone they know has been the victims of crime.

The final examination of jurors ahead of selection will not take place until 29 November, the judge has said.

Ms Maxwell, who is the daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell, has been held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center since her arrest in July 2020.

She is accused of procuring underage girls for multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein to abuse in the 1990s and early 2000s, and has pleaded not guilty. She has firmly denied the allegations against her.

Federal prosecutors have charged her with conspiracy and enticing minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and the transportation of minors to engage in criminal sexual activity for allegedly grooming and recruiting underage girls from 1994 through 1997.

She is also being charged with sex trafficking of a minor from 2001 to 2004, in addition to one count of sex trafficking conspiracy.

The 59-year-old’s trial was originally scheduled for July, but Judge Nathan agreed to a postponement after prosecutors charged her in a superseding indictment, which included new counts of sex trafficking.

Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, announces charges against Ghislaine Maxwell during a July 2, 2020, press conference in New York City (AFP via Getty Images)

Her trial will deal only with the sex-related charges, and she faces a second trial at a later date on the perjury case.

The first trial is expected to last around six weeks, with Ms Maxwell facing decades in prison if convicted.

She has asked judges on five occasions to let her out on bail, complaining about the conditions in the prison.

Her lawyers have argued that she was charged only because Epstein died in a Manhattan prison cell in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.

A medical examiner ruled the 66-year-old’s death a suicide.

Prosecutors had charged Epstein with running a sex trafficking operation between 2002 and 2005 at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.

Ms Maxwell has reportedly not been offered a plea deal, and Judge Nathan has ruled that prosecutors can refer to Ms Maxwell’s accusers as “minors” and “victims” before the jury.

The judge also ruled that the accusers, who are all women, can use pseudonyms during the trial.

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