Ghislaine Maxwell smiles behind mask and waves to sister as trial opens in NYC

British socialite got a prison makeover before facing a jury on sex trafficking charges

Justin Vallejo
New York
Monday 29 November 2021 20:01
Ghislaine Maxwell's Sex-Trafficking Trial Starts Monday
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Ghislaine Maxwell appeared to be in good spirits at the start of her trial on federal charges of trafficking underage girls for convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The British socialite seemed relaxed, played with her hair, smiled from behind her mask and waved at her sister as jury selection in the case began, according to press pool reports from inside the courtroom.

While her emotions were obscured by a Covid mask, Ms Maxwell’s animated display is a repeat of her previous appearance in a Manhattan courtroom two weeks ago where she joked with her defence team.

Once entering the court on Monday with “something of a bounce to her step”, Ms Maxwell embraced each of her four defence lawyers and continued her outward display of affection toward them seen during her 15 November appearance.

The spring in her step and fresh dye in her hair is somewhat of a makeover. In the first public image since her arrest, Ms Maxwell was seen with a black eye and greying hair earlier this year. The photo was included in a court filing in April asking for better prison conditions.

After being allowed to shed bright orange prison garb to appear before a jury, Ms Maxwell arrived at the court in a thin beige cashmere sweater, black trousers, and heels.

She appeared engaged in the proceedings of the morning session, spent a lot of time writing, and frequently passed notes to her lawyers, according to the pool reports.

Those lawyers included Leah Saffian, a longtime Maxwell family lawyer and old friend of Ghislaine. Ms Maxwell frequently leaned in to talk give instructions to lawyer Christian Everdale and chat privately with Bobbi Sternheim.

At one point she waved to her sister Isabel Maxwell, who was sitting a short distance away in the front row of the public gallery.

Only one actual member of the public was in the gallery. Due to Covid restrictions, the courtroom with 30-foot tall ceilings, wood panelling and dark marble was unusually empty and mostly filled by court staff, lawyers and members of the media.

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