Ghislaine Maxwell’s Jury Pool Asked About Bias Against the Rich
(Bloomberg) -- Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers want to know if the potential jurors who will hear her sex-trafficking case resent the rich.
“Do you have any opinion about people who are wealthy or have luxurious lifestyles that might make it difficult for you to be fair and impartial?” U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan asked prospective jurors for Maxwell’s Manhattan trial on Tuesday. Only judges may address jurors in federal court, but the question was requested by the British socialite’s defense team.
None of those asked said they were biased against the wealthy, but one 72-year-old Manhattan retiree volunteered that he used to work as a personal assistant for a rich person, drawing a laugh from courtroom spectators and the judge. He suggested with a chuckle that he couldn’t possibly have a bias against the wealthy because “they provided me with my livelihood.”
A number of potential jurors said they’d heard of Maxwell or her former boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein, and several said they were aware of his suicide while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges. They were also asked if they or someone they knew had been victims of sexual harassment or abuse, prompting one young woman to describe how she reported that her friends had been coerced into sex by a college professor.
No decisions on jurors were made Tuesday -- the 12-person panel and four alternates will be determined on Nov. 29, when opening statements are set to begin.
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