Ghislaine Maxwell Smiles, Jokes in Court Before Jury Selection
(Bloomberg) -- Ghislaine Maxwell appeared smiling and relaxed in a New York courtroom where hundreds of potential jurors will soon be winnowed down to the dozen who will decide her fate.
Maxwell came to Manhattan federal court on Monday dressed in her own clothes, rather than prison fatigues, for the first time since she pleaded not guilty to trafficking underage girls for sexual abuse by her former boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein. Wearing a black turtleneck sweater and gray slacks, the British socialite chatted and joked with her defense team. After the hearing ended, Maxwell leaned in and whispered something to lawyer Jeffrey Pagliuca, who laughed and brushed strands of hair out of her face with his hand.
Monday’s hearing largely focused on the logistics by which the jury in the case will be selected. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan said 231 potential jurors, pared down from an initial pool of 600, will return on Tuesday for individual questioning. Jury candidates previously filled out questionnaires inquiring about their knowledge of the case as well as whether they or anyone close to them had ever been a victim or accused of sexual harassment, abuse or assault.
Nathan has said she wants to have a jury of 12 people and six alternates hear the case, with opening statements set to begin on Nov. 29 and the trial continuing through the holidays. Maxwell faces as many as 40 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge against her.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.