No Verdict Yet, So Ghislaine Maxwell Jury Is Given a Holiday Break

The jurors in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex-trafficking trial were sent home by the judge on Wednesday after a second full day of deliberating without reaching a verdict.The jury’s departure followed a quiet day in the Manhattan courtroom where the trial is being held. Defense lawyers and prosecutors largely stayed away while reporters, sketch artists and court security officers wandered in and out.It was not until about 3:45 p.m. that the jury sent its first note of the day to the judge, Alison J. Nathan, requesting that copies of testimony by two of Ms. Maxwell’s accusers and a third government witness be provided to them in a binder.The jury’s nearly daylong silence was impossible to read, but Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers, and the defendant herself, seemed chipper as they entered court in the late afternoon to hear from the judge. Two of Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers gave each other a high-five.Received wisdom in courthouses is that quick decisions from juries are typically guilty verdicts, with longer deliberations signaling confusion, a lack of consensus or a complicated split decision. But when there are few notes from a jury, attempts to divine its leanings are often futile, and the jury in Ms. Maxwell’s case must analyze three weeks of complex testimony and evaluate six separate charges. The jurors have given no indication that there is any disagreement among them.Judge Nathan gave the jury the option of deliberating on Thursday, even though the courthouse would technically be closed for the holiday break. In a note on Wednesday after their request for testimony, the jurors declined that offer.“No, thank you,” they wrote. Following an asterisk, they elaborated: “Jurors have made plans for tomorrow.”Ms. Maxwell, who will turn 60 on Christmas Day, has pleaded not guilty to all six counts, including sex trafficking and conspiracy, stemming from what prosecutors say was her role in the recruiting and grooming of girls for sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier who was her longtime companion.Ms. Maxwell’s trial has widely been seen as the courtroom reckoning that Mr. Epstein never had: He died in August 2019 after being found hanging in a Manhattan jail cell where he was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.Ms. Maxwell’s trial will resume on Monday, beginning its fifth week. During its deliberations this past Tuesday, the jury made several requests of the judge, which at least suggested some of the topics the jurors may be discussing.In one note, the jury asked for an F.B.I. document summarizing a 2007 interview with one of Ms. Maxwell’s accusers, who has been identified only by her first name, Carolyn. The indictment charges that Carolyn was a sex trafficking victim of Ms. Maxwell.Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers, while cross-examining Carolyn, tried to show that her trial testimony conflicted somewhat with statements she made in the 2007 interview. The judge wrote back to the jury that the F.B.I. summary had not been admitted as evidence and said that the testimony about it was in the trial transcript that they had.In another note later on Tuesday, the jury asked whether it could consider the testimony of another accuser, Annie Farmer, who used her true name when testifying at the trial, in weighing two of the conspiracy counts against Ms. Maxwell.

Understand the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial

Card 1 of 5An Epstein confidant. Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of a British media mogul and once a fixture in New York’s social scene, was a longtime companion of Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself after his arrest on sex trafficking charges in 2019.The trial. The highly anticipated trial of Ms. Maxwell began on Nov. 29, 2021, in Manhattan. Her sex trafficking trial is widely seen as a proxy for the courtroom reckoning that Mr. Epstein never received.The prosecution’s case. Prosecutors say Ms. Maxwell psychologically manipulated young girls in order to “groom” them for Mr. Epstein. The concept of grooming is at the heart of the criminal case against her.The defense. Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers have sought to undermine the credibility of her accusers and question the motives of prosecutors — efforts they have indicated they would continue at trial. Ms. Maxwell has steadfastly maintained her innocence.The parties disagreed sharply on how broadly to respond.“The correct answer is yes,” a prosecutor, Maurene Comey, told the judge.“I don’t think it’s correct at all,” a defense lawyer, Christian Everdell, started to respond.The dispute continued for a few minutes.“Your honor, the jury asked a very simple yes-or-no question,” Ms. Comey said. “They need a very simple answer.”Judge Nathan crafted a short response for the jury: “I will say, ‘I received your note. The answer is yes, you may consider it.’ ”On Wednesday afternoon, assembled in the courtroom shortly before 4:30 p.m., a few jurors glanced at the clock at the back of the room as Judge Nathan issued her usual instructions that the jury was not to discuss the case or to consume any news media about it, and that jurors should keep an open mind.She also told them of a new rule that will go into effect: As of Monday, N95 masks, or masks of similarly high-quality, would be required for everybody in the courthouse. Most of the jurors have worn cloth or surgical masks during the trial.“Please stay safe over the long weekend,” the judge told the jurors before dismissing them. “Obviously we’ve got the variant, and I need all of you here and healthy on Monday.”After the jury left, Ms. Maxwell hugged her lawyers before she was escorted from the courtroom. She remains jailed without bond at a federal detention center in Brooklyn.

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