A Big Trial Begins, and It's Seen as a 'Proxy'

Ghislaine Maxwell's sex-trafficking trial viewed as a stand-in for Jeffrey Epstein's
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2021 8:36 AM CST
A Big Trial Begins, and It's Seen as a 'Proxy'
A 2013 photo of Ghislaine Maxwell.   (United Nations Photo/Rick Bajornas via AP)

Ghislaine Maxwell's long-awaited trial is finally here. Jury selection begins Tuesday out of a pool of 231 potential jurors in a Manhattan courtroom, reports ABC News. And while the focus will be on Maxwell and her role in allegedly procuring underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein, the federal trial is "is widely seen as a proxy for trying Mr. Epstein himself," according to a New York Times preview. Another preview by the AP also sees this as a "proxy" trial for Epstein, who committed suicide in jail. Coverage:

  • Keeping it simple: In one pretrial filing, prosecutors put things succinctly: “The question at trial will be whether the defendant took steps to provide Jeffrey Epstein with access to girls under the age of 18, knowing that Epstein intended to have sexual contact with those girls.”

  • Her side: "I have not committed any crime," the 59-year-old former socialite declared at a pretrial hearing. Maxwell also has complained publicly about prison conditions, including in a new interview with the Daily Mail in which she talks about being in solitary confinement for the last 16 months. 'I have not had a nutritious meal in all that time," she says. "I haven't slept without lights on—fluorescent lights that have damaged my eyes—or been allowed to sleep without constant interruptions."
  • At trial: Prosecutors will be able to use the word "victims," and Maxwell's accusers will be able to testify using pseudonyms to protect their privacy. Courtroom artists won't even be able to sketch them. The use of the word "victims" was a pre-trial loss for Maxwell's team. “In some criminal cases, the parties agree that an accuser was the victim of a crime,” her team wrote to Judge Alison J. Nathan. “This is not one of those cases. Rather, Ms. Maxwell denies that she victimized anyone. And there is ample evidence to support her defense.” The judge rejected the argument.
  • Prison time: If convicted on all the charges against her, Maxwell likely will never leave prison. She faces six counts, including allegations that she groomed a 14-year-old girl to have sex with Epstein in the early 2000s, reports NPR. In all, she faces about 80 years if convicted.
(Read more Ghislaine Maxwell stories.)

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