If Ghislaine Maxwell had hoped to receive closure on her legal fate before her 60th birthday, which falls on Christmas Day, that gift won't be coming. Still, the Jeffrey Epstein associate "looked happy" Wednesday upon finding out the jury in her sex trafficking trial hasn't yet reached a verdict and is now heading home for the holidays, meaning proceedings won't resume again until Monday, per the New York Daily News. The news came at the end of the second full day of deliberations for the jury of six men and six women. They didn't ask the judge to see any additional evidence until late in the afternoon, when the jury requested to see the testimony from two Maxwell accusers and a government witness, reports the New York Times.
Maxwell wasn't the only one who seemed pleased in court: Her lawyers also high-fived each other upon entering. The Times notes that "received wisdom" in jury cases is that if a verdict is quickly reached, it's usually a guilty one—meaning any delay could signal a rift in the jury. The South China Morning Post notes the jury must reach a unanimous verdict or risk Judge Alison Nathan declaring a mistrial. The prosecution has painted Maxwell as "Epstein's partner in crime," while the defense claims Maxwell is simply being used as a "scapegoat" for Epstein after his August 2019 suicide in prison.
Nathan did give the jurors the option to come back to deliberate on Thursday, but they declined her offer, sending back a note that read, per the Times: "No, thank you. Jurors have made plans for tomorrow." Nathan issued a warning to them before she sent them off to their families. "Please stay safe over the long weekend," she noted, per the Daily News. "Obviously, we've got the variant. And I need all of you here and healthy on Monday." Maxwell, who has pleaded not guilty to the six counts of sex trafficking and conspiracy against her, is facing a sentence of up to 70 years in prison if convicted. (Read more Ghislaine Maxwell stories.)