Ghislaine Maxwell asks judge to keep jury questionnaire sealed to avoid damaging jury pool

Lawyers for imprisoned British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell won their first fight a month before Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam is on trial for child sex trafficking, convincing the judge presiding over the case to keep the proposed jury questionnaire under seal to prevent the jury from being convicted. jury pool is affected.

In court documents filed Tuesday, Maxwell’s defense team has asked U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan to seal the proposed jury questionnaire and preliminary investigation — known as a voir dire.

Federal prosecutors agreed to the request, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe writing in a two-page memo: “The defense respectfully requests that the joint proposed jury questionnaire and the joint proposed voir dire be filed under seal to attract media attention.” avoid that could harm the jury. selection.

“The government agrees to the defense’s request.”

Maxwell, 59, has been in prison since her arrest last July in Bradford, New Hampshire at her $1 million mansion. Her trial is expected to begin on November 29.

Ghislaine Maxwell (along with her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein in 2005) is accused of facilitating and participating in Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of minors by recruiting teenage girls as young as 14 to give Epstein sexual massages

She pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court in April

She pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court in April

Maxwell is accused of facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of minors by her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein by recruiting teenage girls as young as 14 to provide sexual massages to the convicted pedophile, who committed suicide in 2019 in a federal incarceration in Manhattan pending his own sex trafficking lawsuit.

Judge Nathan previously denied claims that a non-prosecution agreement Epstein reached with federal prosecutors more than 12 years ago when he was convicted in Florida protects Maxwell from prosecution in the Southern District of New York.

Nathan also disagreed that some or all of the charges should be dismissed for a number of other alleged flaws.

The charges against her came to light after the Miami Herald’s 2019 three-part series Perversion of Justice revealed the actors behind Epstein’s non-prosecution agreement after he pleaded guilty in 2008 to prostitution-related charges involving an underage girl.

Former Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta resigned shortly afterwards because several prominent figures – including former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew – were implicated in the scandal.

The Herald soon followed with an open records battle, which persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals to open a largely sealed scroll in a civil lawsuit filed against her by Maxwell’s prosecutor Virginia Giuffre in 2015, and her statements were released. .

The charges that she committed perjury in that case will be tried separately.

Maxwell, a British socialite, has been in jail since her arrest last July in Bradford, New Hampshire, at her $1 million mansion

Maxwell, a British socialite, has been in jail since her arrest last July in Bradford, New Hampshire, at her $1 million mansion

Virginia Giuffre, center, previously filed a civil suit against her and her statements were released after the Miami Herald published a series documenting how Epstein managed to get a no-prosecution agreement.  Giuffre is seen here with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in her London mansion when she was 17

Virginia Giuffre, center, previously filed a civil suit against her and her statements were released after the Miami Herald published a series documenting how Epstein managed to get a no-prosecution agreement. Giuffre is seen here with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in her London mansion when she was 17

Maxwell’s lawyers have previously said she demanded to be sued personally for the new allegations after the dial-up line was hijacked by QAnon conspiracy theorists at a previous hearing.

Her lawyers failed three times to convince Nathan to release Maxwell on bail after claiming that their client lives in poor prison conditions and has lost weight.

She had filed for a week’s reprieve until April 23 to formally plead for two additional charges in federal court in New York.

A document submitted by her lawyers states that this was to “allow her relatives to adjust their schedules and make travel arrangements to attend the court proceedings.”

But Maxwell’s alleged victims pleaded with a federal court not to delay her trial because they are suffering from “an enormous amount of stress.”

Prosecutors said two women who will testify against Maxwell cannot rest until the case is heard.

One feels “significant stress” while the other feels a “huge amount of stress” and plans to testify in person despite her personal obligations at the time.

They wrote: “The longer this case is pending, the longer the victims suffer from the fear of anticipating their trial statement and the uncertainty of waiting for a resolution.”

Maxwell's lawyers are now asking for the jury's questionnaire to be sealed en voir dire to avoid compromising a jury pool in her trial scheduled for November

Maxwell’s lawyers are now asking for the jury’s questionnaire to be sealed en voir dire to avoid compromising a jury pool in her trial scheduled for November

The trial is expected to last up to four weeks before the government can present its case, although federal prosecutors said they could “rest as early as week three of the trial, provided the cross-examination of witnesses extends the duration of the direct exams, ‘ according to court documents obtained by Law and Crime.

Prosecutors therefore demand that the judge “place only jurors who are available after the Christmas break.”

The defense, meanwhile, expects they will be able to rest after two weeks, although “that estimate may change after the defense has had an opportunity to review the government’s witness and evidence lists,” which were made available to defense attorneys Monday night. , after Nathan forced prosecutors to give the team the “identities of all unnamed co-conspirators whose names they intend to refer to during the trial.”

In September, Law and Crime reported, prosecutors claimed they only intended to refer to two alleged co-conspirators, but noted that this was subject to change.

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