The public and the media can attend the jury selection of Ghislaine Maxwell

A judge on Thursday rejected British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s proposal to bar the public and media from jury selection at her New York trial on charges she recruited teenage girls for financier Jeffrey Epstein to for the purpose of sexual abuse. U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan told reporters and the public will be allowed to view the selection proceedings next month via video streams to a crowded courtroom and courthouse press room. She said two reporters from the pool would be allowed into the courtroom as she questioned potential jurors. been put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Journalists’ Committee for Press Freedom, a consortium of journalists and more than a dozen news agencies wrote to the judge on Wednesday opposing the defense’s request to select jurors in secret. all know that there has been intense media and public interest in this matter. … These procedures will secure First Amendment public access rights, as necessary and required by law, ”Nathan said on a pre-trial conference call. Nathan also denied a defense request to block the public from seeing the blank questionnaire that will be given to around 600 people who will be called as potential jurors in the high-profile case. 12 lead jurors and six alternates are scheduled to start on November 4, with opening statements scheduled for November 29. When selecting the lead jurors, the defense will have 10 peremptory challenges and the prosecution will have six, Nathan said. For the substitutes, each part will have three challenges. Maxwell’s lawyers have argued to question potential jurors behind closed doors, as they may be asked to disclose sensitive information, such as if they have been sexually abused. Nathan said she would make adjustments on a case-by-case basis to “ensure the frankness of the jurors and the confidentiality of the jurors on the project.” prejudices, difficulties, personal relationships and knowledge of the case will lead people to find their way through the jury process. She likened it to a “home exam” in which jurors could fill out the answers they felt would best position them for selection. Nathan, who will be conducting an individual follow-up questioning Nov. 16-19 with potential jurors who survive the quiz phase, replied, “If a swear lies and is dishonest, we’re going to smoke this.” And the fact that this questionnaire is publicly documented will neither increase nor decrease such probability. Maxwell, whose father was a British press baron, pleaded not guilty to charges of recruiting teenage girls from 1994 to 2004 to be sexually abused by Epstein in encounters sometimes described as sexualized massages. A revised indictment filed in March included allegations that she had prepared a 14-year-old girl to recruit other young women in exchange for money. Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan federal dungeon in August 2019, a month after his arrest for sex trafficking. Maxwell, 59, joined the conference call Thursday from an empty room at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she has been held since her July 2020 arrest in New Hampshire. She didn’t say much except to complain about the bad connection on the call and to assure the judge that she was still on the line when another communication mishap occurred. Previous cover: Judge sets Ghislaine Maxwell trial start date Judge seeks answers for Ghislaine Maxwell’s prison treatment

A judge on Thursday rejected British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s offer to bar the public and media from jury selection in her New York trial on charges she recruited teenage girls for financier Jeffrey Epstein to for the purpose of sexual abuse.

United States District Judge Alison J. Nathan said the press and the public would be allowed to view the selection proceedings next month via video streams to an overwhelmed courtroom and press room at the courthouse. She said two reporters from the pool would be allowed into the courtroom as she questioned potential jurors.

In deciding the matter, Nathan said she is working to balance the public’s right to access court proceedings with health measures, such as adding extra space between parties, which have been put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Journalists’ Committee for Press Freedom, a consortium of journalists and more than a dozen news agencies wrote to the judge on Wednesday opposing the defense’s request to select jurors in secret.

“We are all aware that there has been intense media and public interest in this matter.… These procedures will secure First Amendment rights to public access as necessary and required by law,” said Nathan on a pre-trial conference call.

Nathan also rejected a defense request to prevent the public from seeing the blank questionnaire that will be given to around 600 people who will be called as potential jurors in the high-profile case.

The selection of 12 lead jurors and six alternates is expected to begin on November 4, with opening statements scheduled for November 29. When selecting the lead jurors, the defense will have 10 peremptory challenges and the prosecution will have six, Nathan said. For alternates, each side will get three challenges.

Maxwell’s lawyers have argued to question potential jurors behind closed doors, as they may be asked to disclose sensitive information, such as whether they have been sexually abused. Nathan said she would make adjustments on a case-by-case basis to “ensure juror candor and project juror confidentiality.”

Maxwell’s attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, said letting the public see the blank version of the questionnaire, which is used to screen the jury panel for bias, hardship, personal connections and knowledge of the case, will lead to people pushing their way through the jury process. She likened it to a “home exam” in which jurors could fill out the answers they felt would best position them for selection.

Nathan, who will be leading one-on-one follow-up questions Nov. 16-19 with potential jurors who survive the quiz phase, replied, “If a juror is going to lie and be dishonest, we’re going to smoke this. And the fact that this questionnaire is publicly documented will not increase or decrease such probability. “

Maxwell, whose father was a British press baron, pleaded not guilty to charges of recruiting teenage girls from 1994 to 2004 to be sexually abused by Epstein in encounters sometimes described as sexualized massage. A revised indictment filed in March included allegations that she prepared a 14-year-old girl to recruit other young women in exchange for money.

Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan federal dungeon in August 2019, a month after his arrest for sex trafficking.

Maxwell, 59, joined the conference call Thursday from an empty room at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she has been held since her July 2020 arrest in New Hampshire. She didn’t say much except to complain about the bad connection on the call and to assure the judge she was still on the line when another communication incident occurred.

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