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Jury in Ghislaine Maxwell trial signals verdict isn’t near

Jurors at US court request additional transcripts, ask about definition of ‘enticement,’ as they deliberate sex trafficking charges against the alleged Jeffrey Epstein accomplice

In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell, center, hugs her defense attorney, Laura Menninger, immediately after walking out of lock-up after a four-day break, during Maxwell's sex trafficking trial, December 27, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)
In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell, center, hugs her defense attorney, Laura Menninger, immediately after walking out of lock-up after a four-day break, during Maxwell's sex trafficking trial, December 27, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

NEW YORK — The US jury deliberating the fate of Ghislaine Maxwell at her sex trafficking trial requested a whiteboard and different colored sticky notes Monday, as it signaled that it had plenty of work to do after a long holiday weekend.

Jurors in Manhattan federal court also requested the transcripts of some trial testimony and the definition of “enticement.” Judge Alison J. Nathan referred them to her legal instructions that she read to them just before they began deliberations a week ago.

The British socialite is charged with recruiting and grooming teenagers as young as 14 to be sexually assaulted by financier Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell’s lawyers say she was a US government scapegoat after Epstein killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan federal jail cell while awaiting a sex trafficking trial.

Maxwell, who was behind bars for her 60th birthday on Saturday, was described as a central component to Epstein’s plans by four women who testified they were sexually abused as teenagers by Epstein with help from Maxwell when she was his girlfriend and afterward.

Maxwell’s lawyers said the memories of her accusers were corrupted by the passage of time and the influence of lawyers steering them toward multimillion-dollar payouts from a fund set up to compensate Epstein victims.

The jury, which deliberated for two full days last week, already had asked to review the testimony of the four women, along with former Epstein housekeeper Juan Patricio Alessi. They gave little hint of their overall progress on six charges, including a sex trafficking count that carries a potential penalty of up to 40 years in prison.

A courtroom sketch of the main jury panel sitting in the jury box waiting to be dismissed, after deliberating during Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial, December 21, 2021, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

On Monday, jurors asked for the transcript of testimony by “Matt,” the pseudonym of a television actor who testified that he is the ex-boyfriend of “Jane,” the pseudonym of an actor who is one of the four accusers who testified against Maxwell. The judge had ruled that some witnesses in the trial could testify with only first names or pseudonyms to protect their privacy.

Matt, who lived with Jane from 2007 to 2014, testified that Jane initially described Epstein as a godfather who helped her family pay bills after her father’s illness and death depleted their finances. She was 14 when she met Epstein.

He said she eventually told him that the help Epstein provided “wasn’t free,” but did not provide any details about what happened.

When he was asked what her demeanor was like when he asked Jane questions about her encounters with Epstein, he testified that she was “ashamed, embarrassed, horrified.”

Matt said she also told him that she felt more comfortable in her encounters with Epstein because there was a woman around. Matt said he contacted Jane after Maxwell’s July 2020 arrest and asked her if Maxwell was the woman she had mentioned as making her feel more comfortable in her dealings with Epstein.

He testified that she confirmed Maxwell was the woman.

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