Judge overseeing Ghislaine Maxwell’s child sex-trafficking trial says she wants jury to sit every day until they reach a verdict because of rising Omicron cases

Ghislaine Maxwell confers with her brother, Kevin, during during her trial on December 6.Jane Rosenberg/ Reuters

  • The judge in Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial told jurors to sit every day until a verdict is reached.

  • Judge Alison Nathan said the measures were to avoid a mistrial in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Jurors are deliberating six child sex-trafficking charges and have been for close to 30 hours.

The judge overseeing Ghislaine Maxwell’s child sex-trafficking trial told jurors on Tuesday that she wants them to sit every day until a verdict is reached because of rising COVID-19 Omicron cases in New York.

“I must require deliberations every day forward until they reach a verdict,” US District Judge Alison Nathan told the court, due to the “highly contagious Omicron variant.”

Judge Nathan had also requested that jurors stay until 6 pm every day, but jurors rejected the request and asked to meet only until 5 pm, which the judge accepted.

She also reminded the jurors of COVID-19 protocols like wearing N-95 and KN-95 masks and social distancing. She said the measures were to ensure there would not be a mistrial in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.

In court, Judge Nathan had previously told jurors they’d have Thursday and Friday off because of New Year’s but on Tuesday, she left open the possibility of including weekend deliberations if a verdict was not reached by then.

Jurors began deliberating Ghislaine Maxwell’s fate on December 21, deciding whether she will be convicted or acquitted of six charges in her child sex-trafficking trial.

Prosecutors have accused Maxwell of trafficking girls with Jeffrey Epstein and of sexually abusing them herself. The allegations in the indictment focus on activity between 1997 and 2004, and concern misconduct against four accusers, who were as young as 14 at the time.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Judge Nathan, handed the charges to jurors on December 21 after closing arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys.

The closing arguments concluded three weeks of testimony, with just two days for the defense — far shorter than the six weeks the attorneys originally anticipated.

Here’s a rundown of the charges, including what jurors would need to agree on in order to convict or acquit Maxwell on each count.

You can read Nathan’s complete instructions for jurors here.

Read the original article on Insider