Judge Finalizes Jury Instructions In Maxwell Case

NEW YORK (AP) — Ghislaine Maxwell, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell appeared in New York City court Saturday for a rare weekend hearing in which lawyers argued on how the judge should instruct the jury on the law in Maxwell’s sexual assault trial.

US District Judge Alison Nathan scheduled the hearing — held in a closed room and without jurors present — in an attempt to speed up Maxwell’s trial, which is due for jury consideration next week. Closing arguments and Nathan’s reading of nearly 80 pages of instructions were set for Monday.

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The prosecution and Maxwell’s attorneys spent the morning in federal court in Manhattan arguing over the exact wording the judge will use to describe to the jury the legal elements that must be proven to convict Maxwell of six criminal charges, including one for traffic. sex of a minor. One of the defense requests that was approved: the judge should refer to the defendant as “Miss Maxwell” instead of “the defendant.”

A very attentive Maxwell sat at the defense table, occasionally taking notes. His brother and sister, ever present in the room for the last three weeks, were among the spectators.

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to charges prosecutors say show she and financier Jeffery Epsetein were involved in a scheme to set up teenagers for sex with him. The defense has countered that Maxwell is being scapegoated for Epstein, 66, who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting his own sex trafficking trial.

The defense wrapped up its arguments Friday after Maxwell told the judge he would not testify.

“Your Honor, the prosecution has not proven their cause beyond a reasonable doubt, so there is no reason for me to testify,” Maxwell said.

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