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Explainer-What is known so far about deliberations in Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial

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By Reuters
Explainer-What is known so far about deliberations in Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial
Explainer-What is known so far about deliberations in Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

By Luc Cohen

NEWYORK – Jurors deliberating in the sexual abuse trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in New York have so far sent several notes to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. To be sure, the notes do not reveal what jurors are thinking, but they do provide a glimpse into some of the evidence they have been discussing since late Monday afternoon:

ACCUSERCAROLYN‘S TALKSWITHTHEFBI

Jurors on Tuesday asked Nathan for details about the testimony of Carolyn, the first name of a woman who said late financier Jeffrey Epstein, Maxwell’s employer and ex-boyfriend, began abusing her when she was 14 in 2002. Carolyn testified that Maxwell once touched her nude body while Carolyn prepared to give Epstein an erotic massage.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca sought to undermine Carolyn’s credibility, pressing her about why she did not mention Maxwell in a 2007 conversation with the FBI.

Jurors asked the judge to see the record of the FBI conversation. Nathan told the jury it was not in evidence, but they could review the trial transcript.

“In this entire first discussion with the FBI in 2007, it’s true that you never said the name Ghislaine Maxwell once, correct?” Pagliuca asked Carolyn, according to the transcript.

“Yes, because it’s not who we were talking about,” Carolyn replied.

Carolyn’s case underlies the sex trafficking charge, the most serious count Maxwell faces with a prison sentence of up to 40 years. Maxwell, 59, pleaded not guilty to six counts of sex trafficking and other crimes.

WHATRELEVANCEDOESANNIEFARMER‘S TESTIMONYHAVE?

Jurors also asked Nathan whether they could consider the testimony of accuser Annie Farmer in weighing whether Maxwell conspired to lure underage girls to travel for illegal sex acts or conspired to transport them for illegal sex acts, two of the six counts.

Farmer, 42, testified that Maxwell touched her breasts while giving her a massage during a visit to Epstein’s New Mexico ranch in 1996 when Farmer was 16.

Nathan informed the jury that because Farmer was above the age of consent in New Mexico at that time, any encounters she described were not considered “illegal sex acts.”

That meant Farmer could not be considered a victim of being transported or lured to travel for sex by Maxwell – two of the other counts.

However, Nathan told the jury they could still consider Farmer’s testimony in determining whether Maxwell conspired to violate those laws.