On Tuesday, Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged former madam of the late billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, appeared in a New York City court as jury selection finally began in her sex trafficking trial.
WPBF reported that Maxwell wore a dark suit and sat near the potential jurors as Judge Alison Nathan questioned them. The 59-year-old British socialite has been accused of helping Epstein sexually abuse minors as young as 14, and she has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
One of the most common questions that Nathan asked the jurors was if they were familiar with Maxwell or Epstein’s names. If they say that they knew who they were, Nathan asked the potential jurors whether what they already knew about them would make it difficult to be fair and impartial jurors. Judge Nathan “was particularly interested in learning whether any members of the jury pool — drawn from a wide area in and around New York City — could remain impartial after suffering sexual harassment or having bad experiences with law enforcement,” according to the Associated Press.
Maxwell’s trial is set to begin on November 29 with twelve jurors as well as six alternates, according to NPR. She has been in prison since July of 2020, awaiting trial, with Judge Nathan denying her bail requests four times, most recently last week.
In an interview over the weekend, Maxwell opened up about her fears when it comes to being able to get a fair trial.
“I fear it will be impossible to get a fair trial,” she told Daily Mail. “I have tremendous fear that overwhelmingly negative media stories will poison my jury pool and affect the outcome of my trial despite the evidence that will demonstrate everything the jurors thought they knew isn’t true. I look forward to finally having my day in court to prove I played no part in Epstein’s crimes.”
Maxwell also talked about what she claims are the horrific conditions of the prison she’s being kept in.
“I have been assaulted and abused for almost a year and a half,” she said. “I have not had a nutritious meal in all that time. I haven’t slept without lights on – fluorescent lights that have damaged my eyes – or been allowed to sleep without constant interruptions. I am weak; I am frail. I have no stamina. I am tired. I don’t even have shoes which fit properly. They feed me rotten food. One apple had maggots in it. I have not been allowed to exercise.”
Epstein allegedly committed suicide while awaiting trial on his own sex charges in the summer of 2019. It will certainly be interesting to see how Maxwell’s trial plays out.