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A judge on Thursday rejected British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s bid to block the public and news media from jury selection in a New York City trial that alleges that she sent teenage girls to financier Jeffrey Epstein for sexual assault. was recruited.


US District Judge Alison J. Nathan said the press and the public will be allowed to watch selection proceedings via video feed next month in an overflow courtroom and a courthouse press room. She said two journalists from the pool would be allowed into the courtroom as she questions potential jurors.

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In the ruling, Nathan said he attempted to balance the public’s right to access court proceedings with health measures, such as adding additional space between parties, that have been placed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Reporters’ Committee for the Freedom of the Press, a journalists union and more than a dozen news organizations wrote to the judge on Wednesday opposing a request to defend the jurors’ secret selection.

“We all know there has been intense media and public interest in this matter. … These procedures will ensure First Amendment rights to public access and are required by law,” Nathan said on a pre-trial conference call.

Nathan also declined a defense request to prevent the public from seeing the blank questionnaire that would be given to the nearly 600 people who would be called as potential jury in the high-profile case.

Nathan said the selection of 12 primary jury members and six substitutes is scheduled to begin on November 4, with opening statements scheduled for November 29. For the selection of primary jurors, the defense will have 10 challengers and the prosecution will have six. To substitute, each side will receive three challenges.

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Maxwell’s lawyers argued for interrogating potential jurors behind closed doors because they said they could be asked to reveal sensitive information, such as whether they have been sexually abused, as part of the process. Nathan said she will make adjustments on a case-by-case basis “to ensure juror candor and project juror privacy.”

Maxwell’s attorney Bobby Sternheim said that letting the public view the questionnaire, which is used to screen jury pools for favoritism, hardships, personal connections and awareness of the case, was a way for people to work their way into the jury process. will inspire. She equated it to a “take-home exam,” in which jurors could fill in the answers they thought would be the best position for them to be selected.

Nathan, who will be questioned face-to-face with potential jurors who will survive the questionnaire phase on November 16–19, replied: “If a jury is going to lie and be dishonest, we’ll smoke it. The fact that the questionnaire is publicly documented does not increase or decrease any such possibility.”

Maxwell, whose father was a British newspaper baron, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he recruited Epstein to sexually assault teenage girls during encounters from 1994 to 2004, who were sometimes referred to as sexual massages. as was described. A revised indictment filed in March includes allegations that he framed a 14-year-old girl to recruit other young women in exchange for cash.

Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan federal lockup in August 2019, a month after his arrest on sex trafficking charges.

Maxwell, 59, joined a conference call Thursday from an empty room at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where he has been held since his July 2020 arrest. He said nothing more than to complain about the wonky connection of the call