Lawyers in Ghislaine Maxwell’s upcoming sex-trafficking trial have requested to hide from public view portions of jury selection, according to a new court filing.
Federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York wrote to Judge Alison Nathan that they agree with a request by Maxwell’s attorneys that the questionnaires and proposed voir dire — or questions posed to jurors by the judge or lawyer — be sealed to avoid press coverage of the process.
“The defense respectfully requests that the joint proposed juror questionnaire and joint proposed voir dire be filed under seal to avoid media coverage that may prejudice the jury selection process. The Government consents to the defense’s request,” a trio of federal prosecutors wrote to Nathan on Tuesday night.
Jury questionnaires and the questioning of potential jurors are typically accessible to the press and public in federal criminal trials.
In a subsequent letter to Nathan, prosecutors wrote they expect their case could last up to four weeks when the trial begins on Nov. 29.
“That estimate is conservative, and the Government anticipates that it could rest as early as the third week of trial, provided that the cross examinations of witnesses do not exceed the length of direct examinations,” they wrote.
Maxwell’s attorneys expect their defense to last approximately two weeks, according to the letter.
Maxwell is accused of procuring underage girls for multimillionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein to abuse in the 1990s and early 2000s.
She’s pleaded not guilty to the charges and has requested five times that she be let out on bail pending trial. She’s been denied each time.
The disgraced British socialite is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn pending trial and has repeatedly complained about horrendous conditions at the lockup.