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Ghislaine Maxwell’s long-awaited Manhattan sex trafficking trial was scheduled to take place before a jury on Monday, with opening statements.

Opening statements were delayed, however, after several selected jurors expressed concerns with the service. One cited financial difficulties. Another said their partner had “surprised them with a trip”.

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to six counts relating to his alleged involvement in the sexual abuse of late financier Jeffrey Epstein of teenage girls, some of whom were as young as 14.

The charges include conspiracy to induce minors to travel to engage in unlawful sexual acts, inducing a minor to travel to engage in unlawful sexual acts, conspiracy to transport minors with the intent to engaging in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy of sex trafficking and sex trafficking of a minor.

The indictment cites four accusers – referred to as Minor Victim-1, Minor Victim-2, Minor Victim-3 and Minor Victim-4 – although it is believed others will take a stand.

Epstein committed suicide in Manhattan federal prison in August 2019, pending trial. Maxwell’s alleged crimes took place from 1994 to 2004, prosecutors said.

On Monday, media crowds began to gather outside the courthouse before dawn, hoping to secure a coveted seat in court or a seat in a crowded viewing room. An accuser of Epstein, Sarah Ransome, arrived at the courthouse shortly before the proceedings began, tell journalists: “I never thought that day would come.”

Authorities arrested Maxwell, the daughter of the late British Press Baron Robert Maxwell, on July 2, 2020 in a secret and expensive estate in the small town of Bradford, New Hampshire.

Audrey Strauss, acting Manhattan attorney at the time, claimed that Maxwell “played a vital role in helping Epstein identify, befriend and prepare underage victims” and that “in some cases Maxwell was involved to abuse “.

The indictment accuses Maxwell of “trying to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim, among other things, discussing sexual matters, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed and / or by being present for sexual acts involving the minor victim and Epstein ”.

The Manhattan attorney also accused Maxwell of attempting to cover up his involvement in Epstein’s crimes by providing false information “under oath” in a civil dispute.

That lawsuit was the libel case that Virginia Giuffre, a longtime accuser of Epstein, brought against Maxwell. Giuffre claimed Maxwell and Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17.

Giuffre sued Maxwell, who called her a liar. Maxwell and the Duke of York claim their innocence. Maxwell is charged with two counts relating to the alleged lying. These will be judged in a separate procedure.



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