Jury in Ghislaine Maxwell sex abuse case asks judge to define 'enticement'

by Reuters
Monday, 27 December 2021 16:14 GMT

(Rewrites to note jury has requested definition of 'enticement,' adds additional testimony)

By Luc Cohen

Dec 27 (Reuters) - The jury in British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial resumed its work on Monday as deliberations extended into a second week, and jurors asked the judge for a definition of the word "enticement," a part of two of the charges she faces.

Maxwell, 60, is accused of recruiting and grooming https://www.reuters.com/world/us/closing-arguments-ghislaine-maxwells-sex-abuse-trial-kick-off-2021-12-20 four teenage girls for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, her ex-boyfriend and employer, between 1994 and 2004. Epstein killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

Along with the cases of movie producer Harvey Weinstein and singer R. Kelly, Maxwell's case is among the highest-profile trials to take place in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged women to speak out about sexual abuse by famous and powerful people.

She has pleaded not guilty to six counts https://www.reuters.com/world/us/what-are-charges-ghislaine-maxwell-sex-abuse-trial-2021-11-30, which include one charge of enticing an underage girl to travel for illegal sexual activity, and another count of conspiracy to do the same. Deliberations began last Monday following a three-week trial.

The charge of enticement relates to Jane, the pseudonym for a woman who testified during the trial's first week that she started having sexual contact with Epstein in 1994 when she was 14, and that Maxwell participated in some of their encounters.

Jane said she traveled from her home in Palm Beach, Florida, to Epstein's homes in New York and New Mexico, where she had sexual encounters with him. She said Maxwell assisted with the travel arrangements.

During its first full day of deliberations last Tuesday, the jury requested transcripts of Jane's testimony as well as that of two other women who said Maxwell set them up for abuse as teenagers.

On Monday, after a four-day break for the Christmas holiday, jurors sent a note to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan asking to review the testimony of Matt, a pseudonym for Jane's ex-boyfriend, as well as the definition of "enticement."

Nathan said she would reply that "entice means to attract, induce or lure using hope or desire," citing previous court cases.

The notes jurors have sent https://www.reuters.com/world/us/what-is-known-so-far-about-deliberations-ghislaine-maxwells-sex-abuse-trial-2021-12-22 so far suggest they are carefully scrutinizing the accounts of the four women, after Maxwell's lawyers focused their defense on challenging the accusers' credibility.

To be sure, the requests do not indicate what jurors are thinking regarding Maxwell's guilt or innocence.

Matt, who dated Jane from 2006 to 2014, said Jane had told him about her abuse at Epstein's hands. He said Jane told him that "having a woman there made her feel more comfortable" during her encounters with Epstein.

But Matt said Jane did not tell him that woman was Maxwell until Maxwell was arrested in July of 2020. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Alistair Bell)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.