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Ghislaine Maxwell: Up to 600 potential jurors could be called ahead of Ghislaine Maxwell trial

Ghislaine Maxwell is due to go on trial on 29 November

As many as 600 prospective jurors could be called ahead of the trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell on sex-trafficking charges.

The 59-year-old defendant attended the administrative hearing in New York via telephone link, where the judge Alison Nathan said up to 600 people could be called over three days in order to determine whether they would be able to sit as jurors.

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Maxwell has been charged with procuring teenage girls for the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. The charges date back to the 1990s. She denies the allegations.

Maxwell has been remanded in custody since her arrest in July 2020 and is due to go on trial on 29 November.

The judge said potential jurors would be asked personal questions, questions about their knowledge of the case and the parties involved, and their availability to sit through the trial, with only 12 to eventually be called to sit as jurors and an additional six as alternates.

Bobbi Sternheim, for Maxwell, said she was concerned some people would be motivated to sit on the jury if they saw the questionnaire in advance.

She also expressed how her client had been “significantly prejudiced” by press coverage.

The judge turned down the defence’s request to seal the questionnaire for prospective jurors in advance, saying she was “not convinced” a person would be “somehow prejudiced in their response”.