Jury to resume deliberations in Ghislaine Maxwell sex abuse case

(Fixes typo in lede)

By Luc Cohen

(Reuters) -The jury in British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial is scheduled to resume deliberations on Monday, after breaking for a long weekend.

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. She has pleaded not guilty to six counts of sex trafficking and other crimes. Epstein killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan dismissed jurors on Wednesday for the Christmas holiday weekend, and cautioned them to "stay safe https://www.reuters.com/world/us/ghislaine-maxwell-sex-abuse-trial-jury-new-york-resume-deliberations-2021-12-22" amid the surge in the Omicron variant.

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.

Maxwell, who turned 60-years-old on Saturday, is detained at Brooklyn's notorious Metropolitan Detention Center https://www.reuters.com/world/us/ghislaine-maxwell-sex-crimes-trial-highlights-conditions-brooklyn-jail-2021-11-18, where she has said her cell has been plagued by vermin and the scent of raw sewage.

Deliberations began late on Monday afternoon following a three-week trial.

The Manhattan federal court jury last week requested transcripts of the testimony of four women who said Maxwell played a crucial role in their abuse by Epstein. That suggests they are scrutinizing their accounts carefully https://www.reuters.com/world/us/what-is-known-so-far-about-deliberations-ghislaine-maxwells-sex-abuse-trial-2021-12-22, 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.

On Tuesday, they asked to review the testimony of three of the women: Jane, Carolyn, and Annie Farmer. Maxwell's lawyers had questioned the women aggressively about why their stories appeared to shift over the years.

On Wednesday, the jury asked to read transcripts of the accounts of the fourth accuser, a woman testifying under the pseudonym Kate, and Juan Alessi, the former house manager at Epstein's Palm Beach, Florida, estate who said he saw Jane at the property.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Michael Perry)