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Jury selection begins for Ghislaine Maxwell trial on sex-trafficking charges

Ghislaine Maxwell, Alison Nathan
In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell, seated far left, listens while Judge Alison Nathan, second from right, questions a prospective juror during the voire dire portion of the jury selection,Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in New York. Prospective jurors got their first glimpse of Maxwell, the British socialite charged with helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse girls and women, when a judge began questioning them individually Tuesday. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

Jury selection in the federal sex-trafficking trial for Ghislaine Maxwell started on Tuesday in a Manhattan courtroom.

Judge Alison Nathan questioned potential jurors about the case, looking to narrow down a jury pool of hundreds of people into a panel that will hear charges that Maxwell helped her best friend Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse minors.

The group will be asked to return on Nov. 29, the first day of the trial.

The jury selection is expected to be a lengthy process.

Ghislaine Maxwell, 59 has pleaded not guilty to the crimes. She is accused of luring minors and young women to Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell has been held without bond in a Brooklyn, N.Y., jail.

Maxwell denies grooming young girls for sexual abuse or sometimes participating in sexual encounters herself.

On Tuesday, Maxwell watched as the judge questioned potential jurors abut the case in Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in lower Manhattan.

At a press conference last year, Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Maxwell, a British socialite and heiress, helped Epstein “identify, befriend and groom minor victims of abuse.”