A jury has been selected for the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of assisting convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein recruit and sexually abuse underage girls.
Twelve jurors and six alternates were empaneled on Monday for the highly anticipated trial, which is expected to last roughly six weeks, according to The Associated Press. Opening statements are expected later on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan started jury selection earlier this month with a pool of 231 potential jurors.
After the selection process was complete, one of the jurors said their employer would only allot them two weeks of paid leave and another said their spouse just announced a surprise trip that comes at the same time of the trial, according to Reuters. Nathan reportedly said she would talk to the first juror's employer and discuss the situation with the second juror to resolve the matter.
Maxwell, 59, was a close confidant of Epstein and dated him at one point. She has been charged with six counts in connection with an alleged sex trafficking scheme with Epstein in the 1990s.
She is charged with conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and sex trafficking of minors.
She is also facing two other counts of perjury in connection to a sworn deposition, but a trial on those charges has not yet been scheduled.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all charges against her. She has been held in a Brooklyn jail while awaiting trial after having been denied bail a number of times.
Her trial comes more than two years after Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan while awaiting trial for allegations of sex abuse. The New York City medical examiner later ruled that his death was a suicide by hanging.
Maxwell was arrested and indicted in July 2020 after prosecutors claimed that she "exploited girls as young as 14, including by enticing them to travel and transporting them for the purpose of engaging in illegal sex acts" during the 1990s.
They said the British socialite "played a critical role in the grooming and abuse of minor victims" for Epstein in New York, Florida and New Mexico, and acted in such a way "knowing that Epstein had a preference for young girls."
Prosecutors claim that they have evidence showing that Maxwell knew the girls were minors, according to the AP.
Maxwell's lawyers, however, have said that she is being used as a scapegoat to hold someone accountable for Epstein's crimes since he cannot be prosecuted due to his death.