Ghislaine Maxwell Sketches Courtroom Artist as Jury Selection Underway in Sex Abuse Trial

Ghislaine Maxwell was seen drawing in the courtroom Tuesday as jury selection began for her sex abuse trial, the associated press reported.

Maxwell, wearing a black suit, entered the courtroom and hugged her lawyers before briefly sketching the courtroom artist who was drawing her.

Prospective jurors got their first look at British socialite when Judge Alison Nathan began questioning to see if they can stay impartial in the case against Maxwell. Nathan reminded prospective jurors that Maxwell must be considered innocent until a verdict is reached.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging she helped Jeffrey Epstein groom girls as young as 14 for sexual abuse between 1994 and 2004.

Six-hundred potential jurors were shown two videos of the judge describing the case and the jury selection process. Hundreds were dismissed after filling out a written questionnaire. Nathan expects to question about 230 potential jurors over several days.

Each prospective juror sat alone in a jury box for 10 to 15 minutes while Nathan asked questions from about 10 feet away.

Some prospective jurors said they had heard of Jeffrey Epstein but not Maxwell while others said they had heard of both.

The 12 jurors and six alternates picked to hear the case will not be chosen until November 29, when opening statements are.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Ghislaine Maxwell, Trial, Sexual Abuse, Jury Selection
In her sex-trafficking trial, Ghislaine Maxwell sketching the courtroom artist who was drawing her. Above, in this courtroom sketch, Maxwell, center, listens during a court hearing flanked by her attorneys, Bobbi Sternheim, left, and Jeffrey Pagliuca, right, on November 1 in New York. Elizabeth Williams/AP Photo

The trial is expected to stretch to mid-January.

The judge was particularly interested in learning whether any members of the jury pool—drawn from a wide area in and around New York City—could remain impartial after suffering sexual harassment or having bad experiences with law enforcement.

One 68-year-old Manhattan resident said she believed she had experienced sexual harassment "as we know it today." But she added that it probably wasn't thought of in the same way at the time and she didn't believe she'd ever been the victim of serious harassment or abuse.

A 72-year-old Manhattan man seemed amused, if not slightly baffled, when the judge asked him if working around wealthy individuals when he worked as director of training and service for a high-end catering company might affect his ability to be fair and impartial. Maxwell has estimated her assets to be worth $22.5 million.

"They provided my livelihood," he said with a chuckle.

Maxwell observed along with her lawyers from a row behind prosecutors. Most of the two dozen spectators spaced apart to guard against the coronavirus were journalists.

Epstein was arrested in 2019, but the case against him took a shocking turn when the financier and convicted sex offender killed himself while awaiting trial.

After Epstein's death, prosecutors turned their sights on Maxwell, his ex-girlfriend.

The wealthy, Oxford-educated socialite is the daughter of British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 after falling off his yacht—named the Lady Ghislaine—near the Canary Islands while facing allegations he'd illegally looted his businesses' pension funds.

Maxwell holds U.S., British and French citizenships and was repeatedly denied bail in the run-up to her trial.