No, the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Does Not Have a Gag Order

As opening statements in the long-awaited sex abuse trial of Ghislaine Maxwell are set to begin in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Monday, several social media posts, which have gone viral, have erroneously claimed that members of the press have been barred from accessing the courtroom.

"BREAKING: 'Judge In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Issues Media-Wide Gag Order: All Press & Spectators Barred From Courtroom.' We know who they are protecting and we can't allow it!," stated one post from UFC fighter Tim Kennedy, shared thousands of times on Twitter so far.

Others have questioned why Maxwell's trial will not be streamed live, comparing the British socialite's case to the trial of teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted by a jury of murder charges on November 19.

"Why exactly is the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, (which started today), not being streamed live for all the world to see? Could it perhaps be something to do with the fact ..her trial would unite the public against corruption & not divide it like the Rittenhouse trial? " one tweet read.

"Ghislaine Maxwell's trial started today. She's only the accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein and a Global Human Sex Trafficking Ring; and yet all the public gets...is a sketch. Ghislaine's trial should be the one live streamed for the world to see!" a Facebook post says.

Contrary to these claims made on social media, a judge has not issued a gag order, and per federal rules, only individuals inside the courthouse will be able to watch the trial. Among those being guaranteed access to the trial are members of the press, alleged victims, and members of Maxwell's family.

Under the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53, cameras are prohibited in all federal trials. Cameras were allowed in Rittenhouse's as it was a state trial, held in a Wisconsin state court.

"[E]xcept as otherwise provided by a statute or these rules, the court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom," the federal law states, according to the United States Courts website.

Members of the press, including sketch artists, are guaranteed access to the courtroom.

An order issued on November 24 by the judge in Maxwell's case, Judge Alison J. Nathan, stated that the court will "facilitate substantial public and press access at the Courthouse."

"First, consistent with the District's COVID-19 distancing requirements, a number of pool reporters and members of the public will be permitted in the courtroom proper as managed by the District's Executive Office," it said. "Second, press will also be able to access the trial in dedicated overflow courtrooms for the press."

Maxwell faces sex trafficking charges that stem from her time alongside late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. She has been detained in a Brooklyn jail since she was arrested by FBI agents in July 2020.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

Ghislaine Maxwell at a party at Mar-A-Lago
(L-R) Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein, and musician Michael Bolton pose for a portrait during a party at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000. Opening statements in Maxwell's trial are set to begin on Monday. Davidoff Studios/Getty Images