Judge Alison Nathan on Tuesday told the attorneys and jury that the 12-member panel will now work every day until they reach a verdict.
“Put simply, I conclude that proceeding this way is the best chance to both give the jury as much time as they need and to avoid a mistrial as a result of the Omicron variant,” the judge told attorneys outside the jury’s presence.
Jurors are scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. and Nathan has requested they work through 6 p.m., an hour later than the first five days ended.
If convicted on all six counts, Maxwell faces up to 70 years in prison.
The jury, which got time off for Christmas, will have to work into the New Year’s weekend, if necessary, the judge told prosecutors and the defense team.
“We are very simply at a different place regarding the pandemic than we were only one week ago and we now face a high and escalating risk that jurors and/or trial participants may need to quarantine, thus disrupting trial (and) putting at risk our ability to complete this trial,” she said.
Later the judge read a note from the jury that said: “Our deliberations are moving along and we are making progress.”
On Monday, the jury asked for a definition of “enticement,” which is part of two of the charges, and sent the judge a question about a charge involving travel for one of the accusers.
What happened at the trial
The prosecution called 24 witnesses over 10 days of testimony. Their case rested primarily on four women with personal stories of Maxwell’s alleged role facilitating Epstein’s abuse.
“A single middle-aged man who invites a teenage girl to visit his ranch, to come to his house, to fly to New York, is creepy,” prosecutor Alison Moe said in closing arguments. “But when that man is accompanied by a posh, smiling, respectable, age-appropriate woman, that’s when everything starts to seem legitimate.
“And when that woman encourages those girls to massage that man, when she acts like it’s totally normal for the man to touch those girls, it lures them into a trap. It allows the man to silence the alarm bells.”
In closing arguments, attorney Laura Menninger sought to distance Maxwell from Epstein and suggested he had manipulated her as well. She said the prosecution’s case is based on speculation and distracting photos of Maxwell with Epstein, including several that show her giving him a foot massage.
“She’s being tried here for being with Jeffrey Epstein, and maybe that was the biggest mistake of her life — but it was not a crime,” Menninger told the jury.
Menninger also suggested that the accusers coordinated new facts and details to fit the government’s case.
“That’s called post-event suggestion. And that’s what happened in this case. Each of these women had talked to numerous individuals, had watched media, share their stories, talk to their lawyers. And we’re talking about things that supposedly happened 25 years ago,” Menninger said.
CNN’s Lauren del Valle reported and wrote from New York and Steve Almasy wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Eric Levenson contributed to this report.