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What A Dismissed Prospective Juror For Ghislaine Maxwell’s Trial Said That Got Him Sent Home — And Why He's Glad

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Ghislaine Maxwell

As the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell closes its fourth day, jurors continued to hear extensive testimonies from grooming experts and one of Jeffrey Epstein’s most high-profile accusers, Annie Farmer.

Farmer’s allegations of sexual abuse, which she says began when she was 16, followed an equally harrowing testimony from another accuser, “Jane,” who yesterday told the court about the horrors she says she suffered at the hands of Epstein and Maxwell in the 1990s.

These two key accusers’ testimonies will join those of several other alleged victims. And while there will be no live-stream video or audio made available of the proceedings for the public to follow, their stories will, no doubt, be painful listening for members of the jury.

One man who was dismissed as a prospective juror for the high-profile trial says he is definitely glad he isn’t currently sitting amongst the 12 men and women (and six alternates) who were selected to serve on the jury.

We spoke to Marc Kirschner, who was excused as a prospective juror for Ghislaine Maxwell's trial, and asked his thoughts on the jury selection process.

Kirschner, a co-founder of MarqueeTV, has some thoughts as to why he was dismissed during jury selection.

“The case that you are called here for is the case of Ghislaine Maxwell,” Kirschner recalls U.S.District Judge Allison Nathan telling a courtroom of potential jurors ready to serve their civic duty.

“People definitely took a deep breath when they heard the name,” he added.

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The 600 people in the initial jury pool were split across several rooms in the New York court house, a COVID-19 protocol, Kirschner assumes.

Nathan, a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, joined via video call and explained that the case they were there to potentially serve on was none other than that of Ghislaine Maxwell.

This was the beginning of Kirschner’s inside look into Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial.

As a prospective juror, Kirschner was told about the charges against Maxwell.

Not that it mattered. Kirschner, like many of us, was well aware of the nature of Maxwell’s alleged crimes.

Maxwell, a British socialite and alleged accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in July 2020 after a years-long investigation into Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking ring.

Maxwell is accused of recruiting and grooming minors as young as 14 to participate in sexual acts with Epstein and others, including herself.

She will be tried on six counts, including transporting minors to engage in criminal sexual activity, and has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

With the case against Epstein closed shortly after his death by suicide while in prison in 2019, Maxwell’s trial may serve as the only chance for their alleged victims to get justice.

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Potential jurors were then required to fill out a lengthy questionnaire that included several questions about both Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

The jury questionnaire, which Maxwell's attorneys tried unsuccessfully to have kept from public record, contained a brief summary of the case — a decade of alleged sex crimes reduced into four paragraphs.

This summary also contained the first of several mentions of Epstein, whose shadow has loomed over Maxwell’s trial.

The questionnaire was designed to weed out potential jury member's whose knowledge of the case or opinions on certain aspects of the charges might make for an impartial trial.

Questions varied from practical matters, like a juror’s availability between Nov. 29, 2021 to Jan. 15, 2022 — the expected length of the trial, to more specific issues that could hint at impartiality.

Kirschner was particularly bewildered by a question posed to potential jurors about whether they know anyone who has been the victim of a sex crime.

“Have you or a friend or a family member ever been a victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse or sexual assault?” the exact question reads.

“I know women ergo, I know women that have been victims,” Kirschner tells us, pointing to the reality that crimes like the ones Maxwell and Epstein are accused of committing are glaringly common, even though, as was the case with Epstein, the accused often go unpunished.

It is hard to imagine in the post-MeToo-era that there may be anyone who could answer no to such a question.

Kirschner believes his response to that question was one of several that likely contributed to his being excused from Ghislaine Maxwell's jury.

Another question inquired about his perspective on the Southern District Of New York, the federal trial district where Maxwell’s case is being heard, and which encompasses New York, Bronx, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, and Sullivan counties.

“The Southern District doesn’t mess around,” Kirschner recalls responding.

Then there were the questions about Jeffrey Epstein.

“Do you or does any member of your family or a close friend personally know or have past or present dealings with Jeffrey Epstein?”

Kirschner and those familiar to him did not.

Another question read, “Before today had you read, seen or heard anything about Jeffrey Epstein?”

“My answer to that was along the lines of ‘Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, private jets, private island, house in New Hampshire,’” Kirschner says.

“What else do you really need to know that I know about this case because it’s been all over the place,” he continued.

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Kirschner is right.

On the first day of Maxwell’s trial the jury heard testimony from the pilot of Epstein’s infamous jet — nicknamed the “Lolita Express.”

The pilot, Larry Visoski, confirmed what many have seen in documentaries, articles, books and more — high profile men like Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew joined Epstein on board the jet on occasion, though neither of them have been charged with any wrongdoing in relation to Maxwell’s trial.

Prince Andrew has, separate from Maxwell’s trial, been accused of sexual assault by another of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre.

Kirschner said he also mentioned, in his answers to the questionnaire, the conspiracy theory that Epstein didn’t take his own life in prison.

He insists, however, that he doesn’t actually subscribe to that philosophy himself.

Again, Kirschner feels his prior knowledge of Maxwell’s alleged crimes — and the conspiracies surrounding them — were probably flagged by the judge as incompatible with a fair trial reasonably quickly.

Overall, Kirschner says he believes the reasons for his dismissal from Ghislaine Maxwell's jury were likely much more simple than all of his answers combined.

In short, Kirschner himself believes he could not have been an impartial juror for Maxwell’s trial.

“I can’t come in with a presumption of innocence, she has to prove innocence,” Kirschner says.

Needless to say, this is the exact opposite of what a court needs from a prospective juror in order to select them for service.

Kirschner insists that, despite the high-profile nature of the case, impartiality and a fair trial for Maxwell are possible.

“Even though it’s theoretically a very public case, I don’t think they had to dig that deep.”

From what he could tell, the pool of 231 prospective jurors who were called to the next stage of the selection process was mainly composed of jurors numbered below 400.

This suggests that the court found impartial jurors without even analyzing the answers to the questionnaires submitted by all 600 people in the original pool.

Kirschner points out that for many people, Maxwell is an after-thought, an often forgotten part of Epstein’s complex operations.

Even the official investigation into allegations against Epstein largely ignored Maxwell’s involvement until after his death.

Kirschner is therefore sure that Maxwell will get a fair trial, even with media scrutiny.

“These are very, very good prosecutors and very, very good defense attorneys, and they were able to find a jury pool that they were happy with fairly quickly,” he says.

Kirschner is glad he is not on the jury panel in Maxwell’s trial.

Many crime fanatics would likely jump at the chance to be on the jury of a well-known trial, but Kirschner feels differently.

“In retrospect,” he says, “as the father of a seven year old girl, what am I going to hear sitting on the jury box that I’m not going to want to bring home with me?”

“If I get called on the jury, what happens when my daughter is 14 or 15?” he adds.

The youngest of Epstein and Maxwell’s alleged victims took the stand on day three of the trial and recalled years of sexual abuse that began when she was 14.

That is certainly not something any parent wants to bring home with them.

So, instead, Kirschner will spend the holidays at home while results of the years of alleged abuse perpetrated by Maxwell play out in court.

Will Kirschner still follow the case?

“Totally,” he says, echoing a sentiment shared by many who have waited far too long to see Ghislaine Maxwell be brought to justice.

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.