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Six Months Before Maximum Maxwell Another Verdict For Sex Trafficking In 318 Only 1 Media Present

By Matthew Russell Lee, Author Amazon Patreon Song
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Radio - Podcast

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 2 -- Kurt had spent the month of December 2021 covering the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell in Courtroom 318, with the seats inside carefully doled out, to Ghislaine's sisters and brother and Leah Saffian, select victims and survivors and journalists.

         He'd gone to the overflow courtrooms on the first, fifth and even ninth floor and communed with people on the periphery of journalism, many of them proudly, from Los Angeles and Wisconsin and as far away as Australia and even Egypt.

         How different it had been in June 2021, when Justin Rivera was tried for sex trafficking in the same courtroom, 318. Kurt had often been alone in the gallery, and even then, was quickly admonished to not use his smart phone, by a judge who'd previously told him, You cannot tweet in my courtroom.

         In the glassed in witness box where Annie Farmer, Carolyn, Jane and Kate would later testify and have it reported in real time by Kurt, and hours later by the Daily Mail and Australian, in June 2021 had been Natalie Rodriguez, until then "Victim 3."

         She spoke with enormous dignity and sorry. "What did it mean," she was asked, "that Justin called your his bottom B-word?"

         "That's how pimps keep their prostitutes," Natalie Rodriguez had said.

         She had been beaten until her face was bloody, in that case not by Justin but a rival wanting information on Justin's role in a shooting on Long Island that killed three co-conspirators in a sports utility vehicle.

         After that, Justin had sent Natalie down to Florida. The prosecution fought and won the right to keep that from the jury, saying it might confuse them as to the relationship between the two.

   They said, He might have agreed Natalie could stay longer in Florida simply because, with her face still swollen, she was useless to him as a prostitute.

         The story the jury heard ended when Natalie got pregnant, the sort of turning point faced and described by Virginia Roberts Guiffre, but different given how little society cared about Rodriguez, and Rivera, and this whole conspiracy.

         The closing arguments were given on Friday, June 11, 2021 and Kurt went back to the press room and wrote them up.

  He stopped back in Courtroom 318 at 5 pm, expecting to hear the judge tell the jury not to talk with each other or anyone else about the case over the weekend, as Judge Nathan had told the Maxwell jury before she took off for Washington for three days seeking the Second Circuit Court of Appeals seat.

         But instead, in mere hours, the jury came back with a verdict. On Count 1, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, how do you find?

         The jury foreperson, an African American man with dread locks, answered with a single word: Guilty. Then, So say you all. The Marshals took Rivera away, to the MCC from which he'd since been transferred to the MDC in Brooklyn, with but not with Ghislaine Maxwell. More here.

         Days after Maxwell's conviction, Rivera's sentencing was pushed back from January 2021, when Kurt had jotted down to cover it, to March. He would still cover it.

         How many more cases like this are there? Kurt had wondered at the time. And now, in the wake of the #MaximumMaxwell verdict, he would try to find out. #MirroringMaxwell.

#MaximumMaxwell (paperback here); soon #MirroringMaxwell.

The book "Maximum Maxwell" was on 12/29/21 available here

Inner City Press covered the trial, and all the comes before and after it; #CourtCaseCast and song I, Song 2, Song 3, fifth song, Nov 27 song and now, the Dec 29 verdict song here

The underlying case is US v. Maxwell, 20-cr-330 (Nathan).


Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material including Maximum Maxwell, and other Maximum, on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.

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