COURTHOUSE, Dec 9 -- The thing about Day 9 of
the Ghislaine Maxwell trial is that it ended
almost before it began.
Before the jury came in, this time on time, at
9:30 am, Kurt filed a third letter to Judge
The trigger was an emailKurt
had gotten overnight from a police official on
the Epstein and Maxwell case, who both said he
and he was sure hundreds of victims benefited
from Kurt's live tweets, and that he hadn't
been contacted or subpoenaed by the SDNY
Along with the Omicron travel
restrictions, this seemed enough to be the ban
on the call-in line reversed.
of Judge Nathan's rationales for ending the
public call-in line just before trial was to
protect the four victim-witnesses, for example
from Team Maxwell's repeated outing of their
last names, wasn't this outweighed or
counter-balanced by the ability of the much
larger number of non-testifying, even
non-contacted witnesses to follow the trial in
that and the withholding of the witness lists,
and redactions of the flight logs, Kurt wrote
his letter to Judge Nathan and prepared to
By then the first witness of Day 9 had
taken the stand. It was a woman from FexEd
with a Southern drawl, going over Epstein's
FedEx account for the packages sent to
Carolyn. She did not mention the lingerie
within but it was established, the packages
had been sent. The grooming theory lived.
defense did a short cross, noting that Sarah
Kellen's name was on the invoice along with
Epstein's, but not Ghislaine Maxwell's. Then
the witness was excused. It was time for
another survivor. Or was it?
prosecutors rather than proceeding asked Judge
Nathan for a discussing "in the robing room."
you mean a long sidebar?" Judge Nathan asked.
it should be in the robing room."
would mean outside the presence not only of
the jury but also of the press and public,
even visually. Judge Nathan still told the
jurors they could leave the room, perhaps for
yet more snacks. Then she summoned both sides'
lawyers through a door and into the robing
had been invited into a robing room, soon
after he began to cover this courthouse
everyday and specialized, even more than now,
in writing about secrecy. He had
been on the 11th floor of 40 Foley and saw
Judge Lorna Schofield's courtroom door open,
even though no proceeding was listed in PACER.
had gone in and saw at the defense table a man
in shackles and a lawyer with two U.S.
Marshals behind them, two prosecutors in
front, and only two people in the gallery. It
was like a legal Noah's Ark. Kurt had gone to
the back row and put his backpack down. By
then, everything had stopped.
Schofield was told, "Your Honor, I think we
should go into the robing room."
proceeding is suspended," Judge Schofield had
said. And suddenly the prisoner was clanking
with Marshals through a door behind the bench.
Kurt remained in the gallery, with the two
people from time to time turned around and
stared at him. They were in on it, Kurt
thought. But what was it?
Judge Schofield had come out. She had not, as
Kurt had expected, provided some carefully
worded summary of what happened in the robing
room. She simply said, "We are adjourned."
So Kurt left and went to the
Security desk and got his laptop back. He
walked east on Worth Street to Chatham Square,
past the fruit stand above which he now
visited his favorite defense lawyer, Michael
Randall Long, and over to the public library
on East Broadway.
in a windowless basement room filled with
mostly older Chinese men, Kurt used the free
Wi-Fi to write up the story, the mystery of
the robing room proceeding. He asked the
District Executive's office about it and they
said that they would ask. But the mystery was
never solved, even who the prisoner had been.
This was Kurt's introduction to the robing
was a second bookend, one of the reasons Kurt
had come to love this place, the SDNY. He had
gone to a civil proceeding in Judge
Schofield's, something about a boxing promoter
suing a Bronx sports bar for unauthorized
charging to view a pay-per-view bout from
Schofield had invited the two lawyers to,
where else, her robing room. Then she said,
And you can come, Mister Wheelock.
The robing room, it turned out,
was like a fancy parlor, overlooking Foley
Square. Kurt sat in the corner taking notes.
Judge Schofield told the skeptical lawyer,
This is Kurt Wheelock, he is a legal blogger
who has come to out court to cover how it
works. Do you object?
were they supposed to say? They didn't object,
and Kurt voluntarily left out of his story
some of the details of their failed settlement
talks. Somehow it made up for the stealth
criminal proceeding, the prisoner who might
now have already been released, or might be
dead. Or did it?
on #MaximumMaxwell Day 9, Judge Nathan
returned from her robing room and called the
jury in. She gave a summary, carefully worded.
gentlemen of the jury, one of the prosecution
team is ill and needs treatment. There is no
reason to believe it is COVID. But to save
your time, I am going to let you go for the
that was it. Kurt quickly tweeted it out, and
uploaded the thread and some analysis to his
website and to Substack. By then the SDNY
prosecutor's press officer had emailed the
in-house press corps to ask that the privacy
of the lawyer at issue - his email didn't even
acknowledge that the illness was among the
prosecution not the defense - and not publish
any names. Kurt went back and changed his
Patreon, inserting the request word for word
where the name had been.
online there were people saying the
prosecution has just phoning it in and had
been unprepared. That something had gone wrong
with the four and final victim or survivor,
thought to be Maria Farmer's sister Annie.
Even that things might go the way of Epstein,
how he ended in the jail.
This was the way such theories
grew. Kurt checked to see if Judge Nathan's
chambers had docketed his letter, submitted
while they were in the robing room but before
they came back. But no. It was still early. Or
wasn't it getting late? #MaximumMaxwell.
On October 29,
2021 and again on November 12
Office for the
New York filed
a flurry of
are not public
and will be
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