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Is the Ghislaine Maxwell trial being televised? How to stay up to date

Bruno Cooke November 30, 2021
is the ghislaine maxwell trial being televised
Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images

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The trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who prosecutors say was a “partner in crime” with Jeffrey Epstein, got under way yesterday, as per the date set earlier this year – Maxwell had pleaded not guilty.

A day in, and comparisons between the way Maxwell’s trial is being represented and how Kyle Rittenhouse’s was earlier this month are already doing the rounds on Twitter, prompting fact-checks from USA Today and AFP among others. Is the Ghislaine Maxwell trial being televised – if not, why not – and how can you watch it and stay up to date?

Is the Ghislaine Maxwell trial being televised?

Because of the rules governing the live streaming and/or broadcasting of federal trials versus state trials, Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial is not being televised in the same way that, for example, Kyle Rittenhouse’s was. 

Rittenhouse’s trial took place in the State of Wisconsin where, since 1979, “at the judge’s discretion”, cameras have been allowed in courthouses during proceedings.

By contrast, Maxwell’s is a federal trial. It is taking place in New York.

Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

AFP’s fact-check on the false claim the absence of cameras at Maxwell’s trial was “designed to limit public scrutiny” on this case specifically quotes First Amendment specialist Kevin Goldberg as saying: “The Maxwell trial will not be televised because there is a flat prohibition against televising federal criminal trials.

“Ghislaine Maxwell is being tried on federal criminal (sex trafficking) charges in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, (which) does not even allow the broadcast of civil trials (my emphasis).”

So while the courtroom itself is open to the public and press, including sketch artists, neither photographers nor videographers can operate inside.

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Where can you watch it?

The Independent is running a live feed outside the Manhattan federal courthouse as Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial takes place inside. 

Much of it, as you might expect, is a static image of the building’s grandiose facade.

Alternatively, both ITV and Channel 4 are working on deep-dive documentaries into the trial, its context and Ghislaine Maxwell’s relationship to Jeffrey Epstein.

ITV’s will simply be entitled Ghislaine. Channel 4’s, meanwhile, will be called Ghislaine Maxwell: Life On Trial. It will air in early 2022 after the conclusion of the trial.

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Where can you get live updates on the Ghislaine Maxwell trial as it happens?

Numerous outlets will have reporters inside the Manhattan courtroom for the duration of Maxwell’s trial. 

The New York Post is running live updates on the trial; BBC News has a reporter following the story from New York; meanwhile the New York Times ran an article online yesterday headlined “4 takeaways from the first day” of Maxwell’s trial; finally, Reuters is running regular updates (as distinct articles) on the trial’s progress.

Indeed, for the next six weeks, Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial is likely to dominate headlines. Not only in New York, but also the US as a whole, and in large parts of the world too.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.