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Maxwell Jury Deliberates in Empty Courtroom as Virus Surges

  • Some federal judges require vaccinated jurors, others don’t
  • There’s concern requirements could lead to less diverse juries
The main jury panel waits to be dismissed after deliberating during Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial in New York, on Dec. 21.
The main jury panel waits to be dismissed after deliberating during Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial in New York, on Dec. 21.Photographer: Elizabeth Williams/AP Photo
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New Yorkers now can’t enter restaurants or movie theaters without showing proof of vaccination, but there’s no hard-and-fast rule excluding the unvaccinated from federal jury service.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, who is presiding over Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial said she didn’t see a legal basis for striking unvaccinated jurors. That decision came weeks before the omicron variant began to appear in the New York area, boosting positive Covid cases. While it is unclear whether all of the jurors selected in the Maxwell trial are vaccinated, at least one woman told the judge during the selection process that she was not currently enrolled in graduate school because of a vaccination policy. Her status may have changed since then.