The judge presiding over the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite facing sex abuse charges, granted the jury at least one extra hour to deliberate Tuesday, citing an "astronomical spike" in coronavirus cases.
"We now face a high and escalating risk that jurors and/or trial participants may need to quarantine," said U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan to the prosecution and defense teams.
The jury started its deliberation Tuesday morning, according to a report.
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The 60-year-old Maxwell stands accused of recruiting and preparing at least four teenage girls to engage sexually with the late Jeffrey Epstein for a decade.
Three of the accusers allege Maxwell also touched them while they were nude, according to court documents.
However, the defense argues Maxwell is being treated as a scapegoat for Epstein, who died in 2019.
Deliberations in the New York City courthouse began Dec. 20 and were renewed Monday, the report noted.
The jury now has until 6 p.m. on Tuesday to reach a verdict, according to Nathan's order.
"We are very simply at a different place regarding the epidemic than we were even a week ago," she said.
The move appears to seek to push the jury to make a decision, Maxwell's defense attorney Laura Menninger said.
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It was "beginning to sound like urging them to hurry up," Menninger said.