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Who Is Alison Nathan? Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Judge

Newsweek logo Newsweek 11/29/2021 Isabel van Brugen
U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan is overseeing the sex abuse trial of Maxwell in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Opening statements in the trial will begin on Monday. © NYU School of Law U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan is overseeing the sex abuse trial of Maxwell in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Opening statements in the trial will begin on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan is presiding over the criminal sex abuse case against longtime Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, as opening statements are set to begin on Monday.

Maxwell, a British socialite who has been detained in a Brooklyn jail since she was arrested on July 2, 2020, is accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls for the late convicted sex offender Epstein between 1994 and 2004.

Maxwell has maintained her innocence in the case and has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Who Is Alison J. Nathan?

The Manhattan federal judge is overseeing the sex abuse trial of Maxwell in the U.S. District Court. It is expected to last as long as six weeks.

Judge Nathan, 49, has spent a decade on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and earlier in November oversaw jury selection in Maxwell's trial.

A graduate of Cornell Law School, she was appointed in 2011 to the District Court by then President Barack Obama. Prior to that, she served as an associate White House counsel and special assistant to Obama, and later as a special counsel to New York State's solicitor general.

The judge also formerly held a position of legal clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. She was also an associate role in the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in New York and Washington, D.C. between 2002 and 2006.


Video: Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial begins (ABC News)

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From 2008 to 2009, she was a Fritz Alexander Fellow at New York University School of Law and before that, from 2006 to 2008, a visiting assistant professor of law at Fordham University Law School.

Earlier in November, following a recommendation from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the White House said it had nominated the judge for a federal appeals court post—to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The White House in its announcement said that if confirmed, Nathan would become the second openly LGBTQ woman to serve as a federal appellate judge.

Schumer in his recommendation cited Judge Nathan's "experience, legal brilliance, love of the rule of law and perspective," and called her "outstanding."

"I am confident Alison Nathan, a deeply respected legal leader, would follow the facts and administer justice without fear or favor and will greatly help restore integrity and professionalism to the federal court," Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, added at the time.

Maxwell, the daughter of a British media mogul, faces several sex-trafficking charges. She has been denied bail on four occasions.

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