As the hearing began, I held my breath. Having spent so long searching for her for my story “In Plain Sight,” in the July/August issue of Vanity Fair, I was eager to see how she looked and hear what she had to say. But the teleconference line through which the public and press could listen in was so jammed that the court had to increase capacity from an initial 500 to 1,000 callers. I finally snuck in—a recording said I was No. 1,000. But I could only hear the proceedings, not see them, so I relied on dispatches from Vanity Fair’s Dan Adler, who was among the reporters at the courthouse, all masked and seated six feet apart.
Join now A screen in the U.S. District Court’s jury room in Manhattan came alive and a Zoom-style, four-square image appeared: Maxwell’s lawyer, Mark S. Cohen, in one square; a conference table with the prosecutors, led on this occasion by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe, in another; Judge Alison J. Nathan; and, finally, Ghislaine Maxwell.
But there wouldn’t be any Maxwell photographs this time. Since cameras weren’t allowed in the court, and no mug shot has been released, those of us who weren’t present had to make do with sketches by two court artists who were sitting in front of the screen. The results were harsh: Her party-picture smile was replaced with a grimace, she wore no makeup, and she looked hard and emotionless. Her signature black pixie bob had grown out—she hadn’t had it cut in a year, we were told—and her hair was pulled back into, of all things, a bun. As for wardrobe: She wore a baggy, prison-issued brown top, which seemed to be made of cloth instead of paper, which she was said to have originally worn in custody to prevent her from using it to hang herself.