‘Greatly respected’ by Elon Musk, targeted by conservatives for her LGBTQ pro bono work, Judge Alison Nathan appears destined for coveted federal circuit court post after Maxwell trial
Towards the end of a marathon cross-examination of pilot David Rodgers on day eight of the ギレーヌマクスウェル sex trafficking trial, defence Christian Everdell paused to check the time.
“I thought it was later than it already was,” said Mr Everdell.
“It just feels like it,” Judge Alison Nathan shot back.
The comment drew a murmur of laughter from the court, who had heard hours of repetitive testimony from ジェフリーエプスタイン’s former personal pilot as he described dozens of flights he had flown for the late paedophile.
It was a rare moment of levity in what has been an acrimonious battle between two sets of lawyers who have repeatedly clashed over the admissibility of testimony and exhibits, over witness lists and points of law.
Ms Maxwell is accused of six counts of sex trafficking. She strongly denies all of the charges.
The judge has also made crucial rulings such as when she declined to allow a schoolgirl’s outfit found in Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse during a 2019 FBI raid to be entered into evidence.
And attorneys on both sides agreed that Ms Maxwell’s ‘little black book’ would not be shown to the jury after Judge Nathan warned against “needless” namedropping.
In a trial where every inch has been scrapped over, Judge Nathan has had to make dozens of borderline decisions about whether a particular line of questioning should be allowed.
She often asks the attorney for the grounds of a particular objection, consults the court transcript, and only then offers an “overruled” or “sustained”.
During especially harrowing testimony from the accuser known in court as Carolyn, Judge Nathan had to interject several times to direct the witness to comply with her orders.
Judge Nathan has also shown a commitment to push the trial along at speed, and sought to overcome unexpected hurdles.
On the opening day during a lengthy delay over jury swearing in, Judge Nathan personally called the HR department of one juror’s employer to see if they would extend the length of time they paid for jury duty.
Judge Nathan eventually reported back to the court that the employer had extended its two weeks pay for jury service and the trial could begin.
Prior to the trial, Judge Nathan denied Ms Maxwell’s requests to be released on bail four times due to her being a flight risk.
Ms Maxwell and supporters had offered to put up $28.5m, agree to 24-hour armed guards and renounce her citizenships in the United Kingdom and France.
A graduate of Cornell Law School, Judge Nathan was appointed in 2011 to the District Court by then President バラック・オバマ.
She had previously served as an associate White House counsel and special assistant to President Obama, and later as a special counsel to New York State’s solicitor general.
に 2019, Judge Nathan presided over a case involving Tesla founder and 時間 person of the year イーロン・マスク.
During an ongoing dispute with the SEC over Mr Musk’s use of social media, Judge Nathan ordered the two parties to meet to decide what the billionaire should be allowed to post on Twitter.
After the case was resolved, Mr Musk said in a statement he had “great respect” for the judge.
Judge Nathan also oversaw a request from disgraced movie mogul ハーヴェイ・ワインスタイン, 誰が 2019 asked for an emergency appeal in connection with a sex trafficking charge he faced.
She rejected Weinstein’s claim, ruling that the the order of a fellow judge who died earlier that year was “careful and convincing,」 AP通信が報告した.
While presiding over the most high profile case of her career, she is also preparing to go before the Senate for a confirmation vote after being selected by President ジョー・バイデン for promotion to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
確認された場合, she would be one rung on the judicial ladder below the Supreme Court, and just the second openly LGBTQ woman to serve on a federal circuit court.
ちょうどで 49 年, Judge Nathan would still have plenty of time left to continue her ascent.
She is no stranger to the Supreme Court, having clerked for former Justice John Paul Stevens.
Her nomination to become a district court judge in 2011 was met with fierce objection by conservative groups including Heritage Action for America, which threatened to “punish senators who voted to confirm her”, による The Advocate.
Another conservative activist organisation, Concerned Women for America’s Legislative Action Committee, reportedly wrote to senators to complain about her LGBTQ “political activism” and “judicial temperament”.
The group said Judge Nathan had provided “pro bono representation for the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Service Members Legal Defense Network, and individual service members in challenges to the so-called ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.”
“Her biases are so ingrained and so much the main thrust of her career that it is not rational to believe that she will suddenly change once confirmed as a judge," 彼らが書きました, による The Advocate.
She was supported by New York Senator チャックシューマー, who argued on the Senate floor there should not be a “different standard” for Judge Nathan.
She was eventually confirmed 48-44.
Judge Nathan and her partner, law professor Meg Satterthwaite, are the parents of twin sons, による The Advocate.