Who is Alison Nathan, the estimate in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial?

Who is Alison Nathan, the estimate in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial?

Towards the end of a marathon cross-examination of pilot David Rodgers on day eight of the Ghislaine Maxwell 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,” estimate Alison Nathan shot back.

The comment drew a murmur of laughter from the court, who had heard hours of repetitive testimony from Jeffrey Epstein’s former personal pilot as he described dozens of flights he had flown for the late paedophile.

It was a scarce 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 displays, over observe lists and points of law.

Ms Maxwell is accused of six counts of sex trafficking. She strongly denies all of the charges.

The estimate has been called on to make many crucial rulings in the case, 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 estimate Nathan warned against “needless” namedropping.

Prior to the trial, estimate 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.

In a trial where every inch has been scrapped over, estimate 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 “consistent”.

During especially harrowing testimony from the accuser known in court as Carolyn, estimate Nathan had to interject several times to direct the observe to comply with her orders.

estimate Nathan has also shown a keenness to conquer unexpected hurdles.

On the opening day during a lengthy delay over jury swearing in, estimate 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.

estimate Nathan ultimately reported back to the court that the employer had extended its two weeks pay for jury service and the trial could begin.

estimate Nathan has presided over a particularly acrimonious trial as both sets of lawyers have fought over observe testimony and evidence


As the prosecution wrapped up its case on Friday after two weeks of evidence, the court was notified there would be a five day pause before the defence began.

estimate Nathan had been chosen by President Joe Biden for promotion to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and she had to attend a Senate confirmation hearing in Washington DC on Wednesday.

The estimate was grilled by Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for several hours about her views on the Second Amendment, voting rights, and her past legal advocacy work, the New York Times reported.

John Kennedy, the Republican Senator from Louisiana, asked estimate Nathan: “Do you think America is mostly good or mostly bad?”

After telling a story about taking her twin sons to the Supreme Court where she once clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens, she said: “I’m proud to be a part of this American judicial system.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Mr. Kennedy responded. “But do you think America is mostly good or mostly bad?”

“America is mostly good, Senator,” she replied.

If confirmed, estimate Nathan 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.

At just 49 years old, estimate Nathan would nevertheless have plenty of time left to continue her ascent.

Her nomination to become a district court estimate 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”, according to 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 estimate 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 estimate,” they wrote, according to The Advocate.

She was supported by New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who argued on the Senate floor there should not be a “different standard” for estimate Nathan.

She was ultimately confirmed 48-44.

A graduate of Cornell Law School, estimate Nathan was appointed in 2011 to the District Court by then President Barack Obama.

She had before 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.

In 2019, estimate Nathan presided over a case involving Tesla founder and Time person of the year Elon Musk.

During an current argument with the SEC over Mr Musk’s use of social media, estimate 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 estimate.

Elon Musk said he ‘greatly respected’ estimate Nathan after she oversaw his case with the SEC

(Mark Mahaney for TIME)

estimate Nathan also oversaw a request from disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who in 2019 asked for an emergency allurement in connection with a sex trafficking charge he faced.

She rejected Weinstein’s claim, ruling that the the order of a fellow estimate who died earlier that year was “careful and convincing,” the Associated Press reported.

estimate Nathan and her partner, law professor Meg Satterthwaite, are the parents of twin sons, according to The Advocate.

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