One juror who participated in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial disclosed that he was a sex abuse victim, prompting her lawyers to push for a new trial.
The 60-year-old British socialite was convicted on Dec. 29 of recruiting and grooming teenage girls to be abused by Jeffrey Epstein.
But on Wednesday, Jan. 5, federal prosecutors requested a court inquiry after 35-year-old juror Scotty David said in interviews that some jurors questioned the accuracy of two of the four accusers’ memories, according to Fox News.
David also revealed his own experience with sexual abuse and said he could not recall every detail of the assault, and that this swayed some of the jurors.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey raised concerns about the juror’s answers on the jury questionnaire, which asked the jurors if they had been victims of sexual abuse and, if so, whether the experience would affect their ability to be impartial.
“Assuming the accuracy of the reporting, the juror asserted that he ‘flew through’ the prospective juror questionnaire and does not recall being asked whether he had been a victim of sexual abuse, but stated that ‘he would have answered honestly,'” Comey wrote. “Based on the foregoing, the government believes the court should conduct an inquiry.”
In a filing, Maxwell’s attorney Christian Everdell said that such revelations “present incontrovertible grounds for a new trial.”
“According to the juror, his disclosure influenced the deliberations and convinced other members of the jury to convict Ms. Maxwell,” the attorney wrote.
In a subsequent document, Jeffrey Pagliuca, another lawyer for Maxwell, wrote that “the Court can and should order a new trial,” adding that the legal team is drafting a motion to support their position.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan set a schedule for both sides to file papers on the matter.