Ghislaine Maxwell to appeal sex trafficking conviction arguing juror was biased

·3 min read
Former socialite and daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell was jailed for 20 years last June - Laura Cavanaugh
Former socialite and daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell was jailed for 20 years last June - Laura Cavanaugh

Ghislaine Maxwell will on Tuesday lodge an appeal against her sex trafficking conviction, arguing that a juror who was sexually abused as a child had swayed the panel against her.

The former socialite and daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell was jailed for 20 years last June after being convicted of procuring young girls for the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Her appeal will be based on several alleged “errors” made by both the US Government and the district court, The Telegraph understands.

One of the jurors, known as Scotty David, failed to disclose his own experience of sexual abuse during jury selection, only revealing his childhood trauma in a newspaper interview after the trial.

Later questioned about the omission in court, he told judge Alison Nathan that he was distracted when he filled out the screening questionnaire for potential panellists.

Maxwell was convicted on December 29, 2021
Maxwell was convicted on December 29, 2021

The sexual abuse and assault question on the survey was considered vital to the process of picking a fair panel in a high-profile case that centred on the abuse of underage victims.

Maxwell’s lawyers have said he should never have been a member of the jury and will argue on appeal that his false statements had denied her the right to a fair trial.

“To compound the error, he used his undisclosed prior experience to convince other jurors that she was guilty,” they will say.

For a chance of success of appeal, they will have to show that Mr David purposefully lied and that his revelation improperly influenced the panel.

Lawyers will claim Maxwell used as 'proxy' for Epstein

Maxwell, 60, will also claim that she was prosecuted as a “proxy” for Epstein as the state sought to satisfy public outrage over his crimes.

Her lawyers believe she was made the scapegoat after a litany of failings which allowed Epstein to strike a non-prosecution agreement and evade justice before he died.

The billionaire financier was found hanged in an apparent suicide in his prison cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex offences.

Maxwell believes she was blamed for Epstein’s crimes as a foil for the US Government’s incompetence.

'Inhumane conditions'

She will also argue that the Government breached its promise not to prosecute her, claiming that a non-prosecution deal struck by Epstein in 2007 gave her immunity.

And she will claim that the Government was barred by a five-year statute of limitations from bringing charges against her.

His victims, she will claim, were motivated by money, developing new allegations from “faded memories” for financial compensation.

Maxwell will also argue that she was held in solitary confinement in the Brooklyn detention Center under “inhumane conditions”, denied bail and access to legal counsel.

As such, at trial she will allege that she was so “decompensated” she was unable to assist in her own defence or to testify.

Maxwell’s lawyers also believe that the court failed to correct the jury’s misunderstanding of elements of four of the charges, leading to an amendment to the indictment which meant she was convicted of crimes with which she was not charged.

And they believe the court made several errors in sentencing.

‘Calculated publicity stunt’

In a statement released on Tuesday night, Maxwell’s family said she had been “outrageously criminalised in the eyes of the world” by William Barr, the then US Attorney General who was “embarrassed” by Epstein’s death on his watch.

“He needed a proxy and, in Ghislaine, found his victim,” they said.

The family said the police raid on her home was a “calculated publicity stunt” and claimed that if the FBI had asked her lawyers, Maxwell would have presented herself for questioning.

They repeated their claims that she did not receive a fair trial.

Maxwell’s brother, Ian Maxwell, branded the case “a stitch-up from beginning to end.”