Ghislaine Maxwell files request for retrial over juror’s revelation of own sexual abuse

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Ghislaine Maxwell has filed for retrial, several days after she was convicted (ITV)
Ghislaine Maxwell has filed for retrial, several days after she was convicted (ITV)

Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers have formally requested that her sex trafficking convictions be dismissed after claiming a juror failed to disclose he had been sexually abused as a child in a pre-trial questionnaire.

The socialite’s attorneys said in a legal filing on Wednesday that the juror, known by his first names Scotty David, had also convinced other jury members during deliberations that the Maxwell’s victims were telling the truth.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted on five counts of sex trafficking and other crimes for recruiting and grooming teenage girls to have sexual encounters with the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

She is due to be sentenced on 28 June and faces up to 65 years in prison.

In a court filing on Friday, the British socialite’s attorneys said the motion for retrial had been filed under seal, but it referenced Scotty David, juror No 50, who had opened up about his traumatic past.

“For the reasons set forth in the Motion, we request that all submissions pertaining to Juror No 50 remain under seal until the Court rules on the Motion,” attorney Bobbi C Sternheim wrote in a letter to Judge Alison Nathan.

A decision on whether the revelations merit a retrial is likely to be influenced by a longstanding Supreme Court decision that blocks judges from asking jurors what happened during their deliberations.

Scotty David first revealed to the The Independent that he was sexually abused as a child and shared personal details with other jury members during deliberations. He claimed that this helped other jurors find the victims’ testimony believable.

The recent revelations by the juror raised concerns that he did not disclose his abuse previously during pretrial screening, when prospective jurors were asked if they had a history of any form of sexual abuse in a questionnaire.

The juror had told media that he did not remember the question, but that he would have answered honestly.

Prosecutors, who have requested the judge undertake an inquiry into the juror’s statement, will have until a 2 February deadline to respond to the motion filed by Maxwell’s team.

When asked about Maxwell’s conviction, Scotty David told The Independent: “For those who testified, for those who came forward and for those who haven’t come forward, I’m glad that Maxwell has been held accountable.”

He said he trusted all of the victims who testified against Maxwell and all of the accusers corroborated each other and were backed up by other evidence.

Legal experts have suggested Maxwell would not be guaranteed a new trial even if the juror did not reveal his abuse on the questionnaire. They said that the cases where verdicts have been overturned over jurors’ dishonesty are generally because jurors deliberately lied in order to be selected.

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