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Ghislaine Maxwell formally requests new trial after juror reveals past sexual abuse

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Ghislaine Maxwell Jeffrey Epstein
Ghislaine Maxwell is seen in a courtroom sketch from her trial.Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
  • Ghislaine Maxwell filed a motion on Wednesday requesting her conviction be overturned and a new trial granted.

  • The motion, filed under seal, comes after one of the jurors revealed to media outlets that he had been sexually abused in the past.

  • Maxwell's lawyers have argued that the juror failed to disclose this during a pre-trial questionnaire.

Convicted sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell filed a motion on Wednesday night requesting a new trial after a juror disclosed to media outlets that he had been sexually abused as a child and used his experience to influence his fellow jurors during deliberations.

Maxwell, the longtime Jeffrey Epstein associate, formally requested that her conviction be overturned. Her attorneys have alleged that Juror #50, identified in media outlets by his first and middle name, Scotty David, did not disclose his sexual abuse on a questionnaire he filled out and signed during the jury selection process at the start of the month-long trial.

Maxwell's attorneys filed the motion under seal Wednesday just before US District Judge Alison Nathan's midnight deadline. In an accompanying letter that was not filed under seal, Bobbi C. Sternheim, one of the four attorneys representing Maxwell in her criminal case, asked Nathan to keep all the following submissions related to Juror #50 under seal until she decided whether to grant a new trial.

Though past experience with sexual abuse is not automatically disqualifying for jurors, defense attorneys often use the jury selection process — known as voir dire — to interrogate or even eliminate prospective jurors who may have a bias against their client.

Given that Maxwell was charged with sex crimes, the pre-trial questionnaires asked all prospective jurors, "Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?"

David told Reuters he "flew through" the questionnaire and did not recall being asked about his personal experience with sexual abuse. David's questionnaire has not been made public and it's unclear how he answered the question.

Legal experts previously told Insider that jurors can be charged with perjury for lying on pre-trial questionnaires, though prosecution is rare. The experts also said there are many explanations for why prospective jurors incorrectly fill out their forms — for instance, they may have misread or simply not noticed certain questions.

Maxwell's attorneys previously said in a January 5 letter to Nathan that the juror's actions presented "incontrovertible grounds for a new trial."

A second juror, who has not been publicly identified, also told The New York Times earlier this month that they, too, discussed their experience with sexual abuse during deliberations, and that their story seemed to help sway other jurors.

David told multiple media outlets that several of his fellow jurors had expressed reservations about some of the witnesses who had testified against Maxwell at trial, and were skeptical about the gaps in their memories.

David said he helped convince his fellow jurors to believe the witnesses, explaining that he had been sexually abused in his past, and had similar gaps in memory.

"I know what happened when I was sexually abused. I remember the color of the carpet, the walls. Some of it can be replayed like a video," David told The Independent. "But I can't remember all the details, there are some things that run together."

Read the original article on Insider

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