• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Ghislaine Maxwell requests new sex abuse trial amid concerns over juror's revelation

·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers filed a formal request for a retrial Wednesday after they raised concerns about a juror's possible failure to disclose that he was sexually abused as a child.

Maxwell, 60, a British socialite, was convicted late last year for her role in recruiting and grooming teenage girls to be sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein. She faces up to 65 years behind bars if the conviction on five counts of sex trafficking and other crimes is allowed to stand.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan late Wednesday, Maxwell’s defense lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said counsel had “filed her motion for a new trial.”

The letter did not directly attribute the request to concerns over the juror's revelations. However, Sternheim requested that all submissions pertaining to “Juror No. 50” remain under seal until the court has ruled on the motion. Sternheim did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

Maxwell’s attorneys said this month that they believed that the juror’s account of past sexual abuse was a “compelling basis” to overturn Maxwell’s conviction on Dec. 29 and grant a new trial.

The juror’s experience, they said, could have “influenced the deliberations and convinced other members of the jury to convict Ms. Maxwell.” The lawyers expressed concerns about the juror's possible failure to disclose the account of past sexual abuse before the trial.

In recent interviews with Reuters and the British newspaper The Independent, the juror, who was identified only by his first and middle names, Scotty David, 35, said he "flew through" an initial questionnaire ahead of the trial.

The questionnaire specifically asked: “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?”

He said he would have answered honestly about his history of being sexually abused had he been asked about it in follow-up questioning.

He acknowledged that he had shared his experience of past sexual abuse with his fellow jurors after some expressed doubts about the credibility of two women who testified that Maxwell groomed them for sex with Epstein when they were teenagers.

“When I shared that, they were able to sort of come around on, they were able to come around on the memory aspect of the sexual abuse,” he told Reuters.

The federal government said Jan. 10 that it would be willing to dismiss two perjury charges against Maxwell if her sex abuse conviction was allowed to stand.

The offer was made in a joint letter to Nathan from prosecutors and Maxwell’s defense team.

Prosecutors said dismissing the perjury counts would be in line with victims’ “significant interests in bringing closure to this matter and avoiding the trauma of testifying again.”

They also asked Nathan to sentence Maxwell in around three to four months — a request her lawyers opposed, citing the possibility that the juror’s account could be grounds for a retrial.

Nathan proceeded Friday with scheduling Maxwell's sentencing hearing for the morning of June 28.

Epstein, a financier and convicted sex offender who was a close confidant of Maxwell, died by suicide in a New York City jail cell in August 2019 as he await his trial on sex abuse charges.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting