Ghislaine Maxwell's right to a fair trial was 'violated' by a biased juror, her lawyers argue

ghislaine maxwell trial
Ghislaine Maxwell listens as defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim gives her opening statement at the start of Maxwell's trial on charges of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., November 29, 2021.Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
  • Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers say their arguments for giving her a retrial should remain under seal.

  • A jury last month found her guilty of sex-trafficking children.

  • One of the jurors told media outlets he was sexually abused as a child himself, raising questions of whether he should have served on the jury.

In a new court filing Tuesday night, Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers argued that her right to a fair trial was "violated" by a biased juror.

Maxwell's lawyers said in the filing that a juror who didn't disclose his previous experience with sexual abuse "corrupted" the jury selection process and prevented Maxwell — a British socialite and associate of Jeffrey Epstein — from getting a fair trial.

Maxwell first requested a new trial earlier this month after "Juror 50" disclosed to media outlets that he had been sexually abused as a child and discussed his experience during jury deliberations.

The motion for a new trial was filed under seal, preventing the public from seeing the arguments she made asking US District Judge Alison Nathan to toss last month's jury verdict that found her guilty of sex trafficking children.

After media outlets asked Nathan to unseal the motion, Nathan asked Maxwell's lawyers to justify why they should remain under seal given the "substantial public interest" in the case. In the new letter, Maxwell's lawyers write that their arguments should remain secret so that media coverage of the case doesn't influence the juror.

"Above all else, the Court must ensure that the most critical evidence to be elicited at the hearing — namely, the testimony of Juror 50 — is not tainted by outside information and influence," Maxwell's lawyers wrote.

Maxwell's lawyers argue that the juror and his lawyer Todd Spodek — best known for representing fake heiress Anna Sorokin — can't "tailor his responses" if Nathan questions him about whether he lied to be on the jury.

"The Motion will provide a roadmap of the defense's examination of Juror 50 and will allow him to plan out and tailor his responses, or even potentially spoliate evidence, to paint himself and his conduct in the best light possible," Maxwell's lawyers wrote. "There is also a significant risk that the publicity that will undoubtedly surround the unsealing of the Motion will influence the memories of other potential witnesses."

Nathan has given prosecutors, who want the guilty verdict against Maxwell to stand, several weeks to file a response to Maxwell's motion for a new trial.

She is expected to rule on whether the disgraced socialite will get a new retrial based on the juror's media interviews ahead of sentencing, which is planned for July.

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