Judge nixes Maxwell's request to seal motions for new trial

FILE - This courtroom sketch shows Judge Alison Nathan reading the guilty verdict against Ghislaine Maxwell in her sex trafficking trial, Wednesday Dec. 29, 2021, in New York. A federal judge has ruled that Maxwell's bid for a new trial must be aired out in the open. In her Friday, Feb. 11 ruling, Nathan denied a request to keep motions for a new trial under seal. (Elizabeth Williams via AP, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge ruled that Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted in December of conspiring to recruit and groom teenage girls to be abused by Jeffrey Epstein, must air her bid for a new trial out in the open.

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan on Friday denied Maxwell's request to keep her motions for a new trial temporarily under seal, saying doing so was not in the public interest. The judge said public access to the documents and any ensuing publicity would not violate Maxwell's right to fair proceedings.

“The Court is unpersuaded by the Defendant’s concern that media interest in the motion warrants temporary sealing of the documents in their entirety,” Nathan wrote in her ruling.

Maxwell’s attorneys have raised concern about the truthfulness of one of the jurors who convicted Maxwell in December of conspiring to procure and groom teenage girls to be abused by Epstein. Maxwell’s lawyers contend that the juror failed to disclose that he was a victim of sexual abuse.

Related video: Ghislaine Maxwell requests new trial after juror interviews

In interviews to news outlets, the juror described a moment during the deliberations when he told fellow jurors that, like some of the victims of the late financier Epstein, he had been sexually abused as a child. And he said he convinced other jurors that a victim’s imperfect memory of sex abuse doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, Maxwell's lawyers asked the court to vacate her convictions and acquit her, arguing that despite the jury's verdicts on multiple counts, prosecutors failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.