Ghislaine Maxwell’s bid for a new trial was turned down by a judge
Ghislaine Maxwell lost her bid for a new trial on Friday after requesting a re-trial because of a garrulous juror who questioned her conviction with a series of post-trial interviews.
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Alison Nathan’s order came weeks after she grilled the juror, identified by the media by his first and middle names Scotty David, over his answers to a juror questionnaire during last year’s selection process.
David answered “no” to questions on the form asking if he or his close relatives and friends had ever been a victim of sexual abuse, according to his publicly submitted questionnaire.
At the hearing, David claimed he was “super distracted” filling out the questionnaire and mistakenly ticked “no” to the questions as he “flipped through” the form.
In interviews with a range of media shortly after Maxwell’s conviction, David revealed he had been a victim of childhood sexual abuse – and said he shared his experience during jury deliberations.
His stories, he told Reuters, helped persuade his colleagues to convict Maxwell of sex trafficking and other charges.
In court filings filed after the hearing, Maxwell’s attorneys said David’s responses reveal his bias, as his childhood sexual abuse was “remarkably” similar to accounts given by victims who testified in court.
“If we learned one thing from Juror 50 at the hearing, it’s that he should never have been a member of that jury,” Maxwell’s attorneys wrote.
“The abuse described by Juror 50 at the hearing … was remarkably similar to the abuse described by the four key government witnesses and on its own would have formed the basis of a good cause challenge,” they wrote.
If David had disclosed his sexual abuse during selection, he would have been dropped from the jury, her attorneys added.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued the jury made an “honest mistake” – saying even if David had disclosed his past sexual abuse on the questionnaire, he would have been admitted to the jury, they wrote.
“Jury 50’s affidavits made it clear that he was a fair and impartial juror with no bias and would not have had cause to be excused,” prosecutors for the Southern District of New York wrote.
At trial, prosecutors framed Maxwell as a serial “predator” who preyed on young, vulnerable girls and lured them into orbit for multi-millionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse them.
Maxwell was convicted in December of five of six counts, including sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, after a month-long trial at which four of her accusers testified.