Prosecutors May Drop Ghislaine Maxwell Perjury Charge if Her Sex Trafficking Case Retrial Bid Fails
© REUTERS / JANE ROSENBERGGhislaine Maxwell watches as witness Eva Andersson is questioned by defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca during the trial of Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate accused of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, U.S., December 17, 2021.
Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell, found guilty on 29 December of conspiring with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein to groom and sexually abuse underage girls, are calling for a retrial after it turned out that some jurors used their own similar stories of abuse to possibly sway the jury’s decision.
If Ghislaine Maxwell is not granted a retrial in her sex trafficking case, prosecutors are prepared to drop pending perjury counts when she is sentenced to prevent victims from being re-traumatised at a possible second trial.
“In the event the defendant’s post-trial motions are denied, the government is prepared to dismiss the severed perjury counts at the time of sentencing, in light of the victims’ significant interests in bringing closure to this matter and avoiding the trauma of testifying again,” they stated in a 10 January letter to Manhattan federal Judge Alison Nathan.
Prosecutors also urged that Maxwell’s sentencing take place “approximately three to four months from today’s date”.
British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted in a New York courtroom on 29 December of recruiting and grooming underage girls, some as young as 14, for Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse between 1994 and 2004. She faces up to 60 years in jail.
The late pedophile’s former girlfriend and “pimp” faces two perjury counts for allegedly lying under oath in a sworn deposition she gave in 2016 in a defamation case brought against her by the late tycoon’s accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre in the Southern District of New York. Manhattan courtroom Judge Alison Nathan, who is presiding over Maxwell’s case, previously ruled that she would be tried separately for the perjury counts.
10 January, 19:15 GMT
However, Maxwell’s defence team has called for a new trial following reports that some jurors might have failed to disclose their own past sexual abuse prior to jury selection. The aforementioned jurors may have manipulated that personal experience during deliberations to sway other jurors and influence the outcome of the case.
District Judge Alison Nathan had requested the defence submit a retrial request by 19 January.
Defence Seeks Retrial
Earlier, it was claimed that lawyers representing Ghislaine Maxwell had possibly discovered yet another juror involved in their client's trial who supposedly lied on their application about being abused, according to The Mail on Sunday. A cited source revealed that there were also “questions over a fourth juror, so this thing is up in the air".
This followed two other jurors admitting to using their personal childhood experience as victims of sexual abuse during Maxwell's recent trial.
Juror No 50, identified as Scotty David, told media that he spoke to other jurors about his experience with sexual abuse while they were deciding the verdict.
“When I shared that, they were able to come around on the memory aspect of the sexual abuse,” he was cited as saying.
He also claimed he could not remember if he revealed this information about his past in the pre-trial questionnaire.
Another unidentified juror also told The New York Times that they revealed to the jury that they experienced sexual abuse, which “appeared to help shape the jury’s discussions".