Ghislaine Maxwell's Lawyers File for Retrial Over Juror’s Disclosure He Was Victim of Sexual Abuse
08:52 GMT 20.01.2022 (Updated: 09:01 GMT 20.01.2022)
The disgraced 60-year-old British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted last December for recruiting and grooming teenagers for the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse at his various properties between 1994 and 2004 after a month-long trial in New York.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s defence team has filed a motion for a retrial just weeks after she was found guilty in a New York court on 29 December of recruiting underage girls to be sexually abused by the late billionaire financier.
"Today, counsel for Ghislaine Maxwell filed her Motion For A New Trial (the "motion") and accompanying exhibits under seal," stated lawyer Bobbi Sternheim in a letter to Judge Alison Nathan on Wednesday.
The former girlfriend and “pimp” of the convicted pedophile is facing sentencing on 28 June, with the prospect of spending up to 60 years in a US jail.
Pronounced "dangerous" and Epstein's "partner in crime", Ghislaine Maxwell had been convicted of five out of six counts she faced, following harrowing testimony by four women who described being abused by the late tycoon between 1994 and 2004 at his various properties in Florida, New York and New Mexico. At the time of the abuse, some of the girls were as young as 14. The conviction had capped a month-long trial.
However, after the verdict, Juror 50, who identified himself by his first names, Scotty David, revealed in interviews with several news outlets, including the Daily Mail, that he had disclosed personal histories of childhood sexual abuse to fellow panel members during deliberations.
Potential jurors had all completed questionnaires during the selection process, which included responding to: “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?”
The questionnaire also asked:
“Witnesses in this case may testify claiming sexual abuse or sexual assault. Would you have any difficulty assessing the credibility of a witness claiming sexual assault or abuse just like you would any other witness?”
Juror 50 told media that he “flew through” the questionnaire and did not recall being asked about his personal sexual abuse experiences.
A second juror, in an interview with The New York Times, also described being sexually abused as a child and discussing that experience during deliberations, adding the disclosure appeared to influence the jury’s discussions.
As jury impartiality was questioned, Ghislaine Maxwell’s legal team insisted the juror’s published comments necessitated a retrial.
Earlier this month, Maxwell's lawyers wrote to Judge Alison Nathan saying the issue with the juror "presents incontrovertible grounds for a new trial". In response, the judge asked the defence team to make their request by 19 January.
As Ghislaine Maxwell’s defence filed a motion for a retrial just ahead of the deadline, Bobbi Sternheim added in Wednesday’s letter to the Judge:
“For the reasons set forth in the motion, we request that all submissions pertaining to Juror No 50 remain under seal until the court rules on the motion.”