Ghislaine Maxwell should be given a new trial after a juror failed to disclose that he suffered sexual abuse that was “remarkably” similar to the victims who testified at trial, her lawyers argued in a court filing late Tuesday.
Maxwell’s attorneys pleaded for a new trial for the convicted sex trafficker after Judge Alison Nathan last week grilled juror No. 50, who has been identified by his first and middle names, Scotty David, about how and why he omitted during jury selection that he had been the victim of childhood sexual abuse.
“If there is one thing we learned from Juror 50 at the Hearing, it is this: he should never have been a member of this jury,” Maxwell’s attorneys wrote.
“The abuse Juror 50 described at the Hearing … was remarkably similar to the abuse described by the government’s four key victim witnesses and would, by itself, have formed the basis for a challenge for cause,” they wrote.
If David had answered queries on a pre-trial questionnaire about his past sexual abuse accurately, he would have been stricken from the selection process, her lawyers went on.
They added that even after consulting with a lawyer and being granted immunity from prosecution, his answers at the hearing last week were inconsistent, contradictory “and at all times lacked credibility.”
The juror threw Maxwell’s guilty verdict into question after he revealed in a number of press interviews after the trial that he had been a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
In an interview with Reuters, the juror said he shared with fellow jurors that he had been abused as a child — and highlighted his experience to convince the panel to vote to convict Maxwell.
At the hearing last week, David told Nathan that he was sexually abused by a stepbrother and his friend as a child on multiple occasions when he was 9 and 10 years old.
He did not reveal the abuse on his questionnaire because he was “super distracted” while filling it out and “flew through” the pamphlet, he claimed at the hearing.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, filed court papers against granting Maxwell a new trial, arguing the juror made an “honest mistake.”
Even if David had revealed his past sexual abuse on the questionnaire, he would have been allowed on the jury, they wrote.
“Juror 50’s sworn responses made clear that he was a fair and impartial juror who did not harbor any bias and who would not have been excused for cause,” prosecutors from the Southern District of New York wrote.
“Because the defendant cannot establish that Juror 50 was biased, she is not entitled to the extraordinary relief she seeks,” they added.
Maxwell was convicted on five of six counts in December, including on charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy.
Four victims testified at trial about how Maxwell groomed them while they were teenagers for multimillionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.