Prosecutors in the Ghislaine Maxwell case are offering to drop two perjury charges against the British socialite if she is sentenced for the sex-related crimes she was convicted of last month.
The offer comes as defense attorneys for Maxwell are calling for a new trial after one of the jurors on the case revealed in media interviews that he had been a victim of sexual assault as a child.
Maxwell faces up to 65 years in prison after being found guilty of five counts last month on charges including enticing minors to travel to engage in sex acts and transporting minors with the intent of having them engage in criminal activity.
She was accused of helping her close confidant, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, recruit and sexually abuse underage girls, allegations that she has denied.
In a letter to Judge Alison Nathan filed on Monday, the government said it is willing to dismiss two perjury counts against Maxwell if her post-trial motions are denied. If any of them are granted, prosecutors said parties should propose a schedule for further proceedings.
Maxwell is facing two counts of perjury in connection to a 2016 civil deposition, which was part of a defamation lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre. A date for that trial has not yet been set.
The government said it is prepared to drop the two charges “in light of the victims’ significant interests in bringing closure to this matter and avoiding the trauma of testifying again.”
Maxwell, however, does not appear to be interested in striking a deal. Her defense team asked the court to delay establishing schedule for sentencing “because there is a compelling basis for the Court to overturn Ms. Maxwell’s conviction and grant her a new trial based on the disclosure of Juror #50 during deliberations,” referring to the juror who said he was a sexual assault victim.
The defense also said that requiring Maxwell to take part in the preparation of the Presentence Investigation Report — which helps the court come to a sentencing decision — while waiting for a response to her motion for a new trial would “adversely impact her Fifth Amendment rights.”
The attorneys said any scheduling for the perjury counts “should be deferred until the post-trial motions are resolved.”
Both the prosecutors and defense attorneys in the Maxwell case raised concerns after learning that a juror had been a victim of sexual assault, which was not disclosed during jury selection. Prosecutors wrote to Nathan asking that an investigation into the matter be opened, and the defense said a new trial should be held.
The defense pointed to reports from British media that accused the juror of telling other jurors that he had been sexually abused as a child in an effort to persuade them to convict Maxwell, according to The Associated Press.
Maxwell’s attorneys are also reportedly arguing that the juror’s failure to report his experience with sexual assault compromised the jury selection process.