Ghislaine Maxwell’s attorneys file motion for retrial following juror concerns
Attorneys for British socialite and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, convicted on sex trafficking charges last month, on Wednesday filed a motion for a retrial.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, Maxwell’s attorney Bobbi Sternheim cited a juror who served at the trial as a reason for requesting a new trial.
Earlier this month, both Maxwell’s attorneys and federal prosecutors raised concerns when a juror who spoke to media revealed that he was a victim of sexual abuse.
The juror, identified as Scotty David, told media outlets that he had disclosed his history as a survivor of sexual abuse to convince his fellow members of the jury to “come around” on the issue of potentially imperfect recall from Maxwell’s alleged victims.
“When I shared that, they were able to sort of come around on — they were able to come around on the memory aspect of the sexual abuse,” he told Reuters.
In December, a jury found Maxwell guilty on five counts including enticing minors to travel to engage in sex acts, transporting minors with the intent of having them engage in criminal sexual activity and perjury. Prosecutors later offered to drop the perjury charges in exchange for Maxwell being sentenced on the sex trafficking charges.
If sentenced, Maxwell potentially faces several decades in prison.
Potential jurors were asked on a questionnaire whether they or someone in their family had experienced past sexual abuse, with jurors’ answers potentially affecting their impartiality. David claimed to not recall being asked about this, saying he “flew through” the questionnaire.
Prosecutors asked that Nathan open an investigation into the issue.
“The Government proposes that the Court schedule a hearing in approximately one month, along with an appropriate schedule for pre-hearing briefing regarding the applicable law and the scope of the hearing,” they said, asking that the investigation be handled completely under the supervision of the court.
Maxwell’s attorneys, however, immediately argued that this admission was grounds for a retrial.
“The government’s request for a hearing is premature because based on undisputed, publicly available information, the Court can and should order a new trial without any evidentiary hearing,” they said.
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