Maxwell requests new trial after lawyers raise concern about juror

British socialite (60) convicted on five counts of sex trafficking and other crimes

Ghislaine Maxwell in 2013. Photograph: United Nations Photo/Rick Bajornas via AP

Ghislaine Maxwell in 2013. Photograph: United Nations Photo/Rick Bajornas via AP

 

Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers have formally asked for a new trial after the her lawyers raised concern about a juror’s possible failure to disclose before the trial that he was sexually abused as a child.

Maxwell (60) was convicted on December 29th on five counts of sex trafficking and other crimes for recruiting and grooming teenage girls to have sexual encounters with the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell faces up to 65 years in prison.

“Today, counsel for Ghislaine Maxwell filed her motion for a new trial,” her defence lawyer, Bobbi C Sternheim, said in a letter to US district judge Alison J Nathan.

In the letter, Ms Sternheim asked that all submissions pertaining to “Juror No 50” remain under seal until the court rules on the motion.

Maxwell’s lawyers said this month there were “incontrovertible grounds” for a new trial after a juror, who asked to be identified by his first and middle names, Scotty David, said he described being abused as a child during jury deliberations.

The next day Maxwell’s lawyer wrote to the judge seeking a new trial and New York attorney Todd Spodek filed an appearance in Maxwell’s case on behalf of Juror No 50. Spodek did not respond to a request for comment and has not disclosed his client’s name in the Maxwell case.

Concerns have been raised that Scotty David did not disclose his abuse during pretrial screening.

Prospective jurors were asked in a questionnaire whether they had ever been a victim of sexual abuse. Scotty David said he did not remember the question, but that he would have answered honestly.

Prosecutors, who have requested that US district judge Alison Nathan conduct an inquiry into the juror’s statements, will have until February 2nd to respond to Maxwell’s motion.

Legal experts said Maxwell would not be guaranteed a new trial even if the juror did not disclose his abuse on the questionnaire, noting that cases of juror dishonesty that led to verdicts being overturned generally involved jurors who deliberately lied in order to be selected.

Judge Nathan last week scheduled Maxwell’s sentencing hearing for June 28th.

Epstein killed himself in 2019 at the age of 66 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.