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Ghislaine Maxwell's Attorneys Want New Trial After Juror Says His Own Experiences With Sexual Abuse Influenced Other Jurors
Juror Scotty David told multiple media outlets after Ghislaine Maxwell's guilty verdict that sharing his own experience with sexual abuse helped other jurors "come around on the memory aspect" regarding her accuser's testimony.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s attorneys believe she deserves a new trial after one of the jurors who convicted her came forward to say he was a victim of sexual abuse—and that he used his experience to influence others on the jury.
Attorney Christian Everdell made the argument that there was now “incontrovertible grounds” for Maxwell to get a new trial in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, referencing the juror’s recent comments to multiple media outlets, according to Reuters.
He argued the juror “influenced the deliberations and convinced other members of the jury to convict Ms. Maxwell” and asked Nathan to open an inquiry into the comments.
Prosecutors have also requested an inquiry in their own letter to the judge obtained by Oxygen.com.
“The Government has become aware that a juror has given several interviews to press outlets regarding his jury service in this case,” United States Attorney Damian Williams wrote. “While the Court instructed jurors that they were free to discuss their jury service with anyone of their choosing, some of the statements, as related in the media, merit attention by the Court.”
Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, declined to comment further on the matter.
The juror—who asked to be identified by multiple media outlets by his first and middle name of Scotty David—told The Independent that during the deliberations for Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial some of the jurors had been skeptical about accounts shared by several of the women who testified against the British socialite.
Defense attorneys had tried to poke holes in the women’s stories by questioning details of their memories, however, David said that drawing from his own experience he knew that sometimes you can remember small details incorrectly but still retain the central memory of what happened.
“I know what happened when I saw sexually abused. I remember the color of the carpet, the walls. Some of it can be replayed like a video,” he said. “But I can’t remember all the details, there are some things that run together.”
David said that he shared his own story of abuse with the jury and he believed that the account had helped some of the jurors believe the women’s description of events.
“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 said in another interview with Reuters.
When asked whether he had divulged his past in the juror questionnaire—which specifically asked whether or not the potential juror or their family or friends had ever been the victim of sexual abuse—David told Reuters he didn’t remember because he “flew through” the questionnaire.
He added that although he didn’t remember the specifics, he would have answered honestly on the questionnaire.
Nathan followed up with those who had answered “yes” to the question whether or not they’d be able to be impartial if they served on the jury.
David told Reuters he was never questioned by Nathan about his past history of sexual abuse.
Legal experts have said the judge’s decision about whether to grant Maxwell a new trial in light of the juror’s statements will likely be influenced by how he answered in his questionnaire.
Former federal prosecutor Moira Penza told Reuters an inquiry could center on whether the juror made a mistake or omission when filing out the questionnaire and said in the past new trials have been granted if it’s determined “purposeful lies or omissions” were made during the screening process.
Penza, who is now a partner in the Wilkinson Stekloff law firm, added that it was “not what we’re hearing so far.”
Nathan said Wednesday that she has not decided whether questioning of the juror about his statements to the public is warranted, CNN reports.
However, she did lay out a briefing schedule and ordered the defense to file any motion for a new trial in the case by Jan. 19. She asked that prosecutors file their own response to any motion by February 2.
Maxwell was convicted last week on five counts of sex trafficking after four women took the stand during her criminal trial to accuse her of recruiting and grooming underage girls for sexual abuse with wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein had been facing his own set of federal sex trafficking charges in 2019 when he took his own life in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial.
For more on the case, watch Peacock’s “Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell.”