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Ghislaine Maxwell’s attorneys have claimed that a juror “violated” her right to a fair trial in his responses to a jury questionnaire given to potential jurors before the sex trafficking trial began.
The attorneys, who have requested a retrial, also claim that the same juror—who has been identified by his first and middle name of Scotty David—“corrupted the voir dire” process, according to The New York Post.
The process is designed to give prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge an opportunity to question prospective jurors about their history and whether they’d be able to view a case impartially before they are seated on a jury.
Although David’s responses to the jury questionnaire haven’t been made public, he made headlines shortly after the Maxwell’s conviction for sex trafficking when he told media outlets that he had once been a victim of sexual abuse himself.
David, identified in court as Juror 50, told Reuters last month that he shared his past abuse with other jurors during deliberations and that he believed opening up about his own story had swayed some of the jurors in the case.
When asked whether he had disclosed the abuse to the trial’s attorneys, David said he didn’t remember but admitted he “flew through” the initial questionnaire.
He added, however, that he would have answered any questions posed to him honestly.
Maxwell’s attorneys made their latest claims that the juror’s actions had “violated” their client’s right to a fair trial in a letter to Judge Alison Nathan requesting that their motion for a new trial be sealed until Nathan rules on the request or a hearing can be held on the matter.
They said that arguments made within the motion should be sealed, in part, to prevent David from seeing his responses to the questionnaire in advance of a hearing. They argued it “will provide a roadmap of the defense’s examination of Juror 50 and will allow him to plan out or tailor his responses, or even potentially spoliate evidence, to paint himself and his conduct in the best light possible,” according to the letter also obtained by The Guardian.
They also argued that it could have an impact on others connected to the case.
“There is also a significant risk that the publicity that will undoubtedly surround the unsealing of the motion will influence the memories of other potential witnesses,” her attorneys wrote. “All of this will frustrate the truth-seeking process of any factual inquiry ordered by the court and jeopardize Ms Maxwell’s one chance to vindicate her right to a fair trial.”
Shortly after David granted the media interviews, prosecutors sent their own letter to Nathan, which was obtained by Oxygen.com, saying the juror’s statements “merit attention by the Court” and requested an inquiry into the matter.
Attempts by Oxygen.com to reach the Southern District of New York’s District Attorney’s Office by about the latest filing by Maxwell’s attorneys were not immediately successful.
Maxwell was convicted in late December on five counts related to sexual trafficking of young girls. Prosecutors said Maxwell helped recruit and groom underage girls for her one-time boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.
Epstein took his own life in August of 2019 while awaiting trial on his own federal sexual trafficking charges.
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