The attorneys for Jeffrey Epstein girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell have asked that her sex trafficking conviction be overturned and a retrial be scheduled after it was reported that two of the jurors shared their own stories of having been sexually abused with fellow jurors during deliberations. Additionally, one of the jurors who shared his story of being sexually abused did not reveal his history during jury selection.
Maxwell’s attorneys filed a motion for retrial under seal and referenced Juror No. 50, known as Scotty David. In a letter to Judge Alison Nathan, attorney Bobbi Sternheim wrote, “For the reasons set forth in the Motion, we request that all submissions pertaining to Juror No. 50 remain under seal until the Court rules on the old Motion.”
David claimed he told his fellow jurors, “I know what happened when I was sexually abused. I remember the colour of the carpet, the walls. Some of it can be replayed like a video. But I can’t remember all the details, there are some things that run together,” according to the Independent. He added, “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,” the BBC reported.
David had claimed to The Daily Mail that he had not been asked on the jury questionnaire about any history of being sexually abused, but the 48th question on the questionnaire asked, “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault? (This includes actual or attempted sexual assault or other unwanted sexual advance, including by a stranger, acquaintance, supervisor, teacher, or family member).”
Three boxes indicated which answer to give: Yes (self), Yes (friend or family member) and No.
Last week, Nathan scheduled Maxwell’s sentencing hearing for June 28. Meanwhile, prosecutors will have until February 2 to respond to Maxwell’s motion for a new trial.
Damian Williams, U.S. State Attorney for the Southern District of New York wrote to Federal Court asking for an inquiry, saying that statements by “merit attention by the Court. … In particular, the juror has described being a victim of sexual abuse. Assuming the accuracy of the reporting, the juror asserted that he ‘flew through’ the prospective juror questionnaire and does not recall being asked whether he had been a victim of sexual abuse, but stated that ‘he would have answered honestly.’”
Maxwell’s attorneys say an investigation is unnecessary that the jurors’ statements comprise “incontrovertible grounds” for a mistrial.
Neama Rahmani, president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told Insider that the fact that two jurors reportedly spoke of their sexual abuse to other jurors was “absolutely the last thing you want when you get a guilty verdict. It’s an absolute disaster.” Former federal prosecutor David Weinstein stated that all jurors may now be interviewed.