The Manhattan federal judge who presided over the trial of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell has scheduled a hearing with the juror who called Maxwell’s guilty verdict into question, intending for him to testify under oath.
In a court ruling filed Thursday, per the New York Post, Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of New York wrote that she would question the juror, identified by his first and middle names as Scotty David, under oath, in a public court hearing on March 8.
“Juror 50’s post-trial statements are ‘clear, strong, substantial and incontrovertible evidence that a specific, nonspeculative impropriety’—namely, a false statement during jury selection—has occurred,” Nathan wrote, via the Post.
Nathan made clear in the order that it isn’t easy to obtain a hearing questioning a trial juror like the kind she will conduct with David, The Associated Press reported further. However, Nathan concluded — and the prosecution conceded the point — that the high standard needed to stage an evidentiary hearing after a verdict has been handed down had been met “as to whether Juror 50 failed to respond truthfully during the jury selection process to whether he was a victim of sexual abuse.”
Nathan wrote that David “made several direct, unambiguous statements to multiple media outlets about his own experience that do not pertain to jury deliberations and that cast doubt on the accuracy of his responses during jury selection.”
“To be clear, the potential impropriety is not that someone with a history of sexual abuse may have served on the jury,” Nathan wrote. “Rather, it is the potential failure to respond truthfully to questions during the jury selection process that asked for that material information so that any potential bias could be explored.”
The New York Post reported that Nathan refused to grant defense attorneys’ motion for a new trial for the time being, because that would require her to take unsworn statements that the juror made to news outlets as legitimate evidence. She did, however, order the defense to file another, public motion for a new trial by Friday, and ordered the prosecution to file their response to the motion as well. Up to this point, the new trial motion had been sealed.
Maxwell’s lawyers filed a motion for a new trial after David told several news outlets that he had been sexually assaulted when he was a child. The Daily Wire reported:
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.
Maxwell was convicted in December on five of six criminal charges, including conspiracy to entice individuals under 17 to travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in “illegal sexual activity”; conspiracy to transport individuals under 17 to travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in “illegal sexual activity”; transportation of an individual under 17 with intent to engage in “illegal sexual activity”; conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of individuals under 18; and sex trafficking of an individual under 18.