Juror's single mistake that could overturn Ghislaine Maxwell's conviction

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Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell are seeking a retrial after a juror was accused of lying on a form.

In a letter to US District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan, who presided over Maxwell's trial, the lawyer, Christian Everdell, said there were "incontrovertible grounds" for Maxwell to get a new trial, to serve the interest of justice.

Mr Everell called the matter "an issue of pressing importance", saying disclosures by the juror "influenced the deliberations and convinced other members of the jury to convict Ms Maxwell".

Maxwell was convicted of aiding Jeffrey Epstein in sex trafficking underage girls on December 29. She is yet to be sentenced.

In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell, center, sits in the courtroom during a discussion about a note from the jury, during her sex trafficking trial.
A courtroom sketch of Ghislaine Maxwell during her trial. Source: AAP

A jury found her guilty but that deliberation could be under threat after it was revealed a juror, known as Scotty David, lied on a form claiming he had not been sexually abused.

He told media outlets that after some jurors expressed skepticism about the accounts of two of Maxwell's accusers, he shared his experience of having been sexually abused as a child. He said the information helped him convince some jurors that a victim’s imperfect memory of sex abuse doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Juror No.50 was one of the 18 jurors selected on November 29 to serve as a juror or an alternate.

Hundreds of prospective jurors filled out questionnaires that asked them, among other things, if they or their family members had experienced sexual abuse or assault.

During follow-up questioning, Ms Nathan asked those who answered "yes" if they would still be able to be fair and impartial.

Ghislaine Maxwell pictured with Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell pictured was convicted of aiding Jeffrey Epstein in abusing young girls. Source: AAP

Scotty David told Reuters he did not recall a question about personal experiences with sexual abuse on the questionnaire, but that he would have answered honestly. He said he "flew through" the questionnaire.

He said Ms Nathan did not ask about his personal experience with sexual abuse during follow-up questioning.

During follow-up questioning on November 16, Juror No.50 told Ms Nathan that he had read a news article and seen a CNN broadcast about Epstein's death. The juror said he heard that Epstein had a girlfriend, but that he otherwise knew nothing about Maxwell.

When Nathan asked Juror No. 50 if he could put aside anything he read or heard to reach an impartial verdict, he replied, "Yes, absolutely."

Demonstrators rally in solidarity with the Jeffery Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell survivors in New York.
Demonstrators rally in solidarity with survivors of Epstein and Maxwell outside the court in New York. Source: Getty Images

Prosecutors said the juror's statements to the media "merit attention" by the court and asked for a hearing to be scheduled in about a month.

Media cited by prosecutors include Reuters, the Daily Mail and The Independent.

Later on Tuesday, The New York Times reported that a second juror described having been sexually abused as a child during deliberations. That juror, who requested anonymity to speak to the Times, said this revelation appeared to help shape the jury's discussion.

The British socialite faces up to 70 years in prison but is expected to appeal her conviction, which followed a month-long trial.

Scotty David has hired a lawyer and could face perjury charges.

with Reuters and The Associated Press

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