Ghislaine Maxwell Loses Her Bid for a New Trial
Following several months of post-conviction uncertainty, a federal judge ruled on Friday that Ghislaine Maxwell will not be granted a new trial. At the end of 2021, a jury convicted the Jeffrey Epstein associate on five charges related to sex-trafficking and facilitating the financier’s sexual abuse. Soon afterwards, one juror began telling news outlets about how his own experience of abuse figured into the deliberations. The man, identified as Juror 50 in court documents and as Scotty David (his first and middle names) in those interviews, said that when fellow jurors were evaluating testimony about Epstein’s abuse and the ways in which Maxwell aided it, he weighed in with an account of how his memory of abuse shifted over time.
In the process of these interviews, David also revealed that he had given inaccurate answers in parts of his jury questionnaire. He told the Daily Mail in a video interview, for instance, that he had been allowed to serve on the jury because prospective jurors weren’t asked about any history of abuse, but appeared to learn in that same interview that they had in fact been asked. The revelation led Maxwell’s legal team to dig up David’s questionnaire and discover his claim that he hadn’t been abused; she moved for a mistrial.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ruled in response that David would have to testify about his jury questionnaire in a hearing last month. David’s answers in that proceeding, she wrote on Friday, satisfied any legal concerns about his ability to have been a fair and impartial juror.
“He appeared to testify frankly and honestly, even when the answers he gave were the cause of personal embarrassment and regret,” Nathan wrote. At the hearing, David testified that his errant answers during jury selection resulted from a combination of stress, distraction, and carelessness—all of which he said were amplified by bureaucratic headaches in the courthouse.
“Juror 50’s lack of attention and care in responding accurately to every question on the questionnaire is regrettable,” Nathan wrote, “but the Court is confident that the failure to disclose was not deliberate.”
Ultimately, Nathan decided that, despite David’s admitted mistakes, he wasn’t biased in such a way that should’ve precluded him from serving on the jury. “This Court has presided over a murder trial in which a juror who had a family member murdered was not struck for cause,” she noted.
As many questions as there remain surrounding Epstein’s life and trail of abuse, Nathan’s ruling concludes what had been one of the central outstanding legal matters in his most notorious companion’s case. Maxwell is scheduled to be sentenced on June 28.
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