Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell, found guilty of sex trafficking at the end of December, evoke “Compelling grounds for a new trial”. In a legal document dated Wednesday, January 5, which Agence France-Presse (AFP) was able to consult, the defense relies in particular on an article from Daily Mail, in which one of the jurors confides in having recalled, during the deliberations, his memories of a victim of sexual abuse to enlighten the rest of the jury.
After 40 hours of deliberation spread over five days, the jury declared, on December 29, Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, guilty of five of the six charges against her, including the most serious, that of sex trafficking with his former companion, financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in prison in 2019. No date has yet been set for the sentencing, which now risks being delayed.
The incident was taken seriously by the Manhattan Federal Attorney’s Office, which suggested that the court “Conduct an investigation”, in particular to know whether the juror revealed during the jury constitution process, that is to say before the start of the hearings, to have been the victim of sexual violence in the past. Information that could have led to a further examination in its selection, the defense can then argue its bias for such a case.
Inconsistency in the accounts of the victims
Judge Alison Nathan responded later Wednesday, in another written submission, that the defense request would be given due consideration, without ruling on an inquiry. She set a date of January 19 for the defense to present its arguments, with a deadline of February 2 for the prosecution to respond.
In the article from Daily Mail, the juror, a 35-year-old man, presented under his two first names Scotty David, explains that his experience has enabled him to enlighten other jurors on the fact that victims of sexual abuse do not always have a linear memory and exact of their trauma.
The defense attacked certain testimonies during the trial, noting inconsistencies in the accounts of the victims. “According to the juror, this revelation influenced the deliberations and convinced the other members of the jury to convict Mr.me Maxwell », write its defenders.
Juror says he cannot recall whether he was asked if he had been sexually abused, saying he had “Hovered over” the questionnaire he had been given, but he assures us that he would have answered honestly if the question had been asked.
In parallel with this trial, American justice is examining the civil proceedings brought by one of the couple’s victims, Virginia Giuffre, against British Prince Andrew, whom she accuses of having raped her in 2001, when she had 17 years. Prince Andrew, who dated the Epstein-Maxwell couple, has always vigorously denied these accusations.