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Judge throws out Ghislaine Maxwell’s bid for a retrial over juror’s remarks

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Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell

A US judge has upheld British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking conviction despite a juror’s acknowledgment that he had falsely stated before the trial that he had not been sexually abused.

Maxwell (60) was convicted in December of helping the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls. Maxwell requested a new trial in January after one of the 12 jurors in the case said in media interviews that he had been sexually abused as a child.

US Circuit Judge Alison Nathan decided that the juror, referred to as Juror 50 in court papers, testified truthfully at a hearing last month over Maxwell’s request for a new trial.

“His failure to disclose his prior sexual abuse during the jury selection process was highly unfortunate, but not deliberate,” Nathan wrote. “The Court further concludes that Juror 50 harboured no bias toward the Defendant and could serve as a fair and impartial juror.”

The decision to uphold the conviction paves the way for Maxwell to be sentenced in June. She faces up to 65 years in prison after being found guilty on five of the six counts she faced. Asked in a pretrial questionnaire whether he had been a victim of sexual abuse, the juror had checked “no.”

Maxwell’s lawyers said they would have struck the juror from the panel if he had answered honestly, and contended that his false statement denied Maxwell her right to a fair trial. Prosecutors said that Maxwell could not show that the juror was biased after he said during jury selection he would be fair and impartial and decide the case based on the evidence.

Nathan was elevated this week to the federal appeals court in Manhattan but retained jurisdiction over Maxwell’s case. Maxwell’s lawyers have vowed to appeal the guilty verdict. They did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In her written decision, Nathan rejected a request by Maxwell’s lawyers to delay her decision on their bid for a new trial until after Paramount+ streaming service airs a documentary about Maxwell in which the juror is interviewed.

Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 at age 66 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Four women who testified at the trial in Manhattan said Maxwell, the daughter of British media baron Robert Maxwell, recruited and groomed them when they were teenagers to be abused by Epstein between 1994 and 2004.

Maxwell pleaded not guilty and argued she was being scapegoated. Her lawyers sought to undermine her accusers by claiming they were motivated by money and their memories were flawed.

In interviews after the verdict, Juror 50, who identified himself by his first and middle names Scotty David, said he discussed his own abuse during jury deliberations to illustrate how Maxwell’s accusers’ memories may not have been perfect.

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