The conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell will remain intact after a judge denied Jeffery Epstein’s sex trafficking accomplice a new trial.
Maxwell’s legal team was pushing for a mistrial after a juror revealed after the trial that he was the victim of child sex abuse.
Judge Alison J. Nathan made the ruling after hearing testimony from juror number 50, also known as Scotty David.
The ruling came just weeks after Nathan questioned David under oath about statements he had made to the press in the days after the trial concluded.
During that hearing, the juror, who was given immunity from prosecution in order to compel him to speak, told the court that he “skimmed way too fast” through the pre-trial jury questionnaire, the Associated Press reported.
The juror said that the reason he “flew through” the questionnaire was that he was “super-distracted” by the happening in the courtroom at the time, the BBC added.
“This is one of the biggest mistakes I have made in my life,” the juror reportedly said.
Specifically, the juror answered questions from the court about one of his answers on the questionnaire that contradicted his press interviews.
Question number 48 asked: “[have] you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?”
The juror replied “no” on the form, but then told the press in interviews that he did not remember being asked the question.
He said further that he had, in fact, been sexually abused as a child, and that his experiences helped sway the jury toward conviction during deliberation.
The juror told the court that if he could “go back and change everything” and take the time to read through the questions appropriately, “I would in a heartbeat.”
“I didn’t lie in order to get on this jury,” he said.
In her ruling, Judge Nathan concluded that the juror’s “lack of attention and care in responding accurately to every question on the questionnaire is regrettable, but the court is confident that the failure to disclose was not deliberate,” The New York Times reported.
The jury system “does not exclude individuals with experiences similar to the issues at trial when those individuals can serve fairly and impartially,” she wrote, and the question at hand was whether he “[had] the ability to decide the case based only on the evidence presented in court, not extraneous information, and without bias.”
When questioned under oath at the hearing, the juror answered questions “frankly and honestly, even when the answers he gave were the cause of personal embarrassment and regret,” she continued, via AP.
“His tone, demeanor, and responsiveness gave no indication of false testimony.”
“The court further concludes that Juror 50 harbored no bias toward the defendant and could serve as a fair and impartial juror,” Nathan wrote, via BBC.
“Juror 50 does not consider himself a victim and does not let his past define him,” Todd Spodek, the juror’s lawyer, said in a statement, via NYT.
“He listened to the evidence and was fair and impartial.
“This is what justice requires, not more.”
Maxwell’s lawyers objected to the court denying Maxwell a new trial, and not being able to question the juror during the hearing.
“This strong issue, among many other issues, will be presented to the Court of Appeals and we are optimistic about Ms. Maxwell’s success on appeal,” Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said.
Maxwell was found guilty on December 29, 2021, on five of six counts, after she trafficked young girls for billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
After her failed attempts at getting a new trial, Maxwell’s only hope left of a reduced sentence would be to cooperate with prosecutors and reveal the names of other accomplices in Epstein’s sex trafficking ring.