Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on all but one charge. Maxwell, 60, had pleaded not guilty to six federal counts, including sex trafficking of minors. She was found not guilty on count two: enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. Maxwell’s case hinges on the testimony of four women who say they were sexually abused by Epstein when they were under the age of 18 – and that Maxwell facilitated and sometimes participated in the abuse.
One of Jeffery Epstein’s alleged accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s attorneys, issued a statement after the verdict. Attorney David Boeis called it, “a great day for justice and for Maxwell’s survivors. The jury’s verdict vindicates the courage and commitment of our clients who stood up against all odds for many years to bring Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell to justice.” Attorney Sigrid McCawley called the verdict a “towering victory.”
As soon as the judgement was announced, Ghislaine Maxwell’s attorneys began working on an appeal. Soon after, Maxwell’s attorneys claimed that they should get a new trial since one of the jurors stated in a media interview that he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. Prosecutors on the case also asked Judge Alison Nathan to bring the juror back for questioning regarding the juror’s comments. In a letter, prosecutors wrote that some of the statements made by the juror “merit attention by the court” and requested that any juror investigation be conducted “exclusively under the supervision of the Court”.
According to the interviews given by the juror to The Independent, Daily Mail and and Reuters he claimed that he discussed being a victim of sexual abuse as a child. He also said that he shared his experience with his fellow jurors during deliberations. The juror, named Scotty David told Reuters that some other jurors had issues with the memories of two accusers who took the stand testifying as Jane and Carolyn. “When I shared that, they were able to sort of come around on, they were able to come around on the memory aspect of the sexual abuse,” David said. He explained to them that he remembered the most important elements of what happened to him but not every single detail.
In a filling which was partially redacted, defense attorneys said a portion of it “presents incontrovertible grounds for a new trial.” “Should the defense prevail on this motion – and we believe that the law and facts are clearly on our side – it would render all other post-trials motions moot” defense attorney Christian Everdell wrote. “Ms. Maxwell should not have to expend precious time and resources briefing other motions when this motion can and should be dispositive.”
In a separate defense filing, defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca and others wrote regarding the prosecutors’ request for a hearing claiming it to be “premature because based on undisputed, publicly available information, the Court can and should order a new trial without any evidentiary hearing.” “It is clear to Ms. Maxwell that based on this record alone a new trial is required,” Pagliuca wrote, arguing that the Supreme Court has ruled that for a defendant to be entitled to a new trial a party must show that a juror failed to answer a material question honestly during jury questioning, and then show that “a correct response would have provided a valid basis for a challenge for cause.”
Judge Alison Nathan said she has not yet decided whether questioning the juror, Scotty David, is warranted, but she set a briefing schedule for Maxwell’s attorneys to file motions for a new trial in light of the development. She also agreed to the prosecutors’ request to appoint a lawyer for the juror.
Deep Dive is a weekly column written by Ashini Jagtiani exploring subjects that have revolutionised the socio-cultural fabric of society.