The lawyers of Ghislaine Maxwell, found guilty of sex trafficking at the end of December 2021, evoke “irrefutable grounds [en faveur d’]a new trial”. In a court document dated Wednesday, January 5, which Agence France-Presse (AFP) was able to consult, the defense relies in particular on an article by DailyMailin which one of the jurors admits having recalled, during the deliberations, the sexual abuse of which he had been the victim, in order to provide elements of context to the rest of the jury.
After forty hours of deliberations spread over five days, the jury declared, on December 29, 2021, Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, guilty of five of the six charges against her, including the most serious, that of sex trafficking with his former partner, financier Jeffrey Epstein, 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 Prosecutor’s Office, which suggested the court “conduct an investigation”, in particular to find out whether the juror has revealed during the process of constituting the jury, that is to say before the start of the hearings, that he has been the victim of sexual violence in the past. Information that could have led to further examination of his selection, since the defense could then have argued his bias for such a case.
Inconsistency in the accounts of the victims
Judge Alison Nathan responded later Wednesday, in another written document, that the defense request would be considered, without ruling on an investigation. She set a date of January 19 for the defense to present its case, with a deadline of February 2 for the prosecution to respond.
In the article of DailyMailthe juror, a 35-year-old man, presented under his two first names Scotty David, explains that his experience enabled him to enlighten the other jurors on the fact that victims of sexual abuse do not always have a linear memory and exact of their trauma.
The defense had 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 Mme Maxwell »write its defenders.
Juror says he does not remember if he was asked if he had been sexually abused, saying he “overflown” the questionnaire that had been submitted to him, but he assures us that he would have answered honestly if the question had been put to him.
In parallel with this trial, American justice is examining the civil lawsuits 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 was dating the Epstein-Maxwell couple, has always vigorously denied these accusations.