Ghislaine Maxwell Seeking New Trial Based on Juror Non-Disclosure

January 20, 2022

Earlier this month, Defendant, Ghislaine Maxwell, petitioned the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for a new trial based on a juror failing to disclose that he was a former victim of sexual abuse.  Maxwell was Jeffrey Epstein’s long-time companion and has been accused of recruiting four girls to be sexually abused by Epstein.  In late December 2021, Maxwell faced a month-long trial and ultimately was convicted of five counts of sex trafficking minors.  Now, her legal team seeks a new trial based on information discovered from post-conviction interviews with one of the twelve jurors who sat on her trial. This juror has stated in interviews that he was a victim of sexual assault himself growing up.

Prior to jury selection, jurors in the Maxwell case were provided a questionnaire to complete. One of the questions specifically asked whether the jurors had been victims of sexual abuse.  The juror at issue responded no to this question, later stating to the press that he “flew through” the questionnaire and didn’t recall any follow up questions about sexual abuse.  A review of the trial transcript reveals that this juror was asked 46 questions during jury selection.  During jury selection, this juror stated he could put aside the prior news reports he has heard about Epstein and Maxwell and decide the case based solely on the evidence presented at trial. He stated he has no reason to believe he could not be fair and impartial.

Maxwell now moves for a new trial based on this non-disclosure.  Judge Nathan Allison ordered additional briefing and argument is necessary.  The government’s main defense will likely be this non-disclosure was not intentional and despite this prior incident in the jurors past, the juror still stated that he could be fair and partial in this case.  We will provide additional updates on this blog as this case unfolds.

(This post was prepared by Kimberly L. Wald, Esq. Kim is a trial attorney at the Kelley|Uustal Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale, FL. For more information, please contact Kim at klw@kulaw.com).

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