Federal prosecutors on Wednesday requested the choose who oversaw Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial to analyze the method by which one of many jurors was chosen, after he instructed information retailers he was a sexual abuse sufferer and had mentioned his expertise throughout deliberations.
The prosecutors’ request, in a letter filed with the court docket, raised the potential for further inquiry into how jurors who voted to convict Ms. Maxwell had been chosen and the prospect of Ms. Maxwell’s attorneys transferring to have a mistrial declared in the closely watched case.
Afterward Wednesday, Ms. Maxwell’s attorneys indicated they deliberate to just do that, saying in two letters to the choose that their consumer would search a brand new trial and that the choose “can and may order” one with out holding a listening to, as the federal government had requested.
Ms. Maxwell’s attorneys stated Ms. Maxwell deliberate to make her request beneath a federal rule that grants a choose the facility to grant a brand new trial when the “curiosity of justice so requires.”
The dueling requests, and the disclosure that prompted them, threatened to cloud the conviction of Ms. Maxwell, who was discovered responsible final month of five counts associated to what prosecutors stated was her function in procuring teenage women for the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.
In one other potential complication, a second juror described in an interview with The New York Occasions having been sexually abused as a baby. This juror, who requested anonymity, stated that they, too, had mentioned the expertise throughout deliberations and that the revelation had appeared to assist form the jury’s discussions.
The 2 jurors’ disclosures could possibly be significantly problematic in the event that they failed to notice their experiences to the court docket throughout jury choice. All of the potential jurors within the case have been requested in a confidential questionnaire whether or not they or any kin or mates had been the sufferer of sexual abuse or harassment.
Perceive the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial
After days of deliberation, a jury discovered Ms. Maxwell responsible of all however one cost within the intercourse trafficking case towards her.
Legal professionals for Ms. Maxwell didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. A spokesman for the U.S. lawyer’s workplace for the Southern District of New York declined to remark.
Of their letter, federal prosecutors requested the choose within the case, Alison J. Nathan, to schedule a listening to on the matter in a few month, including that “any juror investigation must be performed completely beneath the supervision of the court docket.”
Early Wednesday night, Choose Nathan set a schedule for motions on Ms. Maxwell’s bid for a brand new trial, giving the protection till Jan. 19 to file a movement and setting Feb. 2 as the federal government’s deadline for responding.
“The events’ briefing ought to deal with whether or not an inquiry of some form is permitted and/or required, and in that case, the character of such an inquiry,” the choose wrote. She additionally granted the federal government’s request to supply court-appointed authorized counsel to the juror whose statements prompted the flurry of post-trial exercise.
One instant query in an inquiry would most probably be how the 2 jurors responded to the questionnaires, despatched to tons of of potential jurors within the weeks earlier than the trial, in Federal District Courtroom in Manhattan.
The shape included questions on a spread of matters, together with whether or not potential jurors or members of their households had skilled sexual abuse. The potential jurors’ responses stay beneath seal.
The juror who was interviewed by the opposite information retailers instructed Reuters he “flew via” the preliminary questionnaire and didn’t recall being requested about his private experiences with sexual abuse. He stated he would have answered such questions truthfully, Reuters reported.
He and the second juror each made it to the following spherical of jury choice, showing in court docket in November. There, in a course of often known as voir dire, Choose Nathan, drawing on their questionnaire solutions, requested them a number of follow-up questions. Neither was requested in that setting whether or not they had been sexually abused, nor did they are saying that they’d been.
Choose Nathan’s questioning of a number of potential jurors, together with some who wound up on the panel, indicated that they’d answered “sure” to a query about whether or not they or a liked one had ever been the sufferer of a criminal offense.
Ms. Maxwell’s attorneys stated in one in every of their letters to Choose Nathan on Wednesday that if she determined to carry a listening to within the matter, it must be occur in lower than a month. Additionally they recommended that each one 12 jurors who took half within the deliberations and verdict be questioned.
At trial, prosecutors offered two dozen witnesses and different proof exhibiting that Ms. Maxwell, 60, the daughter of a British media mogul, helped Mr. Epstein recruit, groom and sexually abuse underage women. He was discovered dead in a Manhattan jail in 2019 whereas awaiting trial on sex-trafficking fees; the medical expert dominated that Mr. Epstein had hanged himself.
The jury acquitted Ms. Maxwell of 1 rely of engaging a minor to journey throughout state strains to interact in an unlawful sexual act. A sentencing date has not been set.
Former federal prosecutors and authorized consultants stated on Wednesday that the jurors’ disclosures might undermine the decision, particularly whether it is proven that they didn’t reply the jury questionnaires or voir dire truthfully.
Arlo Devlin-Brown, a former federal prosecutor who as soon as ran the Southern District’s public-corruption unit, stated, “Typically there’s nothing mistaken with jurors bringing their private experiences into deliberations,” as long as they observe the choose’s directions.
“Nevertheless,” he added, “dishonesty in the course of the choice course of goes to the very integrity of the proceedings and credible allegations of such are taken very critically.”