Ghislaine Maxwell juror asks to see his own pre-trial questionnaire and to be heard in mistrial inquiry
A juror in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex-trafficking case who spoke out about being sexually abused has asked the judge to see a pre-trial questionnaire in which he was asked about his own history of sexual assault.
The juror, known by his first and middle names Scotty David, told The Independent he had found the victims’ testimony credible in part due to his own experience as a sexual abuse survivor.
In a separate interview with Reuters he said did not recall being asked about sexual abuse during pre-trial selection and that he “flew through” a survey given to all prospective jurors.
Maxwell’s attorneys seized on the interviews as grounds for her conviction on five counts related to recruiting and grooming young girls for her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to be thrown out.
In a letter to Judge Alison Nathan, Scotty David’s attorney Todd Spodek requested that the court provide a copy of his survey and any follow-up questions.
Maxwell’s attorneys and prosecutors have until Thursday to consider whether the document should be released and for the court to decide if any redactions are appropriate.
Judge Nathan said in a court filing on Wednesday that Mr Spodek had also submitted a motion to intervene on whether the court should conduct an inquiry into the juror’s revelations.
She set a deadline of 20 January for both sets of lawyers to respond.
“Upon further reflection, unless and until Juror No 50 (Scotty David) is permitted to intervene, he may have no standing to be heard on the question of whether an inquiry should be conducted,” Judge Nathan said in the filing.
In his interview with The Independent, Scotty David said the jury room went dead silent when he shared his story, and that the admission had shaped other juror’s understanding of sexual abuse testimony.
A second juror, who has not been identified, later came forward to say he had also faced sexual abuse as a child.
In the pre-trial survey, hundreds of prospective jurors were asked: “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?”
If they answered yes, they would likely have been asked follow-up questions, known as voir dire.
It’s thought that the judge’s decision on whether to grant a new trial may hinge on how the two jurors responded to the questions.
Prosecutors asked Judge Nathan to “conduct an inquiry” into the juror’s comments, and the judge has agreed to hear the defence’s arguments for a retrial later this month.
Maxwell’s attorney Christian Everdell has said the juror’s comments represented “incontrovertible grounds for a new trial”.
Maxwell, 60, is facing up to 65 years in prison.