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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Federal judge rejects Ghislaine Maxwell’s bid for new trial on jury issue

Judge Alison Nathan delivered the ruling nearly a month after the juror testified in court that he had made an “inadvertent” mistake when he indicated in the questionnaire that he was not the victim of sexual abuse. Under oath, he stated that he was sexually abused as a child, yet added that his past did not shape his views or influence his outlook as a juror at trial.

In the 40-page opinion, Judge Alison Nathan found that “the lack of attention and care in correctly answering each question on the questionnaire is regrettable, but the Court is convinced that the failure to disclose was not intentional.”

The judge said the bar for setting aside a guilty verdict is high and happens “only in the most exceptional circumstances”.

The jury issue became public after the sentencing when the jury gave several interviews to media outlets, stating that he had been sexually abused as a child. He said that many jurors had issues with faulty memories of victims, so he shared his personal experience with abuse and memory during the deliberations.

At the Ghislain Maxwell trial, the juror testified that he had made an 'unintentional mistake';  When filling out the jury questionnaire
“When I shared it, they were able to come around, they were able to come to the memory aspect of sexual abuse,” Juror said in a Reuters interview.
However, potential jurors were explicitly asked on jury questionnaire forms whether they had been sexually abused and if so, whether it would affect their abilities to be impartial when deliberating. A copy of Jury 50’s jury questionnaire shows that she stated on the form that she had not been sexually abused.

Maxwell’s lawyers argued that the jury’s answers should have given him a new trial.

Last month, Judge Nathan questioned the jury, who said he was distracted and focused when filling out the questionnaire and made an “unintentional mistake.” He refused to formulate his answers to win a spot on the jury. The judge said he found the juror accountable and candid and confirmed that his personal history would “in no way” affect his ability to serve as an impartial and impartial juror.

On Friday, Maxwell’s attorney told the judge not to rule on a new trial proposal until they saw a new interview that Juror 50 gave as part of a multi-part streaming series on Maxwell. . Prosecutors said the government “strongly” opposed any delay in the verdict.

During Maxwell’s trial, prosecutors argued that she and Epstein conspired to set up a scheme to woo young girls into sexual relationships with Epstein in New York, Florida, New Mexico and the US Virgin Islands. During the trial, four women testified that Epstein abused them and that Maxwell facilitated and sometimes participated in the abuse.

The trial, which lasted nearly a month last year, alternated between disturbing testimony from sexual abuse victims and illuminating testimony about Epstein’s connections to some high-profile celebrities.

A jury of six women and six men deliberated for nearly 40 hours over the course of six days before the verdict. They found him guilty of three related counts of sex trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activities and conspiracy but to entice a minor to travel to engage him in illegal sexual acts. acquitted of the charges.

He is to be sentenced in June and could face up to 65 years in prison.

Epstein, who pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in 2008, was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019 but died by suicide in prison a month later. A year later Maxwell was arrested.

Nation World News’s Lauren Del Valle, Cara Scannell and Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.

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