Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers say they have uncovered evidence a juror in her sex-trafficking trial lied to the court about childhood sexual abuse, which “violated” her right to a fair trial.
The disgraced British socialite’s attorneys argued the juror had “corrupted” the judge’s pre-trial screening process, known as voir dire, by not truthfully answering questions posed during selection.
Her team are fighting to keep the filings secret, however, to prevent juror number 50, known as Scotty David, from getting an “improper preview” of their case.
Scotty David, 35, first revealed in media interviews after the verdict that he told the jury he had been sexually abused during their deliberations.
He claimed he used his own experience to help other jurors understand Maxwell’s victims and why some may have trouble remembering details of their abuse.
Juror ‘flew through’ the questionnaire
Scotty told MailOnline that he had not revealed his history during jury selection because it had not been asked on the juror questionnaire.
When it was pointed out that question 48 of 50 asked: “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?” he then claimed that he did not remember it but had answered all questions “honestly”.
He told other outlets that he “flew through” the questionnaire.
He also revealed that a second juror had shared their own story of sexual abuse, a claim later verified by the juror who wished to remain anonymous.
Scotty David has since hired a lawyer and filed a formal request with the Southern District of New York court for a copy of his pretrial survey answers.
Several media outlets, including the Miami Herald and the New York Times, last week requested for the documents to be unsealed.
However Christian Everdell, , Maxwell’s lawyer, is arguing their motion for a retrial should remain private until the court makes its ruling – arguing it to be “an improper preview of information he does not have and should never have”.
Among the information the lawyers are trying to keep from the juror are his “exact” questionnaire responses that have not been made public.
‘Frustrate the truth-seeking process’
Mr Everdell argued that releasing their detailed arguments before Judge Alison Nathan makes a decision on retrial “will provide a roadmap of the defense’s examination of juror 50 and will allow him to plan out and tailor his responses, or even potentially spoliate evidence, to paint himself and his conduct in the best light possible”.
“There is also a significant risk that the publicity that will undoubtedly surround the unsealing of the motion will influence the memories of other potential witnesses,” he said.
“All of this will frustrate the truth-seeking process of any factual inquiry ordered by the court and jeopardise Ms Maxwell’s one chance to vindicate her right to a fair trial.”
Maxwell, 60, was convicted in late December of sex trafficking and other charges for luring and grooming underage girls for her longtime companion, Jeffrey Epstein, to abuse between 1994 and 2004.
She faces up to 65 years in prison.