A federal judge has ordered a juror who claims his personal story of being sexually abused helped convince the jury to convict Ghislaine Maxwell on sex trafficking charges to appear for an evidentiary hearing.
Juror 50, identified in interviews with Reuters and a British newspaper by his first and middle names, Scotty David, is due to appear March 8 to address questions about whether he answered his juror questionnaire truthfully, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, who oversaw the Maxwell trial, ruled.
David, 35, said he “flew through” the initial questionnaire and would have answered honestly about his own history of being sexually abused had he been asked during follow-up questioning, known as voir dire.
A copy of the juror questionnaire made public in the case specifically asks, “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?”
David said he told his fellow jurors about his experience after some voiced doubt about the credibility of Jane and Carolyn — both pseudonyms — who are two of the four women who testified that Maxwell groomed them for sex with Jeffrey Epstein when they were teenagers.
“When I shared that, they were able to sort of come around on, they were able to come around on the memory aspect of the sexual abuse,” he said in the interviews with Reuters and The Independent.
Nathan wrote that “the potential impropriety is not that someone with a history of sexual abuse may have served on the jury.”
"Rather, it is the potential failure to respond truthfully to questions during the jury selection process that asked for that material information so that any potential bias could be explored," Nathan wrote.
In ordering the evidentiary hearing, Nathan denied Maxwell’s request to hold a new trial based on David's statements.
Nathan says she cannot consider some of the discussions that David told news publications occurred in the jury room in considering whether there should be a new trial. But, she says, she can review whether he answered the questionnaire truthfully.
“The Court concludes, and the Government concedes, that the demanding standard for holding a post-verdict evidentiary hearing is met as to whether Juror 50 failed to respond truthfully during the jury selection process to whether he was a victim of sexual abuse,” Nathan wrote.
While David will be questioned, other jurors will not be. Nathan denied motions by Maxwell’s attorneys to question other jurors in separate hearings.