Convicted sex offendor Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell could get a new trial after two jurors admited to have shared their experiences with sexual abuse during jury deliberations.
Maxwell, 60, was convicted on five counts of conspiracy and sex trafficking of minors on Dec. 29, and faces up to 65 years in prison.
However, the hard work of federal prosecutors is in peril, after both jurors told news outlets that they had used their history of sexual abuse to potentially sway the rest of the jury towards a guilty verdict.
The first juror told two news outlets that he had been sexually abused as a child and convinced fellow jurors that a victim’s spotty memory did not indicate that the incident did not occur.
Another juror, who remained anonymous when speaking to The New York Times, said that sharing their tale of abuse during deliberations helped persuade jurors to accept the accounts of Maxwell’s victims.
The alleged madam’s legal team wrote a letter to the presiding judge requesting a new trial. ”It is clear to Ms. Maxwell that based on this record alone a new trial is required,” her defense lawyer wrote. “Based on undisputed, publicly available information, the Court can and should order a new trial without any evidentiary hearing.”
On Wednesday, the judge set a schedule for the defense to request a new trial on Jan. 19, and gave the prosecutors, who agreed that the juror’s commentary merited “attention by the Court,” until Feb. 2 to respond to the petition.
In their own letter to the judge, prosecutors asked that any investigations into the jurors be conducted under Court supervision, as they could face charges of their own.
All prospective jurors were asked, “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse or sexual assault,” prior to their selection. If either of the jurors lied on the questionnaire, it’s possible that they could face perjury charges.