One of the jurors from the Ghislaine Maxwell trial testified Tuesday that he was sexually abused as a child, but said he did not deliberately hide that information simply to get on the panel in the Maxwell case.
The jury convicted Maxwell in December of sex trafficking. Maxwell, the longtime girlfriend and close confidant of the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein, is scheduled to be sentenced in June.
She faces up to 65 years in prison.
But the man’s false answer on a jury questionnaire, which asked potential jurors if they’d ever been a victim of sex abuse, could threaten the verdict, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“This is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in my life,” the man, identified as Juror 50, said during a federal court hearing in Manhattan.
But the juror told the judge that his history of sexual abuse did not stop him from being an impartial juror.
He also said that he was not trying to get a spot on the jury.
Judge Nathan directly asked the juror, “Did you hope that you would be?”
“I didn’t hope to be on the jury,” the man said, according to the Journal. “If you are going to serve jury duty, it may as well be interesting. But I didn’t set out to be on the jury.”
“I didn’t lie in order to get on this jury,” he said, as NBC News reported.
He said he was in a hurry and made a mistake.
“If I could have gone back and gone slower, I would have in a heartbeat. It wasn’t on purpose or intentional,” he said, according to NBC.
Maxwell‘s lawyers have asked District Judge Alison Nathan to toss the conviction and give Maxwell a new trial.
The lawyers said that if Juror 50 had answered truthfully on his questionnaire then they would have moved to remove him from the jury pool in the first place. They’re arguing that due to his own personal experience with sexual abuse, the man’s position as a juror was tainted, The Wall Street Journal reported.
After the verdict, Juror 50 — who has also been identified in media reports by his first and middle names, “Scotty David” — told reporters he’d used his own memories of sexual abuse to help convince other jurors to convict Maxwell,
The jury of six women and six men spent 40 hours deliberating before they reached a verdict, CNN reported.
The judge has not yet ruled on Maxwell’s request for a new trial.
The request was supported by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, according to the Journal.
Joel Rudin, a member of the group, told the newspaper that Maxwell deserved an impartial jury, no matter how offensive the charges against her are.
“If you loosen the rules for one defendant, you loosen them for all. And then we’re all imperiled,” he said.
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