Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking conviction has been upheld by a US judge Alison Nathan.
Maxwell had requested a retrial after it emerged that one of the jurors had been sexually abused but had falsely stated before the trial that he had not been. Her lawyers had argued it meant the trial “was not fair and impartial.”
When asked in a pre-trial screening whether he had been a victim of sexual abuse, the juror had ticked “no,” but he contradicted this in TV interviews after the trial, admitting he had been sexually abused as a child.
He told the Reuters news agency that he did not remember being asked about his experiences with sexual abuse when he filled in the juror questionnaire, insisting he would have answered honestly.
During a hearing in March, he said he had rushed through the questionnaire and made a mistake when saying he had not been a sexual abuse victim. He also said he did not deliberately lie to get on the panel.
Judge Nathan said the juror’s failure to disclose his prior sexual abuse during the jury selection process was highly unfortunate, but not deliberate. “The court further concludes that Juror 50 harbored no bias toward the defendant and could serve as a fair and impartial juror.”
Judge Nathan went onto say that Juror 50 “appeared to testify frankly and honestly, even when the answers he gave were the cause of personal embarrassment and regret.”
She said: “The Court thus credits his testimony that he was distracted as he filled out the questionnaire and ‘skimmed way too fast,’ leading him to misunderstand some of the questions. Assuming mistakenly that he would not be one of the 12 jurors selected from the hundreds of prospective jurors who had been summoned, he rushed through the questionnaire.”
Maxwell was found guilty of assisting convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse teenage girls.
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