Last week, Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of five federal sex trafficking charges. On Wednesday, federal prosecutors requested a hearing with a juror from the trial.
This particular juror claimed that his decision to give Maxwell a “guilty” vote for the verdict was influenced by his own personal story of being sexually abused.
Scotty David, 35, said that he does not recall being asked about his own experience before he was picked for the jury and that he would have answered honestly about it had he been asked during follow-up questioning. In interviews with Reuters and The Independent, David said he told his fellow jurors about his experience after they voiced doubts about two of the women’s testimonies.
“I know what happened when I was sexually abused. I remember the color of the carpet, the walls. Some of it can be replayed like a video. But I can’t remember all the details, there are some things that run together,” said David when talking about the conversation between him and the other jurors. “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.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Maxwell’s defense attorneys said the disclosure in the published interviews “presents incontrovertible grounds for a new trial.”
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison J Nathan, federal prosecutors asked for a hearing to be held in a month to investigate the juror’s comments and whether they are grounds for a mistrial. In response, Nathan asked for a defense motion for a new trial by January 19. The government is to respond by February 2 and the defense a week later.
“The Court can and should order a new trial without any evidentiary hearing,” Maxwell’s attorney said in the letter.
According to her lawyers, they already had an appeal plan in place when the verdict was made last week. Now they will be pursuing the possibility of having the case thrown out altogether and rebooted.