Ghislaine Maxwell could be headed for a new trial and could benefit from ‘surprise’ decision to grant juror immunity, expert says Newsweek.
The British socialite was convicted in December of five of six sex trafficking charges, but the case was turned upside down after juror Scotty David gave media interviews.
He told reporters, including The Independent and the Daily Mailhow he had described his own experiences of sexual abuse during deliberations.
The revelation was seized by Maxwell’s legal team, who called for a new trial because he failed to disclose his story in a jury questionnaire.
David could have been sued for false answers and suggested through his lawyer that he would take the fifth.
However, he was granted immunity from prosecution to allow him to testify in court on March 7.
Jury consultant Huntely Taylor, managing director of Taylor Trial Consulting, said Newsweek“The decision to grant juror immunity was surprising.
“After the juror had already publicly stated that his answer was an error, any testimony explaining his reasoning beyond that only seemed to benefit the defense.
“To hear that he stuck to his position that it was a mistake is interesting and is unlikely to change the defense’s position that the case should be retried.”
Lawyer Lisa Bloom, who is representing eight Epstein victims, went further, describing the day’s events as “disturbing” and “highly likely” to result in Maxwell getting a new trial.
She said in a video on Twitter: “Big disturbing day in court today in the Ghislaine Maxwell case. So it looks like she’s going to have a new trial.”
She added: “The judge will decide in about a week after a further briefing, but I think there is a good chance she will get a new trial.
“On behalf of the eight victims of Jeffrey Epstein, I just represent, oh, what a shame, what a nightmare.”
Quoted by Reuters, David told the court: “It was one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made in my life.”
He said he went through the questionnaire not expecting to be chosen and said he did not deliberately mislead the court in order to participate in the high-profile case.
He added: “I wasn’t expecting to be on that jury. If you’re going to serve as a jury, it might as well be something interesting. But I wasn’t planning on being on that jury. “
The government and Maxwell’s attorneys will present their case to Judge Alison Nathan and court documents appear to indicate the prosecution still believes Maxwell’s sentencing should proceed as planned.