Ghislane Maxwell Prosecutors Seek Inquiry Into Juror’s Selection – The New York Times

Federal prosecutors have asked the judge who oversaw Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial to investigate the process by which one of the jurors was chosen after he told several news outlets he was a sexual abuse victim and had discussed his experience during deliberations.

The prosecutors’ request, in a letter filed on Wednesday, raises the possibility of additional inquiry into how jurors who voted to convict Ms. Maxwell were selected and the prospect of Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers moving to have a mistrial declared in the closely watched case.

Separately, in an interview with The New York Times, a second juror described having been sexually abused as a child and said that they, too, had discussed the experience during deliberations.

The revelation, this juror said, appeared to help shape the jury’s discussions. The juror requested anonymity.

The juror who was interviewed by the news outlets, including The Independent and Reuters, could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

That two jurors identified themselves during deliberations as sexual abuse victims will almost certainly be highlighted by Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers in their post-trial motions, and the revelations could be the basis for revisiting Ms. Maxwell’s conviction, legal experts and former prosecutors said.

Lawyers for Ms. Maxwell did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment.

In their letter on Wednesday, federal prosecutors asked Judge Alison J. Nathan to schedule a hearing on the matter in about a month, adding that “any juror investigation should be conducted exclusively under the supervision of the court.”

The two jurors’ disclosures could be particularly problematic if they failed to note their experiences to the court during jury selection.

In the weeks before the trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, hundreds of prospective jurors received questionnaires at home that included a range of questions, including whether they or members of their families had experienced sexual abuse.

The prospective jurors’ responses remain under seal.

The juror who was interviewed by the other news outlets told Reuters he “flew through” the initial questionnaire and did not recall being asked about his personal experiences with sexual abuse. He said he would have answered such questions honestly, Reuters reported.

Both he and the second juror made it to the next round of jury selection, appearing in court in November. There, in a process known as voir dire, they were asked several follow-up questions by Judge Nathan. Neither was asked in that setting whether they had been sexually abused, nor did they say that they had been.

At trial, prosecutors presented two dozen witnesses and other evidence showing that Ms. Maxwell, 60, the daughter of a British media mogul, helped the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein recruit, groom and sexually abuse underage girls.

Ms. Maxwell was found guilty on Dec. 29 of sex trafficking and four of the five other charges against her. The jury acquitted her of one count of enticing a minor to travel across state lines to engage in an illegal sexual act.

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