Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking conviction upheld
A US judge has upheld British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking conviction and denied her request for a new trial. The 60-year-old had requested a new trial after it emerged that one of the jurors in her trial had failed to reveal he had been sexually abused.
His lawyers had argued that this meant the trial “was not fair and impartial”. But Judge Alison Nathan declined to order a new trial weeks after questioning the juror under oath in a New York courtroom.
She said the juror’s failure to disclose his past sexual abuse during the jury selection process involving a 50-page questionnaire was very regrettable, but not deliberate. Judge Nathan found that the juror “had no bias” towards Maxwell and “could serve as a fair and impartial juror”.
Its ruling said: “The Court finds that the Defendant has failed to meet the exacting requirements of the Supreme Court’s review decision, McDonough v Greenwood. The Court finds that Juror 50 testified credibly at the hearing. »
Judge Nathan found 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 therefore attributes his evidence that he was distracted while completing the questionnaire and ‘scanned too quickly’, causing him to misunderstand some of the questions.
“Incorrectly assuming that he would not be one of the 12 jurors selected from the hundreds of prospective jurors who had been called, he rushed through the questionnaire. This led to inaccurate answers.
“Juror 50’s lack of attention and care to accurately answer each question in the questionnaire is regrettable, but the Court is satisfied that the failure to disclose was not deliberate.” Maxwell, who was branded ‘dangerous’ by the prosecution during her three-week trial in New York, was found guilty last December of luring vulnerable teenagers to Jeffrey Epstein’s various properties to sexually abused them between 1994 and 2004.
She said she was innocent. Epstein killed himself in August 2019 while awaiting trial in a federal prison in New York on sex trafficking charges. Maxwell is due to be sentenced in New York on June 28.
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