It seems Ghislaine Maxwell's legal team has actually raised a credible reason for a judge to consider granting the woman known as "Jeffrey Epstein's madam" a new trial. Because the judge in her case has ordered a hearing during which a juror will be questioned about the veracity of their answers during voir dire.
According to the New York Times, Maxwell Judge Alison Nathan is trying to determine whether a juror who served on Maxwell's trial may have lied during her initial jury selection interviews and questionnaires. Judge Nathan (the same judge who presided over Maxwell's original trial, and who is currently expected to sentence Maxwell in June) said she would question the juror, who has been identified as Juror 50, under oath during a hearing set for March 8. This isn't the first time that we have discussed the possibility of the Maxwell verdict being tossed. But it's looking increasingly likely now that Judge Nathan has decided to question the juror about some very glaring inconsistencies.
Maxwell was convicted a couple of days before New Year's Eve on charges including sex trafficking and conspiracy for her role in providing a steady stream of underage girls to Epstein and his powerful coterie of friends.
Judge Nathan confirmed that the reason for the hearing was that Juror 50 had apparently made statements to the media that raised questions about his responses during voir dire.
Judge Nathan said in a brief order on Thursday that after the trial, “Juror 50 made several direct, unambiguous statements to multiple media outlets about his own experience that do not pertain to jury deliberations and that cast doubt on the accuracy of his responses during jury selection."
She said Juror 50’s statements were "clear, strong, substantial and incontrovertible evidence" that an "impropriety - namely, a false statement during jury selection - has occurred."
Judge Nathan emphasized that the potential impropriety was not that someone with a history of sexual abuse might have served on the jury.
"Rather," she wrote, "it is the potential failure to respond truthfully to questions during the jury selection process that asked for that material information so that any potential bias could be explored."
The incident in question appears to have been an interview with Reuters where the juror said they had quickly completed the jury questionnaires and that they did not recall being asked about sexual abuse history. The juror also said that there was a point during deliberations where they doubted two of Maxwell's accusers stories, while also opening up about his own history of being sexually abused. Judge Nathan told the NYT that the inconsistencies being reviewed did not pertain to sexual abuse.
Here's an excerpt from the original Reuters story:
This juror, who asked to be identified only by his first and middle names, said some of the jurors had issues with the credibility of witnesses known as Jane and Carolyn, two of the four women who testified that Maxwell set them up with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein as teenagers.
He said that after some of the jurors questioned the accuracy of the two women's memories, he decided to share his own experience of being sexually abused as a child. He said that he remembered most important elements of what happened to him, but not every single detail. That swayed some jurors, he said.
"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," Scotty David, a 35-year-old Manhattan resident, told Reuters in a phone interview. He gave an earlier interview to The Independent.
In a separate interview with the Daily Mail, the juror allegedly said that he had helped the other jurors understand the subject matter from a survivor's point of view.
He also told the Mail that after the trial, he had been left with the conclusion that Maxwell was "as guilty as Epstein".
Maxwell’s motion for a new trial was finally unsealed Thursday. It argued that had Juror 50 "answered truthfully" during the jury selection process "he would have been subject to a challenge for cause."
Ultimately, Judge Nathan will decide whether a new trial will be called for.