The judge who oversaw the federal sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell says she wants to hear from both the prosecution and defense after the latter attorneys said they'd seek a new trial based on statements made by now two jurors who say they were sexually abused and some of their experiences came up at deliberations.
The judge says she isn’t committing yet to an inquiry of at least one of the jurors who says he was sexually abused and talked about those experiences to the other jurors. That unidentified juror who had given public interviews that prompted the defense to seek a new trial has now retained a lawyer, the judge said Thursday.
Defense attorneys are asked to make that request, if they so choose, by Jan. 19, U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan said. That's one of several dates given to both sides for motions and replies set to culminate on Feb. 9. At that point, Nathan will determine whether or not there will be an in-person hearing and inquiry of the now lawyered-up juror, which could eventually lead to a new trial for Maxwell.
In an order Thursday, Nathan said the juror's retained lawyer, Todd Spodek, had informed her that the juror did not want the court to appoint a lawyer for him as she had offered. Spodek did not immediately return a request for comment.
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The revelations by the juror in interviews published by The Independent and the Daily Mail earlier this week threatened to upend guilty verdicts returned against Maxwell last week on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, among others.
In the interviews, the juror said he revealed to other jurors during weeklong deliberations that he was sexually abused as a child, and he said the information helped him convince some jurors that a victim's imperfect memory of sexual abuse doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Memories and how they relate to sex abuse victims were a contentious point among attorneys during the trial as each side summoned a memory expert to testify.
During deliberations, the jury requested transcripts of the testimony by the defense's memory expert, who said memories can be corroded over time by outside influences and general decay.
In the end, the jurors concluded unanimously that Maxwell, 60, was guilty of recruiting teenage girls between 1994 and 2004 for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. No sentencing date was set.
Maxwell was convicted of five of the six counts against her in federal court in New York City. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years but she was not expected to face the maximum.
Epstein, 66, took his own life at a Manhattan federal jail in August 2019 as he awaited a trial on sex trafficking charges.