A juror from the Ghislaine Maxwell trial has given interviews to news outlets including Reuters and The Independent, sharing insights from the deliberations that led to the Dec. 29 conviction of Maxwell on sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges.
The juror, who identified himself by his first and middle name, Scotty David, told reporters that he had been sexually abused as a child. He also revealed that he told other jurors about that experience to help convince them to believe witnesses who testified to being abused by Maxwell and Epstein, saying he explained to his fellow jurors that some aspects of his abuse have been easier to recall than others. “I remember the color of the carpet, the walls,” he told The Independent. “Some of it can be replayed like a video… But I can’t remember all the details; there are some things that run together.”
On Wednesday, prosecutors sent a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan asking for an inquiry into the issue and raising the possibility of a hearing. Maxwell’s attorneys pounced soon afterward, sending two letters to the judge saying the situation presents grounds for a new trial and pushing back against the prosecution’s request. “The government’s request for a hearing is premature because based on undisputed, publicly available information, the Court can and should order a new trial without any evidentiary hearing,” read a letter signed by Maxwell’s lawyers Jeffrey Pagliuca, Christian Everdell, and Bobbi Sternheim. The same letter also requested that all jurors be examined to evaluate Scotty David’s conduct.
“The juror told reporters that he disclosed to the other members of the jury during deliberations that he was a victim of sexual abuse and further described his memory of those events,” Maxwell’s lawyer Christian Everdell wrote to Nathan in a separate letter. “According to the juror, his disclosure influenced the deliberations and convinced other members of the jury to convict Ms. Maxwell.”
As Attorney Adam Horowitz, who has represented Epstein accusers in the past, points out, being a victim of sexual abuse does not automatically disqualify a potential juror, although attorneys in Maxwell’s case were paying particular attention to the topic because of the nature of the charges against Maxwell. “Sadly, it would be hard to find a group of 12 people where not one had experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault,” he says.
The issue is also not that the juror spoke to news outlets. As the prosecution acknowledged in their letter to Nathan, jurors are “free to discuss their jury service with anyone of their choosing,” now that the trial has concluded.
Crucially, though, Scotty David told reporters that he did not recall being asked about sexual abuse during jury selection. In fact, he told reporters he “flew through” the 51-question jury questionnaire — which included a question on whether you or any friends or family members have been the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault — and said did not remember being asked about a history of abuse during follow-up questioning known as voir dire. He said if he was asked, he would have answered honestly.
Horowitz says the judge and lawyers will have to revisit the jury questionnaires and transcripts of the voir dire to see if Scotty David failed to disclose his history of sexual abuse. “Being deceitful in an answer during jury selection could be problematic,” Horowitz says, especially because Scotty David has claimed he impacted the outcome. “He’s now said in media interviews that he was material to swaying other jurors and it was his life experiences that essentially caused the guilty verdict.”
Judge Nathan has ordered Maxwell’s defense to submit their motion for a new trial by Jan. 19, with the government’s response due Feb. 2. Nathan also said she would grant the government’s request to offer a court-appointed lawyer to Scotty David.