Judge denies Ghislaine Maxwell request for new trial

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  • On Friday, a federal judge in New York denied a request for a new trial by Ghislaine Maxwell.
  • Maxwell, a former Jeffrey Epstein associate, was convicted of child sex trafficking last year.
  • Her lawyers filed for a retrial in January after one of the jurors presiding over her case had experienced sexual abuse himself.

A request for a new trial by Ghislaine Maxwell, the former Jeffrey Epstein associate who was convicted of child sex trafficking late last year, was denied Friday by a federal judge in New York.

Maxwell's lawyers filed for a retrial in January after juror Scotty David - identified by his first and middle names - told media outlets he had persuaded fellow panellists to convict the 60-year-old by recalling his own experiences as a sex abuse victim, a fact he did not reveal during jury selection.

Maxwell, a disgraced British socialite, was convicted of recruiting and grooming young girls to be sexually abused by the late US financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Her sentence, which will be decided on 28 June, could see her spend the rest of her life in prison.

Two of Epstein's victims, identified as "Jane" and "Carolyn," testified in Maxwell's trial that they were as young as 14 when she began grooming them and arranging for them to give massages to Epstein that ended in sexual activity.

Scotty David, referred to as Juror 50 in court filings, said in interviews that he had helped convince jurors who were doubting the accounts of "Jane" and "Carolyn" by telling them that he did not remember every single detail of the abuse he had received.

Maxwell's lawyers had argued that Juror 50's omission of his prior sexual assault could have biased the jury.

He had said the omission occurred because he "flew through" the questionnaire.

'Bombshell revelation'

Judge Alison Nathan quizzed Juror 50 under oath on 8 March about the error.

In her ruling Friday, she said Juror 50's "failure to disclose his prior sexual abuse during the jury selection process was highly unfortunate, but not deliberate."

"The Court further concludes that Juror 50 harboured no bias toward the Defendant and could serve as a fair and impartial juror," Nathan added.

"The Defendant's motion for a new trial... is therefore denied," she concluded.

Earlier on Friday, Maxwell's lawyers had flagged for the judge a new interview with Juror 50 that is set to premiere as part of a TV special on the "Paramount Plus" streaming platform.

A trailer for the four-part series entitled Ghislaine - Partner in Crime promises a "bombshell revelation" from Juror 50, in "his only in-depth interview."

Maxwell's lawyers said in their letter that they had not yet had access to the footage, and that they had "learned that Paramount is holding off airing the series pending the Court's ruling concerning Juror 50."

The 'key' to Epstein

Maxwell's conviction capped a remarkable fall from grace.

The Oxford-educated daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell, she grew up in wealth and privilege as a friend to royalty.

Her circle included Britain's Prince Andrew, former US president and real estate baron Donald Trump and the Clinton family.

Prosecutors in her trial said Maxwell was "the key" to Epstein's scheme of enticing young girls to give him massages, during which he would sexually abuse them.

Epstein killed himself in 2019 while awaiting his own sex crimes trial in New York.

In February, Prince Andrew settled a sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre, who said she had been trafficked to the royal by Epstein and Maxwell.

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