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Juror’s failure to disclose abuse meant Maxwell trial ‘not fair and impartial’

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he failure of a juror to disclose he was a victim of sexual abuse meant the trial of predatory British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell “was not fair and impartial”, her lawyers have claimed.

The 60-year-old’s legal representatives said the juror, named as Juror No 50 in a letter to the New York federal court, “demonstrated a lack of reliability and an appetite for publicity”.

US District Judge Alison J Nathan said in a written order that she will question the juror on March 8, after a questionnaire he filled out before the trial showed he did deny he had been a victim of sexual abuse.

Maxwell was convicted of luring vulnerable teenagers to Jeffrey Epstein for him to sexually abuse them (US Department of Justice/PA) / PA Media

Maxwell, who was labelled “dangerous” by the prosecution during her three-week trial in New York, was found guilty of enticing vulnerable teenagers to Jeffrey Epstein’s various properties for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.

Giving their detailed reasons why Maxwell should be granted a retrial, the socialite’s defence counsel said: “Juror No 50 says he was a victim of sexual assault and sexual abuse as a child.

“When he told his fellow jurors of this abuse during deliberations, ‘the room went dead silent’.

“Juror No 50 has told several media outlets that he drew on his personal experience as a victim to persuade fellow jurors to believe Ms Maxwell’s accusers, despite the inconsistencies and holes in their stories, even though they delayed disclosing their allegations against Ms Maxwell, and in spite of expert testimony from Dr Elizabeth Loftus casting significant doubt on the reliability of their claimed memories.

“This was unfair and prejudicial to Ms Maxwell, and it all would have been avoided if Juror No 50 had told the truth.

“But he didn’t.”

Defence attorneys Laura Menninger (left) and Jeffrey Pagliuca (middle right) leaving the federal courthouse in the Southern District of New York (Anthony Behar/PA) / PA Wire

The letter continued: “To the contrary, Juror No 50 repeatedly and unequivocally denied having been the victim of sexual abuse, and he denied having any experience that would affect his ability to serve fairly and impartially as a juror.

“Had Juror No 50 told the truth, he would have been challenged, and excluded, for cause.

“Juror No 50 did not truthfully respond to perhaps the most important question put to potential jurors about their personal experiences – a question that pertained directly to the core allegations against Ms Maxwell: Whether they had been a victim of sexual assault or abuse.

“Juror No 50’s false answer… resulted in a jury that was not fair and impartial, and deprived Ms Maxwell of her constitutional right to trial by jury.”

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