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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Elizabeth Williams via PA Images Ghislaine Maxwell
Ghislaine Maxwell

Prosecutors urge judge in Maxwell trial to carry out inquiry into juror’s sex abuse claims

The juror was identified only by his first and middle name in the articles.

PROSECUTORS HAVE URGED the judge who presided over the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell to conduct an inquiry into a juror’s reported claims that he was a victim of sexual abuse.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted last week of charges that she conspired to recruit and groom teenage girls to be sexually abused by the financier Jeffrey Epstein.

In interviews published by The Independent and the Daily Mail, one juror in the case described a moment during the deliberations when he told fellow jurors that, like some of Epstein’s victims, he had been sexually abused as a child.

And he said he convinced other jurors that a victim’s imperfect memory of sex abuse does not mean it did not happen.

“I know what happened when I was sexually abused. I remember the colour of the carpet, the walls. Some of it can be replayed like a video,” he said he told the jury, according to The Independent.

“But I can’t remember all the details, there are some things that run together.”

In a letter to US District Judge Alison J Nathan, prosecutors said those reports “merit attention by the Court”.

The juror was identified only by his first and middle name in the articles.

Prosecutors suggested in their letter that Judge Nathan schedule a hearing in about one month, along with a schedule for lawyers to file briefs regarding the applicable law and the scope of the hearing.

“The Government respectfully submits that any juror investigation should be conducted exclusively under the supervision of the Court,” prosecutors wrote.

If the judge decides to conduct a hearing, her staff should “promptly contact the juror to notify him” and inquire whether he would like a lawyer to be appointed in connection with it, prosecutors said.

Potential jurors in Maxwell’s case were asked to fill out a questionnaire asking: “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?”

Quoting from the press reports, prosecutors said the juror asserted that he “flew through” the questionnaire and did not recall being asked if he had been a victim of sex abuse.

Defence lawyers did not immediately comment.

Prosecutors said in their letter that they had reached out to defence counsel last night but they had not yet responded.

Prosecutors said they were “not aware of the defence position on this issue”.

Epstein died by suicide in jail in 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.

No sentencing date has been set after Maxwell’s conviction and she is still facing trial on perjury charges.