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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Elizabeth Williams via PA Images Courtroom sketch of Judge Alison Nathan
Ghislaine Maxwell

Juror in Ghislaine Maxwell trial told judge he regrets not disclosing sexual abuse

He said he failed to disclose that he was sexually abused as a child because he “skimmed way too fast” through the questionnaire.

LAST UPDATE | Mar 8th 2022, 7:18 PM

A JUROR HAS told a judge that failing to disclose his child abuse history during jury selection at the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was one of the biggest mistakes of his life, but an unintentional one.

“I didn’t lie in order to get on this jury,” the man said.

The juror, sitting in a courtroom witness box, repeatedly expressed regret as US District Judge Alison J Nathan asked him dozens of questions about why he failed to disclose he had been sexually abused. A written questionnaire he filled out had asked about that directly.

He said he failed to disclose that he was repeatedly sexually abused at the ages of nine and ten by two people because he “skimmed way too fast” through the questionnaire.

“This is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in my life,” the juror identified only as Juror No 50 said as he looked directly at the judge.

Lawyers for Maxwell say the verdict should be thrown out over the juror’s failure to disclose before the trial began that he had been a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

The British socialite was convicted in late December of sex trafficking and other charges alleging she helped financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls from 1994 to 2004.

Her lawyers could have objected to the man’s presence on the jury on the grounds that he might not be fair to a person accused of a similar crime.

The judge gave lawyers in the case until 15 March to submit legal briefs on whether the verdict should be set aside. Maxwell’s sentencing is scheduled for June.

The juror did several media interviews after the trial in which he revealed he had been abused. He described persuading some fellow jurors during deliberations that a victim’s imperfect memory of abuse does not mean it did not happen.

All potential jurors in the case had been asked to fill out a screening form in early November that asked: “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault? (This includes actual or attempted sexual assault or other unwanted sexual advance, including by a stranger, acquaintance, supervisor, teacher, or family member.)”

The juror checked “No”. He said in the interviews that he flew through the questionnaire and did not remember being asked that question, which was number 48 on the form.

The judge granted the juror immunity before he answered questions for over half an hour. He said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege without it.

Maxwell lawyers in January asked the judge to immediately order a new trial after the juror’s public statements, but she said she could not do so without questioning the juror.

The juror also checked “No” on a question which asked: “Have you, or any of your relatives or close friends, ever been a victim of a crime?”

Maxwell, 60, was convicted of sex trafficking and other charges after a month-long trial that featured evidence from four women who said she played a role in setting them up for abuse by Epstein.

He killed himself in August 2019 as he awaited trial at a federal jail in New York on related sex trafficking charges.

Maxwell says she is innocent.