Maxwell trial juror retains lawyer with verdict in jeopardy
NEW YORK (AP) — A juror at the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell who told reporters he was sexually abused as a child has retained a lawyer, the trial judge said Thursday.
The unidentified juror’s public interviews led defense lawyers in the case to say they will request a new trial. U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan asked them to do so by Jan. 19.
In an order Thursday, Nathan said the juror’s retained lawyer, Todd Spodek, had informed her that the juror did not want the court to appoint a lawyer for him as she had offered. Spodek did not immediately return a request for comment.
The revelations by the juror in interviews published by The Independent and the Daily Mail on Tuesday and Wednesday threatened to upend the guilty verdicts returned against Maxwell last week on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, among others.
In the interviews, the juror said he revealed to other jurors during weeklong deliberations that he was sexually abused as a child, and he said the information helped him convince some jurors that a victim’s imperfect memory of sex abuse doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that it interviewed a second juror who described having been sexually abused as a child. The newspaper said the juror requested anonymity and said that they had discussed the experience during deliberations and believed the revelation had helped to shape the jury’s discussions.
Memories and how they relate to sexual abuse victims were a contentious point among attorneys during the trial as each side summoned a memory expert to testify.
During deliberations, the jury requested transcripts of the testimony by the defense’s memory expert, who said memories can be corroded over time by outside influences and general decay.
In the end, the jurors concluded unanimously that Maxwell, 60, was guilty of recruiting teenage girls between 1994 and 2004 for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.
No sentencing date was set.
Epstein, 66, took his own life at a Manhattan federal jail in August 2019 as he awaited a trial on sex trafficking charges.