Second juror in Ghislaine Maxwell trial says they were sexually abused

7 January 2022, 05:51 | Updated: 7 January 2022, 09:22

Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of recruiting teenage girls for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse
Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of recruiting teenage girls for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell has been thrown into chaos after a second juror claimed to have been sexually abused as a child.

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The New York Times said it interviewed the juror, who requested anonymity and said they had discussed the experience during deliberations and believed the revelation had helped to shape the jury's discussions.

It comes after another juror who told reporters he was sexually abused as a child retained a lawyer.

Read more: Ghislaine Maxwell lawyers call for retrial after juror says they were sexual abuse victim

Listen: Hunting Ghislaine: The Trial

The unidentified juror's public interviews led defence lawyers in the case to say they will request a new trial, which US District Judge Alison J Nathan says that have until January 19 to do.

The claims have raised questions about how the jury in the British socialite’s sex trafficking trial was chosen, and could aid Maxwell’s lawyers bid for a mistrial.

In an order on Thursday, Judge 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.

Mr 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.

Read more: Ghislaine Maxwell: The events that led to her trial, as she now faces decades behind bars

Watch: David Lammy's powerful assessment of Ghislaine Maxwell trial

In the interviews, the juror said he revealed to other jurors during week-long 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 does not mean it did not happen.

Memories and how they relate to sexual abuse victims were a contentious point among lawyers during the trial as each side summoned a memory expert to testify.

During deliberations, the jury requested transcripts of the testimony by the defence'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.