By Luc Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A juror who threw Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking conviction into doubt by failing to reveal before trial that he had been sexually abused as a child will not answer a judge’s questions on the matter, his lawyer said.
Juror No. 50, as he is known in court papers, will invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination at a scheduled March 8 hearing, lawyer Todd Spodek said in a letter made public on Wednesday.
The hearing before U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan follows Maxwell’s Dec. 29 conviction on five of the six counts she faced for helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls.
Maxwell’s lawyers demanded a new trial after the juror told media including Reuters that he shared with other jurors his history of sexual abuse during deliberations.
While denying Maxwell’s request, Nathan said the juror’s statements provided “incontrovertible evidence” that he responded falsely on a screening questionnaire that asked whether he had been sexually abused, denying the defense a chance to question him for bias.
Juror No. 50, who identified himself to the media by his first and middle names Scotty David, signed the form under penalty of perjury, meaning he could face legal consequences if he lied.
Prosecutors who won Maxwell’s conviction told Nathan they will seek an order to compel Juror No. 50’s testimony.
Maxwell, 60, faces up to 65 years in prison. Epstein died by suicide in 2019 at the age of 66 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Mark Porter)