Ghislaine Maxwell’s bid for a new trial has been denied, with a New York judge ruling that a juror who failed to mention a history of childhood sexual abuse was not biased against Maxwell.
Circuit Judge Alison Nathan’s decision means that Maxwell’s sentencing hearing is likely to move forward on June 28 as scheduled. Last December, Maxwell was found guilty of sex trafficking and four other charges related to helping her now-deceased former lover Jeffrey Epstein groom and abuse underage girls.
Lawyers for Maxwell, 60, had argued that a new trial should be granted because juror Scotty David, also known as Juror 50, had failed to disclose that he had been a victim of childhood sexual abuse on a questionnaire before jury selection.
David then spoke of his abuse experiences with other jurors during the trial, potentially swaying their opinions on Maxwell’s guilt, according to several post-trial media interviews.
Maxwell’s lawyers argued that David “should have never been a member of the jury” due to the discrepancy,” maintaining in a court filing that he falsely answered “three critical questions on the juror questionnaire” that all “would have revealed his prior sexual abuse.”
In a hearing earlier this month, David told the court that the oversight resulted from his failing to read the questionnaire properly and that he had no intention of misleading with his answers.
The juror compared his mistake to having “skimmed” a test “way too fast” in one court filing. On Friday, Nathan agreed that David had simply made a mistake while ruling that Maxwell should not be given a new trial.
“The court finds Juror 50 testified credibly at the hearing,” Nathan wrote in the ruling. “His tone, demeanor and responsiveness gave no indication of false testimony.”
“The court thus credits his testimony that he was distracted as he filled out the questionnaire and ‘skimmed way too fast,’ leading him to misunderstand some of the questions,” she continued.
The judge added that David would not have been removed from from the jury even if he had accurately disclosed his history of abuse on the questionnaire because he “was not biased.”
Nathan’s decision was made only hours after Maxwell’s attorneys had highlighted an extended interview with David from the upcoming Paramount Plus documentary series Ghislaine: Partner in Crime as evidence of his supposed bias, according to Reuters.
A government court filing from earlier this month argued that it was “crystal clear that the defendant received a fair trial” and that David “did not deliberately lie in completing the questionnaire.”
Maxwell could face up to 65 years in federal prison following her sentencing hearing.
Newsweek reached out to Maxwell’s attorneys for comment.
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