Ghislaine Maxwell lawyers say Scotty David should never have been on jury

Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers have said the juror who did not disclose childhood sexual abuse provided a dubious explanation for the omission as they once again requested a new trial.

The juror, Scotty David, was questioned in court on 8 March about his lack of disclosure. David, who was Juror 50, told the judge, Alison Nathan, that he was distracted when he flew through a screening questionnaire for potential panelists.

“The court has now heard from Juror 50 in his own words. If there is one thing we learned from Juror 50 at the hearing, it is this: he should never have been a member of this jury,” Maxwell’s lawyers said in their court papers.

“Moreover, his answers to the court’s questions, which he gave after careful preparation by his attorney and under the protection of government-granted immunity, alternated between inconsistent, implausible, and contradictory, and at all times lacked credibility.

“Juror 50’s explanation that he ‘flew through’ the questionnaire does not hold water, and his repeated after-the-fact assurances that the sexual abuse he suffered as a child did not affect his ability to be a fair and impartial juror were self-serving and simply not believable.

“Like anyone in his position, Juror 50 does not want to be responsible for the retrial of Ghislaine Maxwell, so he attempted to give innocuous explanations for his false questionnaire responses and his decision to ‘tell his story’ to the international press following trial.”

David said in court that his omission had been an “honest mistake” and he had not lied to serve on Maxwell’s jury. David was granted immunity to answer Nathan’s questions, having previously stated that he would invoke his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.

“We had to be at the courthouse super early,” David told Nathan. “And I got here early and it took 45 minutes just to get through the security line.”

When they finally got the questionnaires hours later, David heard “papers being ripped off the questionnaire packets” and people asking questions.

“We just sat there for three hours. I didn’t have a phone, I didn’t have a book,” David said. “I was sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, thinking about the breakup that just happened a few weeks prior and sitting in my feelings and not very focused.”

A jury convicted Maxwell on 29 December of sex-trafficking and related charges for procuring girls – some as young as 14 – for the now-deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. Maxwell maintains her innocence.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender who once counted powerful people including Prince Andrew in his circle, was arrested in July 2019 for sex trafficking. He killed himself while awaiting trial in a New York federal jail.

Maxwell’s watershed conviction was hurled into possible disarray following David’s post-trial interviews, in which he mentioned being sexually abused as a child. David said that he told his fellow jurors about this to help them understand facts from a victim’s point of view.

David’s statements spurred controversy as potential jurors were queried about past abuse during jury selection. “Have you or a friend ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse or sexual assault?” was one such prompt on the questionnaire.

After David’s comments emerged, prosecutors asked Nathan to conduct an inquiry into his statements, a request that was quickly echoed by Maxwell’s lawyers. Maxwell’s legal team has repeatedly asked for a new trial over David’s comments.

In paperwork filed on Tuesday, prosecutors argued against a new trial, pointing to David’s insistence that he did not omit anything intentionally. Even if David had disclosed his past abuse, that would not have outright disqualified him from serving on the jury, they said.

“After the thoughtful and thorough hearing held by this court, it is crystal clear that the defendant received a fair trial,” prosecutors wrote. “Juror 50’s sworn testimony at the hearing made evident that he did not deliberately lie in completing the questionnaire, but that he instead made an honest mistake.

“The defendant cannot demonstrate that Juror 50 was biased. At the hearing, Juror 50 repeatedly denied that he harbored any bias or feelings one way or another with respect to the defendant or the government,” prosecutors also wrote. “To the contrary, Juror 50 consistently testified that he was fair and impartial in this case and that he rendered a verdict consistent with the evidence and the court’s instructions of law.”

It is unclear when Nathan will rule on the attorneys’ latest arguments. Longtime attorneys have previously told the Guardian that a retrial is unlikely.

Comments are closed.