The siblings of Ghislaine Maxwell said on Tuesday they were “profoundly shocked and troubled” that a judge rejected a new trial for the British former socialite convicted on sex-trafficking charges, despite revelations that a juror who helped to convict her failed to disclose he was sexually abused as a child.
In a statement, the “Maxwell Family” said it was focused on an appeal against US district judge Alison Nathan’s ruling last Friday.
That left intact Maxwell’s conviction last year on charges that she served as the key recruiter of teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein, the late sex offender who got rich as a financial adviser to the elite, to sexually abuse from 1994 to 2004.
The judge said she concluded that a December verdict convicting Maxwell, 60, of sex trafficking and other charges was still valid because the juror did not deliberately give wrong answers on a juror questionnaire and because he “harbored no bias toward the defendant and could serve as a fair and impartial juror”.
Maxwell family members said in their statement: “Our family is profoundly shocked and troubled by the denial of a retrial for our sister, Ghislaine Maxwell,” adding: “The court’s ruling in this matter is as tainted as the original verdict is unsafe.”
The statement said that the issue over Juror No 50’s revelations to media outlets after the trial would be one among many issues that will be appealed to the second US circuit court of appeals in Manhattan.
“Our family is optimistic about Ghislaine’s success on appeal,” they wrote.
Juror No 50’s media interviews days after the verdict came after a month-long trial at which Maxwell was portrayed as the crucial component of Epstein’s sexual abuse conspiracy. Sometimes, prosecutors said, Maxwell joined in the abuse.
After the trial’s conclusion, the juror, identified in court papers only as Juror No 50, said publicly that he had been abused as a child and had persuaded some fellow jurors that a victim’s imperfect memory of abuse did not mean it did not happen.
He was among potential jurors in the case who filled out a 50-page questionnaire including a question that asked: “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?”
The juror checked “No.” The juror said in one interview that he did not remember being asked that question, which was No 48 on the form.
After rejecting defense demands that she immediately order a new trial, the judge conducted an unusual hearing at which she questioned the juror, but decided not to order a new trial.
In its statement, Maxwell family members said the judge had failed to uphold “the paramount interests of justice” by severely limiting the questioning of the juror and had “effectively ensured the loading of the dice“ by granting him immunity from prosecution for perjury.
Epstein was 66 when he killed himself in 2019 as he awaited a sex-trafficking trial in Manhattan.