New York, NY – The Ghislaine Maxwell juror accused of lying about being a survivor of sexual abuse on his jury questionnaire has informed the judge he intends to invoke the Fifth Amendment when he appears in court next week.
Todd Spodek, an attorney for Juror No. 50, informed U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan of the plan in a letter filed with the court ahead of his client’s March 8 hearing, ABC News reported.
“I write to inform the Court that Juror 50 will invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination at the hearing,” Spodek wrote in the letter of notification.
Prosecutors said in a letter filed with the court on Tuesday that they were trying to get approval to give Juror No. 50 immunity so he could testify, CNN reported.
Bobbi Sternheim, one of Maxwell’s defense attorneys, filed the motion requesting a new trial with Nathan on Jan. 19 after the juror revealed to multiple news outlets that he had used his personal history as a survivor of sexual abuse to convince other members of the jury to believe the witnesses who testified.
The judge denied the motion for the a new trial but ordered the juror making headlines to appear in court and be questioned about his responses on his jury questionnaire and the interviews he gave subsequent to the trial, ABC News reported.
A jury convicted Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime girlfriend on Dec. 29, 2021 of five of the six counts levied against her in connection with her role in the sexual abuse of multiple minor girls as young as 14.
Maxwell, 60, was charged with six counts alleging she had conspired with Epstein and aided in his recruitment, enticement, and trafficking of underage girls between 1994 and 2004.
Her sentencing has tentatively been scheduled for June.
But on Jan. 5, Juror No. 50 gave an interview to The Independent during which he explained he why he voted to convict Maxwell on all of the charges against her.
“I personally was willing to find her guilty on count two,” he said. “But we all decided in the end that there wasn’t enough evidence.”
The juror, who chose to be called by his first and middle names, Scotty David, said he was proud to help hold Maxwell accountable.
“This verdict is for all the victims,” David told The Independent. “For those who testified, for those who came forward and for those who haven’t come forward. I’m glad that Maxwell has been held accountable.”
“This verdict shows that you can be found guilty no matter your status,” he added.
The juror told The Independent that he found all of Maxwell’s accusers credible and said he knew it was easy to misremember small details of traumatic memories because he, too, was a survivor of sexual abuse.
“I know what happened when I was sexually abused. I remember the color of the carpet, the walls. Some of it can be replayed like a video,” he said. “But I can’t remember all the details, there are some things that run together.”
David said he explained to his fellow jurors that misremembered details don’t mean the incident didn’t occur, The Independent reported.
“When I shared that, they were able to sort of come around on, they were able to come around on the memory aspect of the sexual abuse,” the juror told Reuters in another interview.
He said he was also able to answer questions from other jurors about why the girls hadn’t come forward about the abuse sooner.
“I didn’t disclose my abuse until I was in high school,” Juror No. 50 told The Independent.
He said the jury room went silent when he shared his personal story and that he thought it had helped convince the rest of the jury to believe the victims’ testimony, even when the defense attorneys poked some holes in it.
David also gave an interview to the Daily Mail during which he claimed that he hadn’t been asked about sexual abuse during jury selection.
He said that there was no question about sexual abuse on the juror questionnaire, and then said that if there was, he didn’t remember it.
The Maxwell juror told the Daily Mail that if there was a question about it, he would have answered it honestly.
Jurors were explicitly asked “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?”
The judge recently unsealed the Juror No. 50’s responses to the written questionnaire which confirmed the juror had answered “no” when asked if he had ever been a victim of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse, ABC News reported.
After David’s interviews with The Independent and the Daily Mail were published, prosecutors called for an investigation and defense attorneys called for a mistrial to be declared.
Defense attorneys called the juror’s admissions “incontrovertible grounds” for a new trial.
Maxwell’s attorneys argued in their motion to Nathan that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a defendant is entitled to a new trial if a party can prove a juror lied on a material question during jury selection, CNN reported.