By Lauren del Valle, CNN
A juror in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial who may have lied about his history of sexual abuse on a jury questionnaire form says he will invoke his Fifth amendment right to remain silent at an upcoming hearing.
“I write to inform the Court that Juror 50 will invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination at the hearing,” a letter to the court from his legal counsel says.
Prosecutors are seeking internal approval for an order to compel the juror’s testimony at the hearing scheduled for March 8, a letter filed with the court Tuesday says. If they obtain internal approval, the government will submit a proposed order to the court seeking immunity for the juror to testify, according to the letter.
The juror issue has the potential to overturn the guilty verdict against Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein who was convicted in December 2021 of sex trafficking a minor and four other charges for her role in facilitating Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls between 1994 and 2004. Maxwell could face up to 65 years in prison and is expected to be sentenced at a later date.
Jurors were explicitly asked on jury questionnaire forms if they had been sexually abused and, if so, would it impact their abilities to be impartial while deliberating. In interviews with multiple media outlets shortly after the verdict, the juror, who identified himself only as Scotty David, said he was sexually abused as a child and shared his story with fellow jurors.
“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 said in a Reuters interview.
However, according to a copy of the form the juror filled out and that was posted publicly last week, the juror marked “no” when asked if he or a family member had been “the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse or sexual assault.”
Maxwell’s attorneys have argued that because they believe the juror lied on his questionnaire, Maxwell is entitled to a new trial.
Last week, US District Judge Alison Nathan denied Maxwell’s request for a new trial, saying the current record “relies extensively” on statements from the juror involving deliberations that the court is “prohibited from considering.” However, Nathan ordered the juror to testify under oath about the questionnaire on March 8.
Nathan emphasized in her ruling Thursday that the “potential impropriety” is whether the juror lied on his juror questionnaire, not his history of surviving abuse.
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CNN’s Eric Levenson contributed to this report.