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Prosecutors alert Maxwell judge of juror's sex abuse claims

Ghislaine Maxwell, Bobbi C. Sternheim
Posted at 2:32 PM, Jan 05, 2022

NEW YORK (AP) -- Prosecutors urged the judge who presided over the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell on Wednesday to conduct an inquiry into a juror's reported claims that he was a victim of sexual abuse.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan, prosecutors said the claims published in several interviews by press outlets "merit attention by the Court." The juror was not fully identified in the articles, and the identities of jurors were not released during Maxwell's trial.

Prosecutors suggested in their letter that Nathan schedule a hearing in about one month, along with a schedule for lawyers to file briefs regarding the applicable law and the scope of the hearing.

"The Government respectfully submits that any juror investigation should be conducted exclusively under the supervision of the Court," prosecutors wrote.

If the judge decides to conduct a hearing, her staff should "promptly contact the juror to notify him" and inquire whether he would like a lawyer to be appointed in connection with it, prosecutors said.

Quoting from the press reports, prosecutors said the juror asserted that he "flew through" the prospective juror questionnaire and didn't recall being asked if he'd been a victim of sex abuse.

Defense lawyers did not immediately comment. Prosecutors said in their letter that they'd reached out to defense counsel on Tuesday night but they had not yet responded and prosecutors were "not aware of the defense position on this issue."

Maxwell, 60, was convicted last week of sex trafficking and conspiracy charges after a four-week trial.

The jury found that she conspired with financier Jeffrey Epstein between 1994 and 2004 to recruit and groom teenage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in a Manhattan federal jail cell in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.

No sentencing date has been set after Maxwell's conviction and she is still facing trial on perjury charges.