By Jonathan Stempel
NEWYORK – Ghislaine Maxwell wants the federal judge who oversaw her recent sex trafficking trial to review a “bombshell revelation” from one of the jurors before deciding whether to overturn the British socialite’s conviction and grant a new trial.
The request on Friday from Maxwell lawyer Bobbi Sternheim came ahead of the planned airing on Paramount+ of “Ghislaine: Partner in Crime,” a series examining Maxwell and her relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell, 60, was convicted on Dec. 29 on sex trafficking and four other counts for helping Epstein sexually abuse underage girls.
But the verdict became clouded when the juror, a man known as Juror 50, told media that he had revealed during jury deliberations that he had been sexually abused as a child, after failing to disclose it in a pretrial screening questionnaire.
Maxwell’s lawyers said Juror 50 would have been excluded from the jury “for cause,” reflecting his potential bias, had he filled out the questionnaire truthfully.
Juror 50 said at a March 8 hearing that he rushed through the questionnaire and called his omission “one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in my life,” but said he did not lie to get on Maxwell’s jury.
The trailer for the Paramount+ series said Juror 50’s “bombshell revelation” came in his “only in-depth interview” concerning Maxwell’s case.
“Some jurors did have serious credibility issues with some of these victims,” Juror 50 said in the trailer. “Just because some memories are fuzzy doesn’t mean that they’re not telling the truth.”
The juror’s lawyer, Todd Spodek, said the interview took place on Jan. 4, the same day his client spoke to other media.
“Juror 50 does not consider himself a victim,” Spodek wrote in an email. “His position then, and now, is that this is nothing more than an inadvertent, honest mistake.”
Paramount did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The network is a unit of Paramount Global, which until recently was known as ViacomCBS.
In a letter to Circuit Judge Alison Nathan, who oversaw Maxwell’s trial, Sternheim said Paramount+ has delayed airing “Ghislaine: Partner in Crime” until the judge decides whether a new trial is needed.
Nathan was elevated this week to the federal appeals court in Manhattan but retains jurisdiction over Maxwell’s case.
Epstein killed himself in August 2019 at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.