Juror in Ghislaine Maxwell trial intends to take the 5th at hearing

Prosecutors have told the court they may grant the juror immunity to testify.

March 2, 2022, 11:59 AM

One of the jurors who convicted Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell of sex trafficking in December intends to take the Fifth Amendment at a hearing next week regarding his role on the jury, according to a letter from the juror's attorney that was made public Wednesday.

"I write to inform the Court that Juror 50 will invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination at the hearing," wrote Todd Spodek, a lawyer for the juror.

Spodek did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan last week ordered Juror 50, a 35-year-old Manhattan resident, to appear in federal court on March 8 for an inquiry focused on his responses during jury screening and on his post-trial interviews, in which he revealed his alleged personal experience as a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

Nathan last week denied Maxwell's motion for a new trial based on the current record, but ordered the juror to court to answer questions under oath. The court also unsealed the juror's responses to a written jury questionnaire, showing that the juror answered "no" to a question asking if he had ever been a victim of sexual harassment, assault or abuse.

In response to the letter from the juror's lawyer, federal prosecutors informed the court that they are "in the process of seeking internal approval" to grant the juror immunity, thereby compelling him to testify at the hearing. Subject to that approval, the government says it will submit a proposed order to the judge in advance of the hearing, according to a letter from prosecutors that was filed with the court.

Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell sits as the guilty verdict in her sex abuse trial is read in a courtroom sketch in New York, Dec. 29, 2021.
Jane Rosenberg/Reuters, FILE

Juror 50 granted several interviews in the days following Maxwell's convictions in late December. Identified in media reports using his first and middle names, Scotty David, he told Reuters, The Daily Mail and The Independent that during a critical stage of deliberations, he shared his experiences of being sexually abused as a child.

He claimed in interviews that his personal reflections helped convince some skeptical jurors that key prosecution witnesses -- the four women who testified about Maxwell's role in their sexual abuse -- could be believed.

"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 in an interview with the Independent. "But I can't remember all the details, there are some things that run together.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted on five felony counts, including sex trafficking and conspiracy to entice minors to travel for illegal sexual activity between 1994 and 2004. Prosecutors portrayed Maxwell and Epstein, the millionaire financier who died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on child sex-trafficking charges, as "partners in crime who sexually exploited young girls together."

Maxwell's lawyers, who structured her defense largely on challenges to the reliability of her accusers' memories, contend that if Juror 50 had disclosed his history of child sexual abuse during jury screening, he almost certainly would have been removed from consideration.

Maxwell has been detained at New York's Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since her arrest in July 2020.

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