FIRST ON FOX: The juror behind Ghislaine Maxwell‘s bid for a new trial said he was not a victim of sexual abuse on a jury selection questionnaire – an omission which could lead to the British socialite’s conviction being overturned, Fox News has learned.
The juror, who identified himself as Scotty David, told numerous news outlets after Maxwell’s Dec. 29th conviction that he had been sexually assaulted as a child.
“He did not fill in that form correctly,” said a person familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “He was asked point blank, and he said, that isn’t the case. Obviously, it is, from his own words.”
After five full days of deliberations, Maxwell was found guilty Dec. 29 of recruiting and grooming teenage girls to be sexually abused by late financier Jeffrey Epstein.
In one interview, Scotty David, 35, said that some of the jurors questioned the accuracy of two of the four accusers’ memories.
He said that he shared his own experience with sexual abuse with the panel as they weighed Maxwell’s fate. He told them of his own inability to recall every detail of the assault and credited this disclosure with swaying some of the jurors.
“It doesn’t matter whether he did it deliberately or he didn’t do it deliberately,” the source said. “The fact is, he wouldn’t have been allowed to be a juror.”
The jurors identities and the answers to their questionnaires are under seal. But the court made a blank questionnaire public. Question number 48 had to be answered by all prospective jurors.
“Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault? (This includes actual or attempted sexual assault or other unwanted sexual advance, including by a stranger, acquaintance, supervisor, teacher, or family member.),” it states.
If answered affirmatively, the prospective juror had to indicate if it related to himself or a friend or family member.
Scotty David answered “no,” the source said. This meant he didn’t have to answer the subsequent questions, including if he believed that being a victim of sexual assault would affect his “ability to serve fairly and impartially as a juror in this case.”
After answering the questionnaires, jurors were questioned individually by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan and asked to provide details about their background. At this point, the juror again did not disclose his sexual abuse history.
For questioning on personal matters, the judge conducted the discussion privately with the lawyers and the prospective juror. Scotty David did not have a private discussion with the parties.
Judge Nathan asked Scotty David directly if he could be fair to both sides in the case. He said he could. The judge insisted one more time: “Other than what I have asked you, do you have any reason to think that you can’t be fair and impartial here?” “I do not,” he responded.
Victims of sexual abuse can serve on a jury, but they must disclose this history on a questionnaire if asked, said attorney Arthur Aidala. By omitting the information, the juror deprived the defense of the opportunity to further probe whether the juror could be fair and impartial and in this case possibly jeopardized Maxwell’s right to a fair trial, he said.
The defense said in a court filing Wednesday that the revelations “present incontrovertible grounds for a new trial.” Earlier in the day, the government asked for a court inquiry into the matter.
Judge Nathan has set a briefing schedule for both sides to submit motions on the issue. She will ultimately rule on whether to overturn the verdict and grant Maxwell a new trial.
Scotty David, who works as an executive assistant in finance, has hired Todd Spodek, who represented “fake heiress” Anna Sorokin.
The attorney has not answered Fox News’ requests for comment. Scotty David could potentially face charges of perjury, said Cheryl Bader, a professor at Fordham Law School.
Reuters contributed to this report.