Juror in Ghislane Maxwell trial says 'he was a victim of sexual abuse'

Last week, Maxwell was convicted in court in New York of helping American financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls. Credit: AP

Prosecutors in the US have urged the judge who presided over the trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell to conduct an inquiry into a juror’s reported claims that he was a victim of sexual abuse.

In a letter to US District Judge Alison J Nathan, prosecutors said the claims published in several interviews by press outlets “merit attention by the court".

The juror was only identified by their first and middle names in the articles, and the identities of jurors were not released during Maxwell’s trial.

Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein. Credit: US Department of Justice/PA

Last week, Maxwell was convicted in court in New York of helping American financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.

The verdict capped a month-long trial featuring sordid accounts of the sexual exploitation of girls as young as 14, told by four women who described being abused as teenagers in the 1990s and early 2000s at Epstein’s homes in Florida, New York and New Mexico.

Watch US Correspondent Emma Murphy's report after Maxwell was found guilty on five of six counts

Jurors deliberated for five full days before finding Maxwell guilty on five of six counts.

Maxwell faces the likelihood of at least 40 years behind bars - an outcome long sought by women who spent years fighting in civil courts to hold the 60-year-old accountable for her role in recruiting and grooming Epstein’s teenage victims and sometimes joining in the sexual abuse.

In an interview in The Independent and The Daily Mail, the juror in the case described a moment during the deliberations when he told fellow jurors that, like some of Epstein’s victims, he had been sexually abused as a child. And he said he convinced other jurors that a victim’s imperfect memory of sex abuse doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

“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 he told the jury, according to The Independent.

“But I can’t remember all the details, there are some things that run together.”

Prosecutors suggested in their letter that Judge 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.

Potential jurors in Maxwell’s case were asked to fill out a questionnaire asking: “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?”

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

Defence lawyers did not immediately comment.

Prosecutors said in their letter that they had contacted the defence team on Tuesday night but they had not yet responded.

Prosecutors said they were “not aware of the defence position on this issue.”

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