A Juror At Ghislaine Maxwell's Trial Reveals When He Realized She Was Guilty

The entire world was gripped by the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite and righthand woman of disgraced businessman Jeffrey Epstein. And, when she was found guilty on five of the six federal counts with which she was charged, nobody was particularly surprised. As NBC News reported, Maxwell was convicted on five counts of sex trafficking after a jury determined she played a pivotal role in recruiting and grooming underage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein, who died suicide while in custody awaiting his own trial on associated charges. Maxwell faces up to 65 years behind bars as a result.

The jury was comprised of six men and six women, who deliberated for six days total. Their discussion stretched into the holiday weekend because U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, presiding, was concerned over increasing COVID-19 cases and wanted to avoid a mistrial. Thankfully, by late Wednesday morning, the jury concluded their deliberations. Maxwell sat quietly as the verdict was read and seemed to give no real indication of what she was feeling, aside from conferring briefly with one of her lawyers.

Although the jury's deliberations understandably took a while, according to one member, he knew pretty early on what his personal verdict on Maxwell was.

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This juror had a clear view of Ghislaine Maxwell throughout the trial

According to Scotty David, who served on the jury for the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, he knew she was a "predator" after making eye contact with the British socialite. Speaking to the Daily Mail, David acknowledged he'd shared his own history with child sex abuse with the other members of the jury, in an effort to help them understand how Maxwell's victims might be feeling. David explained how victims often "can't remember all the details" of their traumatic experiences, which was a critical point in Maxwell's defense, as her lawyers argued an expert witness was simply presenting a "false memory." 

The juror referred to Jeffrey Epstein's confidante being found guilty on five counts of sex trafficking as a major victory for the duo's victims. However, legal experts warned that if David didn't disclose his own history before deliberations took place, Maxwell might be able to demand a mistrial and even get her convictions overturned. Potential jurors had to complete a lengthy survey prior to being selected, one of the questions on which related to whether they'd ever been sexually abused themselves. David also revealed he had a clear view of Maxwell throughout the trial and frequently caught her eye.

He went into the trial giving the socialite the benefit of the doubt. But, "After all I've learned, she's just as guilty as Epstein." 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Not all jurors had the same opinion at first

While this juror had clear feelings about Maxwell's part in the crimes she was charged with, others were a bit unsure. According to Global News, a few members of the jury were doubtful of the accusers.

The issue came with the accounts made by Jane and Carolyn, only referred to by their first names during the trial. Some of the jurors didn't initially believe their claims but eventually came around. They took issue with the fact that they seemed to have not remembered every detail of the crimes they were testifying about but once the fellow juror David shared his own story of sexual abuse, he was able to help his colleagues better relate to the victims.

It wasn't just David who helped jurors understand the victims. Others were able to share their experiences growing up in the same socioeconomic background as Carolyn, allowing them to understand how growing up poor could impact decision-making.

The jury selection process for this trial was intense, including a full-blown questionnaire to assure the people with the power to convict Maxwell of these horrible crimes were suited for the job. This survey included a question about whether or not the prospective juror or their family members had experienced sexual assault or any other form of sexual violence (via Reuters). For those who answered yes to that question, the judge ordered them to be followed up with before selecting them to the jury.

The jury faced setbacks due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic almost got in the way of convicting Maxwell (via the BBC). When the trial first started, the Omicron variant was not as prominent. In fact, jurors were not even required to be vaccinated. Since the trial took place in New York City as the Omicron variant began to surge, things quickly changed during deliberation.

The days deliberating were made longer. The judge on the case shared, "We now face a higher and escalating risk that the jurors and trial participants may need to quarantine." Continuing, "We are simply in a different place regarding the pandemic than we were a week ago." The jurors missed out on two days off because of the uptick in COVID cases.

In the end, the jurors convicted Maxwell on charges of federal sex trafficking (via NBC News).

While not involved in this specific case, Virginia Guiffre, the first victim of Epstein and Maxwell to come forward, applauded the jury's decision. "Having lived with the horrors of Maxwell's abuse, my heart goes out to the many other girls and young women who suffered at her hands and whose lives she destroyed," adding, "I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served. "Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be."

Regardless of the bumps along the way for the jury, the victims feel the right decision was made.

The conviction may be ruled a mistrial after Scotty David's comments to the media

While David may have been able to sway some jurors to convict Maxwell, her attorneys are now calling for a mistrial because of his comments (via CNN). Because David used his own account to convince jurors to change their original opinion, the defense believes Maxwell deserves a new trial.

Maxwell's attorney, Jeffrey Pagliuca stated, "It is clear to Ms. Maxwell that based on this record alone a new trial is required." Due to David "flying through" the jury questionnaire and failing to state his own sexual assault, he violated the rules. Pagliuca said that "a correct response would have provided a valid basis for a challenge for cause."

David wasn't the only one who shared his own story of sexual assault while deliberating with the rest of the jurors (via Insider). However, because he spoke out in interviews with various media outlets, he could risk the conviction being tossed out.

Lawyer Neama Rahmani, the president of West Coast Trial Lawyers and a former federal prosecutor, told Insider, "This is the absolute last thing you want when you get a guilty verdict," adding, "You don't want the jurors talking to the media. You don't want them saying something that will result in a mistrial."

Rahmani called this "an absolute disaster," and it seems there is an opportunity for the conviction to be overturned and ruled a mistrial.