A juror who helped convict Ghislaine Maxwell of sex trafficking acknowledged on Tuesday that he filled out the wrong answer on a sworn questionnaire when he denied having been a victim of sexual abuse.
“I would have put, ‘I was abused as a child,'” Scotty David, testifying anonymously as “Juror 50,” said in court on Tuesday.
“It was a family member who is no longer a part of the family and one of his friends when I was nine or 10 years old,” David added.
“One of the Biggest Mistakes I Have Ever Made in My Life”
Though he answered otherwise on his jury questionnaire, David insisted that this was an “inadvertent mistake.”
“This was one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made in my life, and if I could go back and change everything and have slowed down and actually taken the time to read this appropriately, I would in a heartbeat,” David added, testifying that he “flew through” the questionnaire and was “super-distracted” in a noisy jury room.
Late last year, a federal jury unanimously convicted Maxwell of sex trafficking and procuring minors for Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse, but a series of post-trial interviews have cast a cloud over that verdict. Identified in court papers as “Juror 50,” David told multiple news outlets that his personal experiences as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse informed his deliberations and those of his peers. Maxwell’s defense team attacked the memories of her victims during cross-examination, and David told the press that his own experiences with traumatic memories taught him not to expect survivors to recount everything perfectly.
“This verdict is for all the victims,” David told The Independent. “For those who testified, for those who came forward and for those who haven’t come forward. I’m glad that Maxwell has been held accountable.”
David also gave interviews to Reuters and the U.K. Daily Mail, which included a videotaped component.
According to his now-unsealed jury questionnaire, David checked a box indicating that neither he nor a loved one had been a victim of sexual abuse. Jury questionnaires are sworn under penalty of perjury, and David appeared in court on Tuesday with prominent defense attorney Todd Spodek, whom he retained after his press interviews spilled into court.
“I Don’t Tell Many People”
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, who presided over Maxwell’s trial, ordered Tuesday’s inquiry at the request of prosecutors. She referred to David by his number “Juror 50” and asked whether his answer to the question was accurate.
“No, it is not,” he acknowledged.
“What is an accurate answer to that question?” Nathan asked.
“Yes, for self,” he said.
The perpetrator, David said, was his stepbrother and the alleged abuse occurred on “multiple occasions.”
“Did you tell anyone?” Nathan asked.
“I did not, for several years until I was in high school,” David replied.
David said he eventually told his mother, who called the police station, but he did not know if paperwork was filed. No charges were brought, he said.
“I don’t really think about my sexual abuse, period,” David testified. “I don’t tell many people.”
Judge Nathan asked how he can reconcile that statement with him granting interviews to three international news organizations.
David responded that watching testimony from Maxwell’s victims inspired him to take that step.
“I felt if they could be brave enough, then so can I,” he said.
Before Tuesday’s proceedings, Spodek notified that court that his client would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Prosecutors surmounted that roadblock to Tuesday’s proceedings by offering David immunity, and the Department of Justice signed off on that plan on Monday evening.
Nathan signed the immunity agreement, requiring the juror to answer questions. David cannot be prosecuted for any truthful answers as a result of that agreement. The judge noted in court papers before the hearing that childhood sexual abuse survivors can, and do, serve on juries routinely, and the issue at the heart of post-trial motions is whether David lied on the forms, prejudicing Maxwell’s right to a fair trial. The judge ordered the parties to file written arguments regarding David’s testimony on March 15, one week from today.
(Photo of Maxwell and Epstein via DOJ; Screenshot of David via Daily Mail)
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