Ghislaine Maxwell juror testifies he made 'honest mistake' as possible mistrial looms

Ghislaine Maxwell
(Image credit: Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

One of the jurors in the trial of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has admitted he filled out incorrect information on his questionnaire — something Maxwell's attorneys hope leads to a new trial.

The anonymous juror testified on Tuesday after it was revealed he said on a pre-trial questionnaire that he had not been a victim of sexual abuse, even though he had, in fact, been sexually abused in the past, CNN reports. The juror told a judge in Manhattan that he didn't mean to check "no" to this question and that he made an "honest mistake," The New York Times reports.

"This is one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made in my life," the juror said. "I didn't lie to get on this jury."

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The juror also said he didn't carefully read the questionnaire because he didn't expect he would be selected for Maxwell's trial, CNN reports — and CNN notes this "could upend her conviction."

Maxwell, an associate of late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was convicted in December on sex-trafficking charges over her alleged role in recruiting young girls to be sexually abused by Epstein. She's facing decades in prison. Epstein died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

But Maxwell's attorneys are now asking for a new trial, citing media interviews the juror gave acknowledging that he was sexually abused. They say the juror "did not truthfully respond to perhaps the most important question put to potential jurors about their personal experiences" and that had the juror filled out the questionnaire honestly, he "would have been challenged, and excluded, for cause," per the Times.

The juror was granted immunity to testify to the judge on Tuesday. It wasn't clear when the judge might rule on the request for a new trial, but Maxwell is currently scheduled to be sentenced in June.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.