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A Manhattan federal judge has ordered a Ghislaine Maxwell juror to testify at a hearing Tuesday after he falsely said on a juror questionnaire that he had not been a victim of sexual abuse, putting the British socialite’s conviction in jeopardy.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan issued the ruling late Monday that also grants the juror immunity from prosecution at the request of the Department of Justice.
The decision came after the juror’s attorney Todd Spodek informed the court last week that his client would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he testified.
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Maxwell’s convictions on sex trafficking and other charges hangs in the balance after the juror told reporters that he had been a victim of sexual abuse in post-verdict interviews contradicting statements he made on the juror questionnaire.
The juror said that he had shared his experience with the panel during deliberations and described persuading some jurors that an imperfect recollection of the abuse did not mean it didn’t happen.
Maxwell’s defense lawyers have asked for a new trial, arguing that had the juror answered truthfully they could have struck him for cause.
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All potential jurors were asked on the lengthy questionnaire whether they or a family member had been a victim of sexual abuse.
The juror checked a box that read “No.”
Spodek previously wrote in a court filing that his client did not recall answering this question.
Maxwell was found guilty in December of recruiting and grooming teenage girls to be abused by Jeffrey Epstein. She has been locked up since her arrest.
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Epstein was found hanged in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on serious sex crimes charges.