A victim who testified in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial says she probably would not do so again if the heiress is granted a second hearing.
hat would force New York prosecutions to either put on a new case without one of their four witnesses, or else find other alleged victims.
Maxwell (60) was convicted in December on five counts of facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of girls, some as young as 14.
However, her attorneys have filed a motion for a new trial after it emerged that two jurors only revealed during deliberations that they had a history of sexual abuse.
The Maxwell lawyers said they believed that the juror’s account of past sexual abuse was a “compelling basis” to overturn their client’s conviction and grant a new trial.
A representative for one of the women, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that they did not think she could “go through it again”.
“A lot of the trauma resurfaced for her, and all these women. It took so much for them to do it the first time, I think reliving it would be too much. The situation is very unfortunate.”
Several of the women who gave evidence at Maxwell’s trial did not come forward publicly with the allegations until decades after the abuse. Three who testified only agreed to do so under pseudonyms to protect their privacy.
One, Carolyn Andriano, waived her right to anonymity after the trial in an interview. Ms Andriano, 35, told the Daily Mail she spoke out as she “wanted people to know these terrible things have happened to me and that I am a survivor”.
Her mother said the case had taken such a huge emotional toll on the mother-of-four that she has been unable to look after her children.
Another victim, who testified under the name ‘Jane’, told the court she did not come forward about the sexual abuse earlier, because she feared repercussions would harm her acting career.
Legal experts say Maxwell’s team faces an uphill struggle. She would not be guaranteed a new trial even if the juror did not disclose his abuse on a questionnaire ahead of his selection. Cases of juror dishonesty that led to verdicts being overturned generally involved jurors who deliberately lied in order to be selected.
One former prosecutor speculated that they could put on an even stronger case, if given a second shot.
That view was echoed by Brad Edwards, a lawyer who represents a number of Epstein victims. “Since the verdict, more people have come forward, willing to share their stories and testify — so I don’t think a new trial would go any better for her,” he said.
Prosecutors could draw upon the many dozens of victims of Epstein who allege they were groomed by Maxwell. Some 135 won payouts from the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund, though they first had to agree not to sue Maxwell through the civil courts.
Several victims, including Briton Sarah Ransome, watched the federal trial from the public gallery without being called to give evidence.
There is a possibility that Prince Andrew’s accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, could be included in any second trial. However, prosecutors were concerned that details of Ms Giuffre’s account had changed over the years.
If Maxwell, who faces up to 65 years in prison, fails to secure a new trial, she will be sentenced in June.
Telegraph Media Group Limited