Juror 50 and the second juror were both called for a second round of jury selection, where Judge Nathan, based in part on their answers to the questionnaire, conducted an interrogation known as a voir dire. None of the jurors were asked if they had been sexually abused or if they had volunteered during the voir dire.
Legal experts said Judge Nathan will have to consider whether the defence, had they known of the two jurors’ story, could have successfully challenged them “for just cause” – as they could not be impartial.
Moira Penza, a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, said it would be difficult for Judge Nathan not to order a new trial if a juror was intentionally lying.
“If, on the other hand, the juror says that was a mistake, that he missed the question, that he misunderstood the question,” Ms Penza said, “then you could have an inquest from the judges Nathan to find out if this juror was still fair and impartial.
“Was this juror still willing to follow the court’s instructions?” Was this juror always open-minded? said Ms Penza, who helped secure the 2019 racketeering conviction of Nxivm sex cult leader Keith Raniere.
Stephen Gillers, who teaches legal ethics at New York University School of Law, said that if either juror hadn’t revealed their history of abuse in the questionnaire, the Judge Nathan would like to know the answer to the question “that she would have asked”. the jurors completed the questionnaires accurately.
“If it was intentional, that counts against the juror – it arouses suspicion,” Prof Gillers said. “If it was an error or an oversight, it counts for the credit of the juror if he says now that it did not affect my deliberation at all.”