The first accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial said she had repeated sexual contact with Jeffrey Epstein when she was 14 – and the British socialite was there when it happened.
The woman, known by the pseudonym Jane, appeared on the stand Tuesday for the second day of the trial in New York.
Early in the day Epsteinlongtime pilot said at trial that Prince Andrew was among the leading men to use the disgraced financier’s private jet.
A prosecutor asked the first accuser how old she was when she first had “sexual contact” with Epstein.
In a calm voice, she replied, “Fourteen years old.”
When asked if there had ever been someone else in the room during sexual contact, she replied, “Ghislaine Maxwell.”
She said the sexual interactions were “very informal” and “like it wasn’t a big deal.”
She told the courtroom that Maxwell taught her how to give Epstein sex massages and that she sometimes physically participates in the meetings.
Epstein said he would like to guide her and is interested in music and dancing, Jane said at the trial.
She said she didn’t understand the relationship between the two and didn’t know if they were married, friends or if Maxwell worked for him.
The abuse would occur once every two weeks when she was 14 to 16 and she traveled with them 10 times to New York and Santa Fe, jurors said.
Key points from the trial to date:
• Jurors are told that Maxwell and Epstein were ‘partners in crime’ and ‘she served young girls’ to be abused
• Prince Andrew named among leading men to travel on Epstein’s private jet
• The charges relate to four alleged minor victims and several locations between 1994 and 2004
• Defense claims Maxwell was used as a ‘scapegoat’ for Epstein’s crimes
U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz said in her opening remarks Monday that Maxwell and Epstein met Jane in 1994 at summer camp when she was 14.
Epstein introduced himself as a donor interested in funding her education, but ended up sexually abusing Jane, she told jurors.
Former Epstein pilot Lawrence Visoski also testified before Jane testified.
He said Maxwell, 59, was Epstein’s “number 2” in his hierarchy of operations.
The pilot also said Prince Andrew – who was friends with Epstein – traveled on the US financier’s jet.
Mr Visoski said he was often contacted by Maxwell, who would charter flights for Epstein and often flew with him in his private planes.
Asked about the relationship between them, Mr Visoski said Maxwell was “number 2” and Epstein was “big number 1”.
He also said at the trial that Mr. Epstein would travel to Ohio regularly to meet his friend Lex Wexner, the billionaire owner of Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Mr Visoski was providing what the lawyers call fundamental evidence on which they will build their case along with additional evidence from the four alleged underage victims.
However, during cross-examination, he could not recall whether “Jane” or the other three alleged victims had flown on Mr. Epstein’s planes.
He told the court that he had never seen sexual activity or any signs of it, such as sex toys or condoms, adding that he also had never seen anyone who he said was a minor, claiming “they looked like mature women.”
Mr Visoski said he recalled meeting another alleged victim, Virginia Roberts, “in the mid to late 1990s”.
“She was on the plane several times,” he said. “I couldn’t guess the quantity.”
The pilot described Maxwell as the disgraced financier’s office assistant, but said their relationship appeared to be “more personal than professional.”
He said he had access to all of Epstein’s residences – both Florida and New York to “pick up the luggage”.
Mr. Visoski also flew a helicopter for him “on several occasions” and recalled that he had not been able to see the passengers flying in his private planes because the doors to their compartments were “always closed”.
But when asked, he replied that he “had never seen sexual activity”.
Maxwell’s defense attorneys claim she was used as a “scapegoat” for Epstein’s crimes.
The convicted pedophile committed suicide in his Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 pending further charges of sex trafficking.
The trial continues.
What are the fees?
The former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein faces a total of eight counts – including six counts of incitement of minors and sex trafficking over a 10-year period.
The charges relate to four alleged minor victims and multiple locations over a 10-year period between 1994 and 2004. The youngest alleged victim was 14 at the time.
Maxwell also faces two counts of perjury who will be tried separately.
She denies all charges and has pleaded not guilty.
Maxwell could be sentenced to 80 years in prison if found guilty on all counts.
What does Maxwell say?
“The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell relate to things Jeffrey Epstein did, but she is not Jeffrey Epstein,” Maxwell said.
Defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim said in court on Monday.
Maxwell said under oath that she did not “remember” if Epstein owned sex toys, and also claimed that she did not know that Epstein had sex in the 1990s and 2000s with anyone else. that she and two women with whom they had had threesomes. Maxwell also denied ever having massaged anyone.
In her opening statement on behalf of Maxwell, her attorney, Ms Sternheim, said: “Ever since Eve was blamed for tempting Adam with an apple, women have been blamed for what the men did.”
She insisted that Maxwell is “nothing like Jeffrey Epstein”, adding that he was “the proverbial elephant in the room”.
“Yes, Jeffrey Epstein manipulated the world around him and the people around him, including Ghislaine,” Ms Sternheim told jurors, adding: “Ghislaine Maxwell is on trial as Epstein’s scapegoat.”
Ms Sternheim said the case was about “memory, manipulation and money” and argued that all four of Epstein’s alleged victims received multi-million dollar payments from a settlement fund set up by his estate and had changed their history over the years.
Who are the accusers?
Alleged victims of sexual abuse in the United States are not automatically entitled to lifelong anonymity as in the United Kingdom. However, trial judge Maxwell ruled that the four alleged victims will be able to use a pseudonym or just their first name. Judge Alison Nathan said it would avoid press intrusion and personal embarrassment.
• Alleged victim 1 – (1994-1997) – New York and Palm Beach, Florida
The first was around 14 when, according to prosecutors, she first met Maxwell. The accused is accused of having treated the young woman by taking her shopping and to the movies, of normalizing the abuse by undressing in front of her and of being present and involved in some of Epstein’s abuses.
• Alleged Victim 2 – (1996) – New Mexico
The second was under 18 when she was airlifted to Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico at his invitation, prosecutors said. They claim that Maxwell knew the woman was under 18 and treated her with shopping and movie trips, and chatting about her classes.
• Alleged victim 3 – (1994-1995) – London
Maxwell is accused of befriending the third alleged underage victim in London and treating her by asking questions about her life and family. Prosecutors say Maxwell introduced the woman to Epstein and encouraged her to give him massages, knowing it would result in sexual abuse.
The location of the alleged abuse is not in the United States, but under US law crimes committed outside the country can be charged if the victim (s) are US citizens. Therefore, it is presumed that the third alleged victim is a US citizen.
• Alleged victim 4 – (2001-2004) – Palm Beach, Florida
The fourth alleged victim lived in Florida and prosecutors say she was around 14 when she was recruited to give Epstein sexualized massages for money at his Palm Beach mansion. Maxwell is accused of treating her by asking questions about her family and normalizing the abuse by discussing sexual matters and being present when the alleged victim was naked in Epstein’s massage room.
The Epstein-Maxwell relationship
In a 24-page indictment released earlier this year, the US government claims that Maxwell was in an “intimate relationship” with Epstein between 1994 and 1997, and that for a longer period (1994-2004) he l paid to manage her properties.