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‘Lady of the house’ Ghislaine Maxwell told staff never to meet Jeffrey Epstein’s eyes, says former housekeeper

A former governess to Jeffrey Epstein said Ghislaine Maxwell told her never to look the disgraced financier in the eye.

Juan Patricio Alessi, who worked at Epstein’s house in Palm Beach, Florida, told a New York jury on Thursday that Ms Maxwell was the “lady of the house” and gave her “a lot of instructions.”

He said Ms Maxwell, 59, told him to “only speak to Mr Epstein when he asks questions” and demanded “a lot of preparation” every time Epstein visited.

Mr Alessi’s testimony came on the fourth day of Ms Maxwell’s New York sex trafficking trial, after a woman known only as “Jane” told the court that Ms Maxwell was in the room when Epstein assaulted her.

Prosecutors accuse the British socialite, who was Epstein’s girlfriend for years, of preying on vulnerable young girls and luring them to massage rooms to be molested by him between 1994 and 2004. Ms. Maxwell maintains her innocence of all charges.

Epstein himself was found dead in his cell at a Manhattan federal prison in August 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking. The death was ruled a suicide.

In court on Thursday, Mr Alessi corroborated part of Jane’s testimony, saying he picked her up and drove her for Epstein and she appeared to be around 14 or 15 at the time.

He said Epstein received up to three massages a day – in the morning, afternoon and after dinner. Jane had previously said that many of Epstein’s massages were pretexts for sexual assault.

He also recalled the day he met Virginia Giuffre, then called Virginia Roberts, who accused Prince Andrew of assaulting her after meeting her via Epstein and Ms Maxwell. Mr Alessi said she looked “young”. The Duke vigorously denies the allegations and fights them in court

Asked about Ms Maxwell’s role in the Palm Beach home, Mr Alessi said, “I understood she was the hostess. She told me that she was going to be the hostess …

“At the end of my stay, I was told [by Ms Maxwell] Jeffrey doesn’t like to look him in the eye, so don’t look him in the eye. Just look at another part of the room and respond to it.

Regarding preparations for Epstein’s arrival, he said: “It was extensive preparations. It was very elaborate.

“From cleaning the house, changing the sheets in your room, changing the sheets in guest rooms, shopping, taking care of the cars, making sure the cars were clean, making sure there were 100 dollar bills in the house had to be spotless, like a five star hotel.

At one point, he said, he was handed a 58-page booklet with a long list of tasks to maintain the house, part of a workload he described as “very degrading” . He said he told Ms Maxwell he couldn’t complete all the tasks with his other jobs, claiming it was enough work for 10 men.

The instructions, which Mr. Alessi read aloud to the court, included “see nothing.” Say nothing “,” do not discuss your personal problems with the guests “and” respect their privacy “. A bullet said to “Never disclose” any of the couple’s “places or activities”.

“I was supposed to be blind, deaf … to say nothing,” Mr Alessi said.

He added that he was also asked to check the perimeter fence for holes through which Max, Ms Maxwell’s Yorkshire Terrier, could escape.

The trial continues.

The Independent Gt

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