NEW YORK (AP)
One of four women named as the key accusers in indictment against Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite, testified Tuesday that Maxwell was frequently present when witness, who was then only 14, had sexual interactions.
With their second witness, an older woman in her 40s who was presented to jurors by the prosecution as a possible witness to Maxwell’s sex trafficking case, prosecutors went right to Maxwell’s heart. “Jane,”A pseudonym that she claimed she likes in order to preserve her 22-year-long acting career.
Maxwell met Maxwell during sexual encounters, which started in 1994 and continued into 1997. “was very casual,”A New York City jury heard her story. “Like it was no big deal.”
While the witness spoke in a calm but firm voice, she also got choked up two times and used a tissue to smear her nose as she described their sexual encounters. Maxwell told her how Epstein would give sexual massages to her, and she sometimes participated in the physical therapy.
Maxwell also avoided her gaze, save for when she asked her to identify herself. Maxwell maintained a steady gaze in the witness’s direction, occasionally writing notes that she passed to lawyers. Maxwell was occasionally looked at by jurors as they leaned forward to hear Maxwell.
The witness’ testimony was offered by prosecutors to support their claims that Maxwell recruited and groomed girls for Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to at least 2004.
According to her, the witness met Maxwell and Epstein for the first time in 1994 while she was at music camp. Maxwell approached her with his Yorkshire Terrier while she was enjoying ice cream together with some friends. She spoke to Epstein after her friends had left and introduced herself as a potential donor. It was in Palm Beach (Florida) that the two of them met, and she told him.
The woman and her mother soon received an invitation to Epstein’s home and although her mother was not included in subsequent invites, she remained “very impressed and enamored with the wealth, the affluence,”She believed Maxwell & Epstein must have thought her daughter was unique, as the woman testified.
Soon, Epstein and Maxwell were taking her shopping for clothes, including underwear from Victoria’s Secret, and asking about her life after her father’s sudden death in a way that didn’t happen at home, where soul-searching conversations never occurred, she said.
Epstein took Epstein’s hand and told her, “The cycle of abuse began when Epstein suddenly grabbed her.” “Follow me,”Before taking her into the swimming pool. After that, he took off his pants and pulled her in close. “proceeded to masturbate,”She said.
“I was frozen in fear,”She said. “I’d never see a penis before. … I was terrified and felt gross and felt ashamed.”
Maxwell and she were also taken to the massage area, where she claimed they took advantage of her.
“There were hands everywhere and Jeffrey proceeded to masturbate again,”She said.
Some encounters were sexy toys, or oral sex. “orgies”With Maxwell and with other young ladies, she continued.
On cross-examination, defense lawyer Laura Menninger immediately attacked the witness’s credibility, asking why she waited over 20 years to report the alleged abuse by Maxwell to law enforcement and why she brought two personal injury lawyers along to her first meeting with the FBI.
Menninger also asked if it was true she had previously spoken to her siblings and others close to her about Epstein’s behavior but left Maxwell out of the earlier accounts.
“You never mentioned Ghislaine Maxwell?”The lawyer was curious.
“I don’t know,”The witness replied that she didn’t remember being uncomfortable about going into details.
Menninger obtained testimony also from Menninger stating that she received $5 million from Epstein victims compensation funds and $2.9 million after attorney fees and expenses.
It was anticipated that the cross-examination would continue Wednesday.
Maxwell has pleaded guilty. One of her lawyers said in an opening statement Monday that she’s being made a scapegoat for Epstein, who killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell at age 66 in 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.
Earlier Tuesday, a former pilot for Epstein testified that he never saw evidence of sexual activity on planes as he flew his boss and others — including a prince and ex-presidents — for nearly three decades.
Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr., the trial’s first witness, acknowledged that he never encountered sexual activity aboard two jets he piloted for roughly 1,000 trips between 1991 and 2019.
Although he was a government witness, Visoski’s testimony seemed to aid the defense of Maxwell as he told Maxwell attorney Christian Everdell that he never saw sexual activity when he left the cockpit for coffee or a bathroom break and never found sex toys or used condoms when he cleaned up.
When asked about his experience with sex acts with minor females, he replied: “Absolutely not.”
Visoski also acknowledged that ex-President Bill Clinton was a passenger on a few flights in the 2000s and he had piloted planes with Britain’s Prince Andrew, the late U.S. Sen. John Glenn of Ohio — the first American to orbit Earth — and former President Donald Trump aboard.
Epstein’s plane was derisively nicknamed “The Lolita Express”After he was accused of using it to fly his teenage daughters to his New Mexico ranch, on his private island, and to his New York City residence, some media outlets criticized him.
Maxwell, now 59 years old, was a long-time traveler who made connections with wealthy people for decades before being arrested on July 20, 2020.
Asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey where Maxwell stood in the hierarchy of Epstein’s world, Visoski said Maxwell “was the Number 2.”He said, “He added…” “Epstein was the big Number 1.”
The testimony supported Lara Pomerantz’s opening Monday statement to jurors: Epstein, Maxwell were “partners in crime.”
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