Ghislaine Maxwell: Key moments in the trial so far

Image source, US Attorney’s Office SDNY

Prosecutors at Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial called her Jeffrey Epstein’s “partner in crime” as they wrapped up two weeks of testimony in federal court in New York.

The British socialite, 59, is accused of grooming teenage girls for abuse by the late Epstein. She’s pleaded not guilty to all the charges, which cover a period from 1994 to 2004.

The first fortnight of the trial heard emotional testimony from some of the alleged victims of Epstein and Ms Maxwell. But there were also claims that Ms Maxwell was being targeted because Epstein, whose 2019 death in jail was ruled to be a suicide, could no longer face trial himself.

Ms Maxwell, who has British, American and French citizenship, has been in a US jail since her arrest last year. She faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.

Here are the key moments in her trial so far.

Maxwell ‘preyed on vulnerable young girls’

In her opening statement, prosecutor Lara Pomerantz called Ms Maxwell a predator who recruited and groomed underage girls for her long-term companion Epstein to abuse.

“She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused,” the prosecutor said.

But the defence said Ms Maxwell was being scapegoated because Epstein was no longer alive.

“The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are for things that Jeffrey Epstein did, but she is not Jeffrey Epstein,” her lawyer Bobbi Sternheim argued.

Epstein’s pilot flew a prince and presidents

Mr Visoski recalled flying Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. None of them are accused of criminal wrongdoing.

Asked to describe Ms Maxwell’s standing in Epstein’s operations, Mr Visoski described her as “the number two”.

“Epstein was the big number one,” he told the court.

Meanwhile, another pilot, David Rodgers, testified that at least two Epstein accusers had flown with him.

Defence accuse key accuser of acting scene

The first of four Maxwell accusers to give evidence at the trial cried as she described being sexually abused by Epstein when she was 14.

The woman, using the pseudonym Jane, said Ms Maxwell showed her how Epstein liked to be massaged, and sometimes took part in their sexual encounters.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,

“Jane” cried when describing how difficult she found it to tell her story

“Ghislaine was very casual, acting like it wasn’t a big deal,” Jane said.

But Ms Maxwell’s defence sought to find inconsistencies in Jane’s testimony. Defence lawyer Laura Menninger pointed out that Jane now worked as an actress.

“You are an actor who convincingly portrays someone else for a living,” the lawyer stated. “You are able to cry on command.”

Employee ‘told not to look Epstein in the eye’

Epstein’s former housekeeper Juan Alessi recalled how Ms Maxwell had tightly controlled every detail in the financier’s Florida mansion.

Ms Maxwell was the “lady of the house”, ordering staff to speak only when spoken to and to avoid eye contact with Epstein, according to Mr Alessi, who said his job included cleaning their sex toys.

He said staff were given a 58-page instruction manual, warning them to keep Epstein’s and Ms Maxwell’s activities or whereabouts secret.

“I was supposed to be blind, deaf and dumb,” Mr Alessi told the court.

Ms Maxwell’s legal team sought to undermine the credibility of Mr Alessi during cross-examination, by challenging his recollection of meeting 14-year-old Jane in 1994.

Jurors shown Epstein’s massage table

The jury was shown a green massage table seized from Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion during a 2005 police raid.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,

Prosecutors showed jurors a massage table seized at Jeffrey Epstein’s home during a 2005 raid

Prosecutors have alleged that Epstein used massages as a “ruse” before escalating his encounters with young girls.

Michael Dawson, a detective who took part in the 2005 search, recalled how officers found a variety of sexualised images at Epstein’s home. Prosecutors also displayed a photo of a box labelled “Twin Torpedos”, which Det Dawson said contained sex toys and was taken from an upstairs cupboard.

Never-before-seen photos link Maxwell to Epstein

Prosecutors released a collection of digital photos and files to demonstrate how close Epstein and Ms Maxwell were.

Taken from an FBI raid on Epstein’s New York home in 2019, the evidence includes several pictures of the two together, sometimes embracing or being intimate with each other.

Image source, US Attorney’s Office SDNY
Image caption,

A photo of Ms Maxwell rubbing Epstein’s feet aboard his private plane was shown to jurors

In one photo, the pair is seen relaxing at Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s private Scottish residence.

Photos of Ms Maxwell were also shown mounted in parts of Epstein’s Florida home. Another photo that shows her “nude and pregnant” allegedly hangs in the house, according to one of her accusers.

The collection also included a “help wanted” flyer for massage therapists in the area.

Accuser testifies about ‘hundreds’ of Epstein encounters

Carolyn, another accuser to take the stand, said Ms Maxwell had set her up for massages with Epstein “hundreds of times” when she was between the ages of 14 and 18.

“Something sexual happened every single time,” she told the court.

She alleged Ms Maxwell told her she had “a great body for Mr Epstein and his friends” and would pay her after each visit, giving extra when she brought other girls with her.

Her ex-boyfriend at the time corroborated the testimony, saying he had often driven Carolyn and others to Epstein’s house and waited for them to come out “a little over an hour later” with money in hand.

Maxwell ‘dressed accuser as schoolgirl for Epstein’

A British woman using the pseudonym Kate cried on the stand as she described sexual encounters with Epstein when she was 14.

Kate said Ms Maxwell sometimes took part and acted “like it wasn’t a big deal”, often calling her a “good girl” and asking if she was having fun.

On one occasion, Ms Maxwell allegedly laid out a schoolgirl outfit on her bed and said: “I thought it would be fun for you to take Jeffrey his tea in this outfit.”

She said she wore the outfit and Epstein had sex with her.

Ms Maxwell also asked if she knew any “cute, young, pretty girls” who could perform sex acts on Epstein “because it was a lot for her to do”.

Maxwell ‘groped 16-year-old in topless massage’

Annie Farmer, the last accuser to take the stand, pointed at the defendant and alleged she had given her a topless massage at age 16.

On a visit to Epstein’s New Mexico ranch, Ms Farmer testified that Ms Maxwell “pulled the sheet down and exposed my breasts and started rubbing on my chest and on my upper breasts”.

“I was surprised,” she said in court. “I wanted so badly to get off of the table.”

Ms Farmer said she had a “sense” that Epstein – who she says groped her on three occasions – was nearby watching.

Media caption,

Epstein accuser: Ghislaine Maxwell is a ‘master manipulator’

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