Ghislaine Maxwell trial – live: Accuser tells of graphic abuse, says Epstein boasted of Clinton and Trump ties

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Ghislaine Maxwell trial – live: Accuser tells of graphic abuse, says Epstein boasted of Clinton and Trump ties
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Day two of the trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has concluded in New York City, as the 59-year-old faces charges related to her alleged involvement in financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex crimes.

Her first accuser, identified only as “Jane”, took the stand on Tuesday afternoon and testified that Ms Maxwell was in the room when Epstein sexually assaulted her when she was 14 years old.

In at times graphic testimony, she described how she met the couple and was invited into their world, only to be subjected to sexual abuse over a period of years, ruining her self-worth. Cross-examination of “Jane” will continue on Wednesday.

Epstein’s longtime pilot Larry Visoski was cross-examined by the defence team on Tuesday morning about specific flights and passengers, following questioning by the prosecution regarding his work and access to Epstein’s properties.

He testified that passengers on Epstein’s plane included Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Itzhak Perlman, Donald Trump, Chris Tucker, John Glenn, Kevin Spacey, and George Mitchell. Mr Visoski also said he never saw either Ms Maxwell or Epstein being inappropriate with a minor in 30 years.

In opening statements, prosecutor Lara Pomerantz told jurors at the Manhattan federal court that in the 1990s, Ms Maxwell would procure girls for Epstein via the “ruse” of a massage. In response, her defence said that Ms Maxwell was being made a scapegoat because Epstein’s death led her accusers unable to seek justice.

Ms Maxwell, who spent decades rubbing shoulders with British royals and US presidents, is accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls for the late disgraced financier to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.

The daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, Ms Maxwell faces the prospect of up to 35 years of jail if she is found guilty. The trial is expected to last six weeks.

Read More

Ghislaine Maxwell trial: Everything we know about Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and associate

Ghislaine Maxwell: Pilot says Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Trump flew on Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’

Ghislaine Maxwell: How did she meet Jeffrey Epstein?

What was Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’?

Key Points

  • What are the charges in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex abuse trial?

  • Trump, Clinton, Prince Andrew named as passengers on Epstein’s plane

  • Private pilot details disgraced financier’s opulent residences

  • How Ghislaine Maxwell got involved with Jeffrey Epstein?

  • Accuser says Maxwell was present during some of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual assaults

  • What is the truth about Jeffrey Epstein’s island?

What are the charges in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex abuse trial?

03:00 , Justin Vallejo

The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of recruiting and grooming girls for deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein to abuse, got underway on Monday in New York federal court.

Here is an explanation of the charges Maxwell faces and her expected defence:

The Mann Act charges

Prosecutors say Ms Maxwell between 1994 and 1997 persuaded an underaged girl to travel from Florida to New York with the intention of having her engage in sexual activity with Epstein. In 1996, prosecutors say Ms Maxwell gave an unsolicited massage to another minor girl who flew to Epstein’s New Mexico ranch from out-of-state while the girl was topless.

Ms Maxwell is charged with two counts of violating the Mann Act, which bars transporting individuals across state lines for illegal sexual activity.

She also two faces charges of conspiring to violate those two sections of the Mann Act.

The sex trafficking charges

Prosecutors also say that Ms Maxwell, beginning in 2001, recruited one of the four alleged victims to engage in sex acts with Epstein and provided her with hundreds of dollars in cash after massaging Epstein, knowing she was a minor. Ms Maxwell sent gifts including lingerie from a New York address to the girl’s home in Florida, according to a 2021 indictment.

Those allegations form the basis of charges of one charge of sex trafficking of a minor and one charge of sex trafficking conspiracy. Federal law bars recruiting or transporting anyone under 18 to participate in a “commercial sex act.” The trafficking charge does not require the child to be transported across state lines.

Maxwell’s defence

Ms Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. Her lawyers have argued that prosecutors are treating her as a scapegoat for Epstein, who died by suicide in 2019 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

Her attorneys say that the alleged sex trafficking victim did not mention Ms Maxwell while cooperating with a 2007 investigation by Florida federal prosecutors into Epstein. They have argued that all four women named in the indictment have financial incentives to lie or exaggerate about Ms Maxwell’s involvement in the alleged abuse.

The perjury charges

Ms Maxwell faces two charges of perjury that will be tried at a later date.

Prosecutors have accused Ms Maxwell of lying under oath in 2016 during a deposition for a civil lawsuit brought against her by Virginia Giuffre, who says she was abused by Epstein while a minor. Ms Giuffre alleged Ms Maxwell had defamed her by saying Ms Giuffre lied about the abuse.

In the 2016 deposition, Ms Maxwell said she did not recall the presence of sex toys in Epstein’s Palm Beach house and replied “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when asked if Epstein had a scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages.

Prosecutors characterised these statements as “false material declarations” in violation of a federal statute making it a crime to lie under oath. Her lawyers said in a February 2021 court filing that the questions posed were ambiguous and that Ms Maxwell gave truthful responses.

- Reuters

What was Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’?

02:00 , Justin Vallejo

The first witness to take the stand was Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr, Epstein’s chief pilot for more than 25 years, who said he had flown the disgraced financier “every four days” or so since his hiring in 1991, writes The Independent’s Joe Sommerlad.

“One of the pilot’s duties was to fly the Boeing 727 that became known among the press as the “Lolita Express” for its role in ferrying young women between New York and Epstein’s primary residence in Palm Beach, Florida, where many of his alleged acts of sexual abuse are said to have taken place. The nickname for the plane is an allusion to Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov’s notorious book Lolita (1955), about a literary professor who becomes sexually obsessed with his 12-year-old stepdaughter.”

What was Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’?

Prosecution’s key witness ‘Jane’ describes years of abuse

00:55 , Justin Vallejo

Jeffrey Epstein engaged in sadomasochistic sexual abuse with a 14-year-old girl who had been left grief-stricken and living in poverty after the death of her father, and Ghislaine Maxwell was often “in the room” when it took place, a jury heard on Tuesday, writes The Independent’s Bevan Hurley.

“Throughout the harrowing testimony, Ms Maxwell was seemingly unmoved, occasionally scribbling notes and passing them to her attorneys. On several occasions both sets of lawyers were called into Judge Nathan’s chambers after repeated objections to a line of questioning by the prosecutor Alison Moe. Jane and Ms Maxwell would be left in the courtroom, and seemed to avoid eye contact.”

Prosecution’s key witness describes sadomasochistic abuse from Epstein and socialite

Prosecution’s key witness ‘Jane’ describes years of abuse

00:55 , Justin Vallejo

Jeffrey Epstein engaged in sadomasochistic sexual abuse with a 14-year-old girl who had been left grief-stricken and living in poverty after the death of her father, and Ghislaine Maxwell was often “in the room” when it took place, a jury heard on Tuesday, writes The Independent’s Bevan Hurley.

“Throughout the harrowing testimony, Ms Maxwell was seemingly unmoved, occasionally scribbling notes and passing them to her attorneys. On several occasions both sets of lawyers were called into Judge Nathan’s chambers after repeated objections to a line of questioning by the prosecutor Alison Moe. Jane and Ms Maxwell would be left in the courtroom, and seemed to avoid eye contact.”

Bill Clinton had ‘special catering’ on Lolita Express, says Epstein pilot

00:10 , Justin Vallejo

Former president Bill Clinton received the VIP treatment aboard the so-called “Lolita Express”, according to Jeffrey Epstein’s private pilot.

Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr testified at the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell that he would be notified in advance if special guests like Clinton would be flying on Epstein’s jet.

Defence attorney Christian Everdell asked Mr Visoski if “special catering” was arranged in the case of Clinton, who was photographed aboard the aircraft.

“Sure,” Mr Visoski replied, according to The Washington Examiner.

Who are the alleged victims of Ghislaine Maxwell?

23:30 , Justin Vallejo

The prosecution put its first alleged victim on the stand, a girl they identify only as “Jane” and who was described as 14 at the time of meeting Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein.

At least four alleged victims are set to testify at the trial, identified only as Minor Victim 1, Minor Victim 2, Minor Victim 3 and Minor Victim 4.

Here’s what we know from court documents about the alleged victims:

Minor Victim 1 was about 14 when she was abused by Epstein at his homes in New York and Florida. Maxwell is alleged to have involved the girl in “sexualized massages” on Epstein.

Minor Victim 2was allegedly abused at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch in 1996. Maxwell is alleged to have given an unsolicited topless massage to the girl, and encouraged her to massage Epstein.

Minor Victim 3 was 17, and over the age of consent, when she was allegedly introduced to Epstein in London. Maxwell is alleged to have encouraged her to perform sexualized massages on Epstein in 1994 and 1995.

Minor Victim 4 was 14 when she was allegedly recruited to give Epstein sexualized massages at his Palm Beach mansion between 2001 and 2004. She is also alleged to have recruited younger women for Epstein at Maxwell’s request.

Courtroom sketches from the day

23:00 , Justin Vallejo

“Jane”, an unidentified victim, is questioned about her experiences with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (AP)
“Jane”, an unidentified victim, is questioned about her experiences with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (AP)
US attorney Maurene Comey conducts a direct examination of former Jeffrey Epstein pilot Lawrence Visoski. Photos of former Epstein assistant Sarah Kellen are displayed on monitors, one also showing Epstein. (AP)
US attorney Maurene Comey conducts a direct examination of former Jeffrey Epstein pilot Lawrence Visoski. Photos of former Epstein assistant Sarah Kellen are displayed on monitors, one also showing Epstein. (AP)

Accuser says Maxwell was present during some of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual assaults

22:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Ghislaine Maxwell was in the room when Jeffrey Epstein sexually assaulted one of his 14-year-old victims, a court has heard.

In testimony before a New York jury, a woman known publicly only as “Jane” identified Ms Maxwell in the dock and said she had been present during some of Epstein’s assaults.

Io Dodds reports.

Ghislaine Maxwell was present during some of Epstein’s sexual assaults, accuser says

Court adjourns for the evening

22:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Cross-examination of “Jane” will continue on Wednesday.

Just prior to Judge Nathan calling for the 5pm close of the day’s proceedings, Ms Menninger has shown a document showing that “Jane” did not apply for financial aid or a scholarship prior to meeting Epstein — despite her testimony about her family’s financial problems.

Defence will pursue this line of questioning tomorrow.

Defence attempts to undercut testimony starting at very beginning

21:59 , Oliver O'Connell

The defence is asking about where “Jane” lived when she went to school in an apparent attempt to undercut her testimony at its starting point — her family’s financial circumstances when she met Epstein and Ms Maxwell.

Ms Menninger has also produced the application for the Interlochen music camp in Michigan, which “Jane” recognises.

21:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Menninger is pursuing a line of questioning that appears to be about when “Jane” told one of her older siblings about Epstein in the 20 years since she stopped seeing him. Asked if she mentioned Ghislaine Maxwell at the time, “Jane” responds that she does not know.

There have been four objections from the prosecution team so far and one sidebar with Judge Nathan.

Epstein’s pilot reveals life on the ‘Lolita Express'

21:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Larry Visoski saw many things from the cockpit of the Lolita Express.

For nearly 30 years, the personal pilot of Jeffrey Epstein flew the global elite to the convicted paedophile’s palatial mansions and estates from New York to Paris to a tiny island in the Caribbean.

Bevan Hurley and Justin Vallejo report for The Independent on the first witness in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial.

Epstein’s pilot details disgraced financier’s opulent residences

Defence cross-examination begins

21:28 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Maxwell’s attorney Laura Menninger begins her cross-examination of “Jane” by noting that she waited 20 years to file a complaint. Then adding that Epstein was dead by then.

The witness replies “correct” to both points.

‘Victim shaming is still very present'

21:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Asked why she chose to testify anonymously, “Jane” replied that she works in Hollywood and that “victim shaming is still very present until this day.”

Ms Comey completed her questioning.

‘Jane’ received money from victims’ fund

21:23 , Oliver O'Connell

“Jane” says that she was interviewed by the FBI in 2019, the year that Epstein died. She sued Ghislaine Maxwell in 2020.

She was awarded $5m by the Epstein Victims’ Fund and received approximately $2.9m of that.

Ms Comey asked if the verdict in this trial would affect her settlement, a question that triggered an objection from the defence and a sidebar with Judge Nathan.

“Jane” was allowed to answer that the trial verdict would not impact the money she received.

‘It ruined my self-esteem, my self-worth'

21:13 , Oliver O'Connell

Asked about the long-term impacts of her time with Ms Maxwell and Epstein, “Jane” said that it “ruined my self-esteem, my self-worth”.

Earlier she admitted that the attention she initially received from the couple made her feel special as she had little support or attention at home.

Now an actress in LA she said she struggled to navigate healthy relationships before falling in love with someone and cutting ties with Epstein in 2002.

‘Jane’ testifies she felt ‘hopeless’ and considered self-harm

20:52 , Oliver O'Connell

“Jane” tells the court that her mother was “enamoured” by the idea that these affluent people were taking an interest in her and that she should be grateful for the attention she was received.

She says that she said nothing about the sexual abuse because she was ashamed and thought it was her fault.

“I was afraid that I would be in trouble if I said something,” she says, adding that she didn’t tell her siblings either.

Describing feeling “hopeless” she answered yes when asked by Ms Comey if she considered self-harm.

Having spoken of her sadness with a school guidance counsellor, “Jane” says her mother slapped her, telling her that she shouldn’t tell anyone about her feelings or what was happening at home.

20:12 , Oliver O'Connell

Ten-minute recess called by Judge Nathan

‘Jane’ says abuse also occurred at New York house and New Mexico ranch

20:04 , Oliver O'Connell

Between the ages of 14 and 16, “Jane” travelled with Epstein and Ms Maxwell approximately 10 times to New York and New Mexico.

Abuse would also happen at the New York house, where she says she felt watched.

If she was in Epstein’s bedroom they were typically alone, but if it was in the massage room there were other people present including Ms Maxwell, she says.

In New Mexico, they stayed at the ranch house and she was escorted from her room by someone to go and see Epstein.

Getting audibly emotional, “Jane” says: “I felt my heart sinking into my stomach.”

Asked why, her voice cracked as she replies: “Because I didn’t want to see him.”

‘Jane’ says sexual assault would occur every time she visited Epstein

19:51 , Oliver O'Connell

Describing Ms Maxwell’s demeanour as casual about the incidents, “Jane” said she was confused and had no idea what was going on. being only 14.

Asked by Ms Comey if Epstein had touched her, she replied affirmatively and said he would touch her breasts and vagina.

Asked if she touched his body, she said “yes, everywhere”, also detailing that he liked to be massaged “hard”.

Apologising for the question, Ms Comey asked “Jane” if Epstein used sex toys.

“He liked to use vibrators, which were of different sizes. He liked to use the back massagers, which were really painful,” she said.

“He would put it on my vagina, even if I said that it hurt.”

Questioned as to how often this would happen, she said it occurred every time she visited his house and at other properties.

He would tell her to follow him and he would lead her either to his bedroom or his massage room.

Asked how many times Ms Maxwell was there, she says she could not give a precise number.

‘Jane’ describes first sexual contact with Epstein

19:38 , Oliver O'Connell

“Jane” says she was 14 years old when she was first sexually assaulted by Epstein.

Asked what happened, she recalls that he took her into the pool house and pulled down his sweatpants. She says that he pulled her on top of him and “proceeded to masturbate on me” before leaving.

She adds that she was “frozen in fear” and had never seen a penis before.

Describing another incident she says that Ms Maxwell was also present and the couple kissed and fondled each other in front of her.

Couple boasted about social circle

19:33 , Oliver O'Connell

Giving examples of whom Epstein and Ms Maxwell said was in their social circle, “Jane” names Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Mike Wallace.

She also described the house as full of art and sculptures and pictures of famous people. Some of the art she found odd — creepy animals and naked women.

‘Jane’ was invited to Epstein’s pool where Maxwell and others were naked

19:29 , Oliver O'Connell

“Jane” was invited to Epstein’s house and recalls at least four women and Ms Maxwell being topless or naked by the pool.

She later adds that Epstein paid for voice lessons for her, as well as clothes, and things for school.

Jane said Ms Maxwell gave her some advice: “Once you’ve f****d them, you can always f*** them again because they’ve been grandfathered in.”

She laughed at the time because she didn’t know what it meant.

‘Jane’ describes meeting Maxwell and Epstein

19:19 , Oliver O'Connell

“Jane” tells the court about her father’s death from leukemia and the family’s subsequent financial difficulties, before talking about studying at the Interlochen music academy in Michigan.

It was there she met Epstein and Ms Maxwell describing them as “friendly”, “inquisitive”, and seeming like a married couple.

She said they asked for her mother’s phone number and told her they were big benefactors.

Comey asks ‘Jane' about her sexual encounter with Epstein

19:06 , Oliver O'Connell

AUSA Comey asked “Jane” to first identify her birth certificate, and then how old she was when she first had sexual contact with Jeffrey Epstein.

She replies that she was 14 and when questioned further adds that Ghislaine Maxwell was in the room.

“Jane” then identifies the defendant Ms Maxwell in the courtroom.

‘Jane’ takes the stand

19:03 , Oliver O'Connell

“Minor victim 1” in the indictment against Ms Maxwell is now taking the stand. She is known by the pseudonym “Jane”.

The court sketch artist is ordered not to depict her.

Visoski says he never saw accused or Epstein being inappropriate with minors

19:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Visoski is still on the stand being cross-examined by defence lawyer Mr Everdell.

The questioning now focuses on Mr Visoski’s impression of Ms Maxwell.

He said that she seemed like a nice person and he let his two daughters go riding with her.

According to reporting from in the court, Mr Everdell asked if Mr Visoski had seen anything in 30 years that indicated that Epstein or Maxwell were abusers. He replied that he did not.

I a redirect by the prosecution, Assistant US Attorney Maurene Comey asked if he had ever his 14-year-old daughter massage Mr Epstein. He responded that he did not.

Epstein’s private pilot details disgraced financier’s opulent residences

18:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Larry Visoski took us inside Jeffrey Epstein’s private world on day two of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial. Bevan Hurley report for The Independent from the courthouse in Lower Manhattan.

Mr Visoski’s cross-examination by the defence team begins again shortly.

Epstein’s pilot details disgraced financier’s opulent residences

Maxwell-Epstein personal relationship fizzled out in 2000s

17:48 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Visoski is asked to recall the relationship between Ms Maxwell and Epstein, saying that whatever personal relationship fizzled out in the 2000s, with Ms Maxwell later dating Ted Waitt the CEO of Gateway Computers.

Judge Nathan then confirmed a break in proceedings.

Visoski questioned about Epstein’s apparent generosity

17:42 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Everdell asked Mr Visoski about how Epstein had helped him with accommodation and other expenses.

Among the ways in which the billionaire had helped or rewarded the pilot. were putting him up in an apartment on East 66th St, at which personal assistant Sarah Kellen also stayed in addition to one of the unnamed accusers.

He also reportedly gave him 40 acres of land in New Mexico on which to build a house and paid for his two daughters to go to college.

Defence asks if Maxwell accusers were among passengers

17:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Amongst the string of celebrity passengers on Epstein’s plane named by Mr Visoski, Mr Everdell also asked about Ms Maxwell’s accusers, identified either by name or by pseudonyms.

Annie Farmer, “Jane”, and “Kate” were all mentioned.

Mr Visoski recalled Jane, but did not appear to recall the others.

Visoski lists roster of notable passengers, including Donald Trump

17:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Visoski testified that passengers on Epstein’s plane included Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Donald Trump, Itzhak Perlman, Chris Tucker, John Glenn, Kevin Spacey, and George Mitchell.

Visoski confirms Prince Andrew as passenger

17:09 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Maxwell’s lawyer asks Mr Visoski whether Prince Andrew flew on Epstein’s plane — he says that he did.

The Duke of York is confirmed as one of the many prominent people to have been flown by Epstein during today’s testimony, joining Bill Clinton and Itzhak Perlman.

What are the charges in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex abuse trial?

17:04 , Oliver O'Connell

The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of recruiting and grooming girls for deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein to abuse, got underway on Monday in New York federal court.

Here is an explanation of the charges Ms Maxwell faces and her expected defence as the trial proceeds.

What are the charges in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex abuse trial?

‘I never saw sexual activity” says pilot

16:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Everdell asks Mr Visoski about flights to Michigan to the Interlochen School of Music where a summer camp was held. Mr Visoski says he was unaware that Epstein attended the camp as a child.

On one flight renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman was a passenger, on another he flew Epstein to Columbus Ohio to see billionaire businessman Les Wexner.

Asked about what he saw on the flights, he said: “I never saw any sexual activity, no,” but added he could not see everything.

Visosik confirms Bill Clinton flew on plane

16:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Everdell asks about whether former President Bill Clinton flew on Epstein’s aircraft, to which Mr Visoski replied yes, adding that he was asked to clean up.

The defence lawyer asked whether there were passengers whose names were not given to him to which he also replied affirmatively.

Defence asks if Epstein let him in cabin of aircraft

16:28 , Oliver O'Connell

After a short recess, Mr Everdell resumes questioning Mr Visoski returning to whether he walked through the Gulf Stream cabin to use the restroom.

Mr Visoski confirms he did and Mr Everdell asks whether if Epstein were engaging in sex acts with underage girls he probably would have told him not to leave the cockpit.

This statement led to an objection from the prosecution that was overruled by Judge Nathan, and Mr Visoski responded affirmatively.

Rep Lauren Boebert trolled for dismissing Maxwell trial

16:10 , Oliver O'Connell

ICYMI: US Rep Lauren Boebert was ridiculed on Monday online after she dismissed the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell as “misguided outrage”, and was bombarded with images of Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump.

Ms Boebert was accused by Twitter users of ignoring the fact that Mr Epstein, Ms Maxwell and the former US president were pictured together in the 80s and 90s.

And although Mr Trump has admitted to falling out with Mr Epstein long before his death in 2019, he has wished Ms Maxwell, the financier’s former associate, “well”.

Donald Valdez, a Democrat in Colorado’s House of Representatives, was among those to accuse the Republican of “Politicising the trial of an alleged child sex trafficker”, and which he said was “sick, indecent, and wrong.”

Lauren Boebert trolled after dismissing Ghislaine Maxwell case

Cross examination begins before court breaks

15:57 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Maxwell’s lawyer Christian Everdell began his cross-examination of Mr Visoski shortly before the court took a mid-morning break, asking if the pilot was allowed to use the restroom on the plane.

Mr Visoski confirmed that he was, and was also allowed to walk through the cabin of the Gulf Stream jet to do so. He joked that he needed to use the restroom now, prompting Judge Nathan to order the break.

Visoski offers more trip details

15:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Visoski said that he flew Epstein to his private island at least every 10 days for 20 years.

He adds that it was not unusual for Ms Maxwell to be in the cockpit and that she also flew his helicopters.

Mr Visoski says that with the passenger logs if he couldn’t get a name of an individual, the captain would make a note of their gender.

At one point Ms Comey asks if he flew Epstein to Traverse City, Michigan. He confirms that he did and he picked up Epstein’s luggage from The Interlochen School of Music.

In order not to reveal the identities of individual witness victims, jurors were asked to look at paper copies of birth certificates identifying those in question.

Ms Comey asked Mr Visoski if he recognised the name of a female singer — whom she calls Jane — and if he recalled her as a passenger on the plane.

He said he did and that she had “piercing powder blue eyes” and was brought to the cockpit by Epstein on a flight departing Palm Beach in the mid to late 1990s.

Who are the key figures in the trial?

15:40 , Gino Spocchia

Ghislaine Maxwell will appear in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday for the second day of her trial on charges of sex trafficking and faciliting the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein, her former partner, associate and a convicted peadepholie.

She will appear in the court along with her defence team, as well as the prosecution, key witnesses, and family. Because of Covid restrictions, only one member of the public is allowed in the room.

The Independent’s Bevan Hurley has the round-up of all the key figures from the trial, here:

Who are the key courtroom figures in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial?

Prosecutors accuse Maxwell of luring-in minors

15:20 , Gino Spocchia

Content warning: There are graphic details in the blog post below:

Ghislaine Maxwell was accused of luring-in minors by the prosecution on Monday as it made an opening argument. She allegeddky asked the victims to erotically massage Jeffrey Epstein, after making promises and gifting cash, lingerie and other items.

Assistant District Attorney Lara Pomerantz said: “She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused”.

Ms Maxwell was also accused of encouraging girls to massage Epstein while they were fully or partially nude. He would sometimes masturbate or touch the girls’ genitals during the massages, prosecutors said.

Ms Pomerantz described Maxwell as “essential” to Epstein’s abuses, and was sometimes “even in the room for the massages herself, and sometimes she touched the girls’ bodies,” as Reuters reported.

“And even when she was not in the room, make no mistake: She knew exactly what Epstein was going to do with those children when she sent them to him inside the massage rooms,” Ms Pomerantz said.

Ms Maxwell has denied the charges, and her legal team argued that she was being scapegoated for the crimes of Epstein, a convicted peadphoie who died in 2019.

Visoski asked about Epstein assistants and properties

15:13 , Oliver O'Connell

Questioned by Assistant US Attorney Maurene Comey, Mr Visoski was asked how many other assistants Epstein had in addition to Ms Maxwell.

He replied that there were many, and also identified Ms Maxwell’s own assistants, specifically naming Sarah Kellen whom he identified from an exhibit.

He was also asked to identify parts of Epstein’s 10,000-acre Zorro Ranch where planes were parked and confirms that he would also go to the main residence to pick up luggage and help install electronics.

Mr Visoski also said that he performed similar tasks on Little St James in the Caribbean and would also fly the helicopter to the island from nearby St Thomas. He adds that you could also readch the island by boat.

Visosko takes the stand

14:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Epstein’s longtime pilot Larry Visoski has taken the stand as the government’s witness.

Direct examination will now continue, picking up from yesterday’s questioning in which Mr Visoski described his work for Epstein and detailed the locations to which he would fly his boss, Ms Maxwell, and others.

Epstein accuser hopes for ‘closure’ after Maxwell’s trial

14:40 , Gino Spocchia

Jennifer Araoz, one of the women who says Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused her when she was a mimor, has said she hopes the trial of his associate Ghislaine Maxwell brings closure.

“It’s not going to justify anything, but it does make me feel good for the other victims, that they’re going to have their day in court to speak their mind and, hopefully, get closure,” Ms Araoz told Gayle King, the co-anchor of CBS Mornings on Monday.

Ms Araoz went on to say that she was not surprised by Ms Maxwell’s defence on Monday, and that she hoped the six-week trial will reveal some of the identities of Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators.

“It was a huge web, a big enterprise, and I want everybody who was involved to face their day in court and have justice,” Ms Araoz said. She is expected to witness the trial in court.

Judge to excuse one juror

14:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Those of you who followed along yesterday might recall there was a problem with a juror whose spouse had surprised them with a vacation from December 24-28, covering two days on which the jury is scheduled to sit.

Judge Alison Nathan has reportedly sees there is no alternative but to excuse the juror and replace them with an alternate.

Ghislaine Maxwell waved to her sister

14:30 , Gino Spocchia

The 59-year-old former socialite, partner and associate of Jeffrey Epstein was seen in court on Monday wearing a Covid face covering, and according to reports, appeared relatively calm.

Ms Maxwell was seen waving to her sister, Isabel Maxwell, who was is in Manhattan’s federal court where she is on trial for six counts, including sex trafficking. She also was seen taking notes and passing them to her lawyers.

As The Independent’s Justin Vallejo writes, only one member of the public was allowed into the courtroom on Monday, because of Covid restrictions in New York.

Ghislaine Maxwell smiles behind mask and waves to sister as trial opens in NYC

Well known attorney condemns defence’s ‘love letter to Jeffrey Epstein’

14:15 , Gino Spocchia

Lisa Bloom, an American attorney known for advising the disgraced Hollywood actor Harvey Weinstein, is at the court in Manhattan for a second day, as Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial begins.

Speaking with Reuters, Ms Bloom praised the prosecution’s opening remarks but appeared skeptical of the defence’s arguments, whom she said “made some inaccurate statements about the [Epstein] victim’s compensation fund” and was “kind of rambling”.

“I think the lowest point for the defence was saying that Jeffrey Epstein was a 21st century James Bond. He was so charming, intelligent and wealthy and a wonderful donor to the arts… completely forgetting that dozens and dozens of victims who have come forward and said that he sexually assaulted them, and so I was really shocked that the defence decided to do this love letter to Jeffrey Epstein”.

The attorney went on to suggest that the defence’s portrayal of Epstein and Ms Maxwell, who has denied aiding his crimes, that “I have to assume that came from Ghislaine Maxwell herself. That she wanted that said. Perhaps she’s still in love with him”.

Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking in 2019, died in his prison cell before trial.

Maxwell in courtroom

14:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Maxwell entered the courtroom just before 8.45am wearing a cream sweater and black slacks, and holding a lime green folder.

The prosecution’s first witness, Epstein’s pilot Larry Visoski Jr will continue to take the stand this morning.

A quieter start to Tuesday’s proceedings

14:00 , Gino Spocchia

The court is beginning to fill ahead of the second day of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, and as The Independent’s Bevan Hurley writes, the scene is a little quieter than yesterday:

It is much quieter outside the Federal court today. About a dozen waiting to get inside as Epstein’s former pilot Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr continues on the witness box. A smattering of TV crews and photographers, no protestors or signs as we saw yesterday.

What can we expect on Tuesday?

13:40 , Gino Spocchia

The Ghislaine Maxwell trial will resume in Manhattan on Tuesday with the prosecution expected to ask questions of Jeffrey Epstein’s former pilot, Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr, who began his testimony on Monday evening.

Mr Visoski told the court that he would fly Epstein, the disgraced former financier, every four days or so with his guests – some of whom he apparently did not know. The pilot continued by describing the relationship between Epstein and his former associate and partner, Ms Maxwell, as “couple ish” and “more personal than business”.

Assistant US Attorney Lara Pomerantz said prosecutors would also present flight logs that included the names of Ms Maxwell and some of the alleged victims, who say they were trafficked to Epstein’s properties to be sexually abused following their recrutiment by Ms Maxwell. She denies such charges.

Epstein’s private planes “were used as commuter jets. Guy friends; past, present, and future girlfriends; and an array of other very interesting people - academics, politicians, scientists,” Ms Sternheim said on Monday. “There were families on the flights and children on the flights.”

As Reuters reports, Ms Maxwell‘s defense will question Mr Visoski afterwards as part of the cross examination.

What are Ghislaine Maxwell’s charges?

13:20 , Gino Spocchia

Ghislaine Maxwell has pleaded not guilty on six sex trafficking charges over a 10 year period between 1994 and 2004. If convicted, she could face a lengthy prison sentence, with a maximum sentence of 40 years imprisonment.

Four accusers are listed in the indictment as Minor Victim-1, Minor Victim-2, Minor Victim-3 and Minor Victim-4.

These are the six charges against Ms Maxwell:

  • Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts

  • Enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts

  • Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity,

  • Transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity

  • Sex trafficking conspiracy

  • Sex trafficking of a minor

She is also charged with two counts of perjury, for allegedly lying under oath in 2016 during depositions for a lawsuit related to Epstein. These will be tried separately.

What exactly was Epstein’s island?

12:50 , Gino Spocchia

Jeffrey Epstein was known to have flown on his private jet between luxurious properties in New York, Palm Beach, New Mexico and Paris.

It also included his infamous island in the Virgin Islands, known as Little St James, or “Little St Jeff” to the former financier, whose former associate Ghislaine Maxwell is on trial for facilitating his crimes.

The island is now at the centre of claims of sexual abuse and the sex trafficking of young women, including against Ms Maxwell, who had pleaded not guilty ahead of her trial.

As The Independent’s Io Dodds writes, Epstein allegedly transported guests from island to island on a 38-foot boat called the Lady Ghislaine. The detail is among many in the following piece...

Where was Jeffrey Epstein’s island and what exactly was it?

Pilot called as first witness, sets the scene

12:20 , Gino Spocchia

A long-time pilot of Jeffrey Epstein was called upon to set the scene, and provide a picture of the relationship between Ghislaine Maxwell and her former associate and partner, Jeffrey Epstein, just before the court adjourned on the first day.

The pilot, Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr, told the court that Ms Maxwell would sometimes notify him about Epstein’s upcoming travel plans, and described the pair’s behaviour as “couple-ish.” He went on by saying that Epstein and his guests would be flown between various luxury residences in locations including New York, Paris and the US Virgin Islands.

“Pretty much every four days we were on the road flying somewhere,” Mr Visoski told the court, as The New York Times reported on Monday.

The pilot added that he did not always know who was flying with Epstein, who was found dead in his prison cell in 2019 following charges of sex trafficking.

Accusers appear in court to witness trial

11:50 , Gino Spocchia

Sarah Ransome, one of the women who has accused the former financier Jeffrey Epstein and his associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, of sexally abusing her in the 90s, arrived at the court in Manhattan on Monday and told reporters: “I never thought this day would come”.

Ms Ransome’s appearance at the court was notable, even though she will not be testifying during the trial. As will another high profile accuser, Victoria Giuffre, not testify.

Ms Ransome told BBC Panorama in 2019 that she attempted to escape from Epstein’s private island, which was surrounded by shark infested waters, and that he would have “full erotic sex” while onboard his private jet. The brazen act was “like making a cup of tea,” Ms Ransome said.

‘I never thought this day would come’ says Ghislaine Maxwell accuser as trial starts

Recap: What did the prosecution say on Monday?

11:30 , Gino Spocchia

Assistant US Attorney Lara Elizabeth Pomerantz accused Ghislaine Maxwell of finding young girls who were “manipulated” and “served up” to Jeffrey Epstein to be sexually abused, on Monday.

She said both Ms Maxwell and Epstein were in on the “pyramid scheme of abuse”, and lured the young girls in by promising them cash and gifts as a reward.

Ms Maxwell denied the charges ahead of trial, and was seen taking notes on Monday. Her attorney meanwhile argued that the 59-year-old was a form of scapegoat for Epstein’s abuse of women.

Maxwell’s attorney compared her to Eve, Epstein to Adam and James Bond

11:10 , Gino Spocchia

Responding to the prosecution on Monday, an attorney for Ghislaine Maxwell told the court that she had not been left to fill a “gaping hole” in the pursuit of justice for the women who accuse Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse, but compared the 59-year-old to Eve, the biblical figure.

Attorney Bobbi Sternheim said women have been blamed, villainized and punished more for the bad behaviour of men ever since “Eve was accused of tempting Adam for the apple,” as Court House News reported on Monday.

“I said before Epstein was a manipulator… but he was also a mysterious man without attachment. He had no wife. He had no children. And he had no boss. Yet he attracted all these rich and powerful people before and after his fall from grace back around 2008,”

“In many regards, he was like a 21st-century James Bond. His mystery has stirred interest.”

Jeffrey Epstein was a ‘21st-century James Bond’, Ghislaine Maxwell defence says

Recap: What happened on Monday?

10:37 , Gino Spocchia

The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell began on Monday with prosecutors alleging that the British socialite was a “partner in crime” to her former associate and partner, Jeffrey Epstein, in a “pyramid scheme” of sexual abuse between 1994 and 2004.

In her opening statement, Assistant US Attorney Lara Elizabeth Pomerantz said Ms Maxwell found and targeted young girls from broken homes for Epstein to sexually abuse under the guise of “massages”, and that Ms Maxwell “was in on it from the start."

In the defence team’s opening statement, attorney Bobbi Sternheim told the court that the death of Epstein left Ms Maxwell to fill a “gaping hole” in the pursuit of justice for the women who accuse him of sexual abuse, in the MeToo era.

Ms Maxwell took notes and conferred with her lawyers throughout the trial’s first day, with the trial restarting on Tuesday. She has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of sex trafficking, The Independent’s Justin Vallejo writes:

Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein ran pyramid scheme of sexual abuse, court hears

Flight records associated with Jeffrey Epstein's private jets accidentally disclosed

07:11 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accidentally disclosed more than 2,000 flight records associated with four private jets of Jeffrey Epstein.

Earlier this year, the FAA reportedly mailed Business Insider 2,300 flight records from four private jets registered by the former billionaire between 1998 and 2020.

While most flight records were in public, at least 704 previously unknown flights, including hundreds of flights made by Epstein’s planes between 2013 and 2016, were previously unaccounted for.

Ms Maxwell was a frequent passenger aboard the disgraced financier’s jets.

Congresswoman slammed for calling Maxwell trial 'leftist panic'

04:47 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert was ridiculed after she dismissed Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial as “misguided outrage”.

She was bombarded with images of Jeffrey Epstein and former president Donald Trump.“Get ready for a higher-than-usual amount of leftist panic and misguided outrage,” Ms Boebert had tweeted prior to the trial.

Responding to her, critics shared a plethora of photographs of Ms Maxwell, Epstein and the former president.

Everything we know about Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and associate

04:00 , Justin Vallejo

The trial for British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell began on Monday for sex trafficking charges in cases connected to the disgraced billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrew.

She has been in prison awaiting the start of the trial for 15 months – since she was tracked down by the FBI and arrested in July 2020.

The daughter of deceased media mogul Robert Maxwell could be sentenced to up to 35 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

The Independent’s Lamiat Sabin looks at everything we know about Epstein’s alleged accomplice.

Everything we know about Ghislaine Maxwell as trial begins

Ghislaine Maxwell's hearing to continue on Tuesday

03:54 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The British socialite will take stand again on Tuesday morning at 9 am for direct examination at the Manhattan federal court.

Four accusers are expected to testify against Maxwell at the trial, which is likely to continue until at least early January.

Prosecutors said other witnesses will include family members of the accusers and former Epstein employees.

What exactly was Epstein’s island?

03:00 , Justin Vallejo

The first witness to testify at the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was the pilot of Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet, which flew to his various properties in Manhattan, Palm Beach, New Mexico and Paris. It also included his infamous island estate in the Virgin Islands.

The Independent’s Io Dodds takes a closer look at what, exactly, the deal is with Epstein’s island estate.

Where was Jeffrey Epstein’s island and what exactly was it?

Ghislaine Maxwell’s brother says US prosecutors seeking to ‘break’ her

02:00 , Justin Vallejo

The brother of a British socialite charged with helping Jeffrey Epstein exploit underage girls says her prosecution is “the most over-hyped trial of the century,” designed to break a woman targeted by authorities desperate to blame someone for the late financier’s crimes.

Ghislaine Maxwell continues to have the backing of her family, and a family member will be in court at all times to show support, Ian Maxwell said in an interview ahead of the trial.

“This is designed to break her; I can’t see any other way to read it. … And she will not be broken because she believes completely in her innocence and she is going to give the best account she can.”

Maxwell says his sister is being blamed by U.S. authorities who are intent on holding someone responsible for Epstein’s crimes.

“The authorities are feeling under pressure … because they lost (Epstein) and they’re feeling under the public’s pressure, and that combination of pressure is keeping Ghislaine inside,” he said. “But it still doesn’t make it right.” - Associated Press

How did Ghislaine Maxwell meet Jeffrey Epstein?

01:00 , Justin Vallejo

Part of the defence’s strategy for Ghislain Maxwell was to shift the blame to Jeffrey Epstein, saying she was being made a scapegoat because his death led her accusers unable to seek justice.

Before meeting Epstein, Maxwell spent decades rubbing shoulders with British royals and US presidents. Now faces decades behind bars if convicted of sex trafficking charges.

The Independent’s Graeme Massie traces the pair’s relationship back to 1991, when the daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell was introduced to the former physics teacher through a mutual friend.

How did Ghislaine Maxwell meet Jeffrey Epstein?

Spectre of Jeffrey Epstein looms large over socialite’s trial

00:00 , Justin Vallejo

The spectre of Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide only a few hundred yards from where the trial is taking place in a cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in August 2019, loomed large over the opening arguments on Monday, writes The Independent’s Bevan Hurley.

“The defendant and Epstein,” was a phrase uttered more than a dozen times during Ms Pomerantz’s 30-minute opening statement, as she wove a tale of depravity and manipulation executed by two apparently equal partners.”

The spectre of Jeffrey Epstein looms large over Ghislaine Maxwell trial

Who are the alleged victims testifying at the Maxwell trial?

Monday 29 November 2021 23:30 , Justin Vallejo

The prosecution will put four alleged victims on the stand, identified only as Minor Victim 1, Minor Victim 2, Minor Victim 3 and Minor Victim 4.

The prosecution began their opening argument with the line, “I want to tell you about a young girl named Jane”, referencing the anonymous Jane Doe pseudonym.

Here’s what we know from court documents about the alleged victims:

Minor Victim 1 was about 14 when she was abused by Epstein at his homes in New York and Florida. Maxwell is alleged to have involved the girl in “sexualized massages” on Epstein.

Minor Victim 2was allegedly abused at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch in 1996. Maxwell is alleged to have given an unsolicited topless massage to the girl, and encouraged her to massage Epstein.

Minor Victim 3 was 17, and over the age of consent, when she was allegedly introduced to Epstein in London. Maxwell is alleged to have encouraged her to perform sexualized massages on Epstein in 1994 and 1995.

Minor Victim 4 was 14 when she was allegedly recruited to give Epstein sexualized massages at his Palm Beach mansion between 2001 and 2004. She is also alleged to have recruited younger women for Epstein at Maxwell’s request.

Monday 29 November 2021 23:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Lead Maxwell defence attorney Bobbi Sternheim gives an opening statement on day one of the trial (AP)
Lead Maxwell defence attorney Bobbi Sternheim gives an opening statement on day one of the trial (AP)

Attorney Lisa Bloom calls defence opening statement ‘appalling, fawning love letter’ to Epstein

Monday 29 November 2021 22:46 , Oliver O'Connell

Lisa Bloom, the attorney known for advising Harvey Weinstein and the representing attorney to one of the accusers of Ghislaine Maxwell, responded to the defence team’s opening statement on Twitter.

“BREAKING: Just heard defence opening statement here at Ghislaine Maxwell trial,” she wrote. “An appalling, fawning love letter to Jeffrey Epstein, a ‘charming’ ‘21st century James Bond’.”

“Bond fights the bad guys. Epstein WAS the bad guy,” she added.

“Are you as surprised as I am by this strategy?”

Monday 29 November 2021 22:28 , Oliver O'Connell

US Attorney Lara Pomerantz gives her opening prosecution statement while pointing to defendant Ghislaine Maxwell (AP)
US Attorney Lara Pomerantz gives her opening prosecution statement while pointing to defendant Ghislaine Maxwell (AP)

Jury excused for the day

Monday 29 November 2021 22:06 , Oliver O'Connell

True to her word, Judge Nathan has brought proceedings today to a close at 5pm sharp and the jury has been excused.

Witness testimony and examination will continue tomorrow morning.

Visoski testimony

Monday 29 November 2021 21:51 , Oliver O'Connell

Larry Visoski is asked about how often he flew Epstein and to where. He responds that it was roughly every four days, and destinations included all of Epstein’s homes in Palm Beach, Santa Fe, New York, and St Thomas in the Caribbean, near where his private island Little St James was located.

Having identified Ms Maxwell in court, he was asked about their relationship, which he described as more personal than business, estimates went on into the 2000s, and says was not romantic, but “more couple-ish”.

Prosecution calls first witness

Monday 29 November 2021 21:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Nathan invited Assistant US Attorney Maureen Comey to call the first witness.

Ms Comey is the daughter of James Comey, former director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017 until he was fired by then-President Donald Trump.

While court proceedings are due to end promptly at 5pm, the judge appears keen to keep things moving after this morning’s delay.

The first witness is Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr, formerly Epstein’s pilot.

Epstein was a ‘21st-century James Bond’ targeted for his mystery and money, says Maxwell defence

Monday 29 November 2021 21:23 , Oliver O'Connell

Ghislaine Maxwell’s defence team compared Jeffrey Epstein to a “21st-century James Bond” whose wealth and mystery stirred the public’s interest while his accusers shook the “money train” for millions of dollars.

Ms Maxwell, meanwhile, was compared to humanity’s first victim of sexism dating back to the Biblical creation of the universe.

Jeffrey Epstein was a ‘21st-century James Bond’, Ghislaine Maxwell defence says

Monday 29 November 2021 21:07 , Oliver O'Connell

With the conclusion of the defence opening statement, there is now a 10-minute recess before the start of witness testimony.

Monday 29 November 2021 21:05 , Oliver O'Connell

In wrapping up her opening statement, Ms Sternheim tells the jury that the prosecution will not be able to establish without reasonable doubt that Ms Maxwell is guilty of any of the charges.

She adds that the age of consent will also be important in the case and they should keep that in mind.

Ms Sternheim says that the four accusers have thin stories that lack support and that they have been impacted by lawyers, media, things they have read and heard, and money.

“The government is trying to stitch together stories of four different people, four different stories to support a pattern,” she says. “But the only pattern you will see here is the success of those four people getting big money awards from the Epstein fund.”

Monday 29 November 2021 20:59 , Oliver O'Connell

The fourth accuser, Carolyn, is described by Ms Sternheim as having a “troubled past” and a “dangerous lifestyle” and was introduced to Epstein by Virginia Roberts, another victim, who has spoken publicly about her time with him.

Arguing that Carolyn has never mentioned Ms Maxwell in previous testimony about Epstein, she says that she also groomed and trafficked girls for him and only accused the defendant after his death when there was money to be had.

She too received money from the Epstein fund.

Monday 29 November 2021 20:55 , Oliver O'Connell

About the third witness, Ms Sternheim says she sent pictures to him in jail in the early 2000s and visited him after his release. She also only pointed the finger at Ms Maxwell after Epstein died and received money from the fund.

Monday 29 November 2021 20:51 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Sternheim claims that Annie never saw Epstein after seeing him in New Mexico and was only convinced she was a victim afterward by other people. She says that she had also kept boots that he bought her for 25 years, yet says she was scarred by the meeting.

Like Jane, Annie also received money from the Epstein fund.

Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein ‘partners in crime’

Monday 29 November 2021 20:48 , Oliver O'Connell

The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell began with prosecutors arguing the British socialite was a “partner in crime” to convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein in a “pyramid scheme” of sexual abuse.

In her opening statement, Assistant US Attorney Lara Elizabeth Pomerantz said Ms Maxwell found and targeted young girls from broken homes for Epstein to sexually abuse under the guise of “massages”.

They figured out what the girls wanted, promised the world, and bought them into their “pyramid scheme of abuse” to bring in more girls with the promise of a cash reward, Ms Pomerantz alleged.

Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein ran pyramid scheme of sexual abuse, court hears

Monday 29 November 2021 20:38 , Oliver O'Connell

Moving on to the next witness — Annie — who was 16 when she met Epstein and Ms Maxwell in New Mexico, Ms Sternheim says she was above the age of consent in that state at the time.

This leads to another objection from the prosecution and a third sidebar with Judge Nathan.

Monday 29 November 2021 20:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Sternheim says that Jane did not want to be involved in any criminal case against Epstein until after he died when having hired a lawyer she remembers “all this horror” and puts Ms Maxwell in the frame too.

“She is a consummate actress and is a pro at playing roles.”

“Examine critically” her story, Ms Sternheim tells the jury.

Monday 29 November 2021 20:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The defence strategy shifts to explain what the jury will hear from each witness, starting with Jane whom she says had her schooling and vocal lessons paid for by Epstein, while she lived in a Wall Street apartment co-signed by him.

She paints Epstein as a patron of the arts and says that nothing amiss happened when Jane and her family visited Florida.

Monday 29 November 2021 20:27 , Oliver O'Connell

After another objection and a sidebar, Ms Sternheim continued her opening statement again referring to witnesses having received money from the Epstein fund and claiming an ability to look back over 25 years with 20/20 vision is unlikely.

Maxwell smiles behind mask and waves to sister as trial opens

Monday 29 November 2021 20:23 , Oliver O'Connell

Ghislaine Maxwell appeared to be in good spirits at the start of her trial on federal charges of trafficking underage girls for convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The British socialite seemed relaxed, played with her hair, smiled from behind her mask and waved at her sister as jury selection in the case began, according to press pool reports from inside the courtroom.

Ghislaine Maxwell smiles behind mask and waves to sister as trial opens in NYC

Monday 29 November 2021 20:18 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Sternheim likes Epstein to James Bond.

“I said before Epstein was a manipulator but he was also a mysterious man without attachment. He had no wife. He had no children. And he had no boss. Yet he attracted all these rich and powerful people before and after his fall from grace back around 2008.”

“In many regards, he was like a 21st-century James Bond,” she adds. “His mystery has stirred interest, and his accusers have shaken the money train and millions of dollars have fallen their way.”

Monday 29 November 2021 20:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Sternheim says testimony will include experts on how memory changes and can be contaminated, adding that there will be no eyewitnesses to the victim accounts and no documentation to corroborate their testimony.

Monday 29 November 2021 20:09 , Oliver O'Connell

Following a sidebar with Judge Nathan, Ms Sternheim reminds jurors that they must not be biased against those who were wealthy and lived luxurious lifestyles and that her client is being “pegged as the rich girl”.

“Privileged background, comfortable lifestyle status — they may be things that are easily checked as the wrong box, but they are not crimes and nor should they factor negatively into your consideration of the evidence.”

Monday 29 November 2021 20:07 , Oliver O'Connell

Two objections from the prosecution as Ms Sternheim first calls Ms Maxwell a “scapegoat” and then a “convenient stand-in” for Epstein.

Monday 29 November 2021 20:05 , Oliver O'Connell

“As we all know, memories fade over time, and in this case, we will learn not only have memories faded but they have been contaminated by outside information, media reports” and other influences, says Ms Sternheim.

Monday 29 November 2021 20:03 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Sternheim argues that her client is not like Epstein, nor the other powerful men who abused women and that the prosecution will not bac able to prove that Ms Maxwell committed the crimes with which she is charged.

“This case is about memory, manipulation, and money.”

Says Ms Sternheim: “As you will see, the accusations that you will hear from the mouths of four accusers — not like the hundreds that the government suggested you would hear from — you will hear from them and they will recount from their memories, memories of a quarter-century ago. Memories that have been corrupted by things that have happened throughout the years. Manipulated by a narcissistic man and self-interested civil lawyers and a desire for a big jackpot of money.”

Defence opening statement begins

Monday 29 November 2021 19:57 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Maxwell’s attorney Bobbi C Sternheim begins with a Biblical reference.

“Ever since Eve was accused of tempting Adam for the apple, women have been blamed for the bad behaviour of men, and women are often villainised and punished more than the men ever are.”

Monday 29 November 2021 19:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Explaining how the prosecution will prove the counts against Ms Maxwell true, Ms Pomerantz says that Jane herself will take the stand.

The jury will also hear from family members of the victims and Epstein’s staff, including his pilots, as well as law enforcement officers who searched his homes.

Flights log, courier records, and other hard evidence will also be shown to make the case that the pair were trafficking children for sex, and that this went on for a decade.

Monday 29 November 2021 19:50 , Oliver O'Connell

The prosecution’s opening statement continues describing how Jane was not the only victim and a “pyramid scheme of abuse” developed in which girls were encouraged to recruit other girls in return for cash.

Monday 29 November 2021 19:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Pomerantz returned to the story of Jane describing how they befriended her despite being more than twice her age, taking her shopping and to movies and giving her hundreds of dollars.

The abusive relationship continued for years at both Epstein’s residences in Palm Beach and in New York, says the prosecutor.

Monday 29 November 2021 19:44 , Oliver O'Connell

“What was happening inside those massage rooms was not a massage; it was sexual abuse,” says Ms Pomerantz, adding that Ms Maxwell helped find and recruit the girls and groomed them for abuse.

The prosecution described in graphic detail what occurred in the massage rooms including masturbation, oral sex, and penetrative sex with the girls.

“Make no mistake: She knew exactly what Epstein was going to do to those children when she sent them inside those massage rooms,” Ms Pomerantz says adding that the defendant provided a cover of respectability as an adult woman.

Monday 29 November 2021 19:40 , Oliver O'Connell

“They were wealthy and influential people who used that cover to make the girls and their parents feel comfortable and safe,” Ms Pomerantz says.

“What came next was anything but safe. The next stage involved getting the girls comfortable with sexual contact involving Epstein,” she continues describing that massaging Epstein was used as a way of beginning the abuse by getting them to touch him and allowing him to touch them.

Monday 29 November 2021 19:37 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Maxwell is described as Epstein’s best friend and right hand, characterising him as a multimillionaire connected to famous and powerful people.

Ms Pomerantz says they promised their victims the world, and targetted girls with “difficult home lives”.

“They made these girls feel seen. They made these girls feel special, but that was a cover.”

Monday 29 November 2021 19:34 , Oliver O'Connell

The prosecution says that Ms Maxwell put Epstein’s victims at ease so “they could be molested by a middle-aged man”.

Ms Pomerantz says that Ms Maxwell was in the room at times when this molestation happened.

That, she says, is why Ms Maxwell is in court today.

Prosecution begins opening statement

Monday 29 November 2021 19:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Prosecutor US Attorney Lara Pomerantz began her opening statement with the story of a girl called Jane who was introduced to a man and woman at a camp for talented kids when she was just 14 years old.

The man introduced himself as a donor who gave scholarships to kids and asked Jane for her phone number, Ms Pomerantz says.

What she did not realise was that the man and woman were predators and that this was the beginning of a nightmare that would last for years, the attorney says.

“Who was that woman targeting young girls for sexual abuse? It was the defendant: Ghislaine Maxwell,” says Ms Pomerantz.

“She helped normalise abusive sexual conduct,” she adds.

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting