Prince Andrew dragged into Ghislaine Maxwell trial as court hears how he flew on Epstein's jet

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Prince Andrew, Duke of York
    Prince Andrew, Duke of York
    Second son and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born 1960)
  • Jeffrey Epstein
    American financier
  • Ghislaine Maxwell
    Ghislaine Maxwell
    Socialite
Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew has been dragged into Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial after Jeffrey Epstein’s long-time pilot told a New York court that the Duke was one of a number of famous people to fly on the billionaire paedophile’s private jet, nicknamed the “Lolita Express”.

Lawrence Visoski, who worked for Epstein for nearly 30 years, detailed how he would fly celebrities, politicians and royalty to Epstein's homes in Palm Beach, New York, New Mexico, the private Caribbean island of Little St James and Paris.

When asked if he was familiar with Prince Andrew, Mr Visoski said "Yes I am" and recognised that he was "the son of Queen Elizabeth II". He also remembered the Duke of York on Epstein's jet, though could not recall exactly when and where he was heading.

The first mention of the Duke came on just the second morning of Ms Maxwell's trial. But he was not the only famous face on Epstein's jet. There were multiple mentions of former US president Bill Clinton, while Donald Trump also flew more than once, the pilot said. Kevin Spacey, the actor who has been accused of sexually assaulting minors, but denies any wrongdoing, also flew on board.

Flight log records appear to show that the Duke flew to Epstein's private Caribbean island of Little St James in 2001, while he has also been spotted at Epstein’s New York mansion.

Mr Visoski also noted that Virginia Roberts Giuffre also flew on the jet in the mid-to-late 1990s. Described as “a shorter woman with dirty blonde hair”, Mr Visoski said he did not know how old she was but did not believe she was underage.

Ms Giuffre has since accused Epstein and Ms Maxwell of grooming her when she was 17 to have sex with Prince Andrew and other high-profile men. The Duke has denied the allegations.

Ms Maxwell was described as "number two" in the hierarchy of Epstein's employees by Mr Visoski. Epstein told him that the British socialite was hired in the 1990s to manage his properties and other aspects of his personal life so he could focus on his businesses.

Mr Visoski detailed Ms Maxwell’s responsibilities to her boss-come-onetime boyfriend, which included furnishing his various properties, tending to horses at his New Mexico ranch and decorating the private jet.

On day two of Ms Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial, defence lawyer Christian Everdell painted a picture of a woman too busy managing Epstein’s various properties to have been aware of anything improper that may have occurred between Epstein and his accusers.

Although he was called by the Government, Ms Visoski's testimony seemed to aid the defence of Ms Maxwell as he answered questions posed by her attorney.

Mr Visoski claimed he never encountered sexual activity aboard any of the three jets he piloted for about 1,000 trips between 1991 and 2019.

The judge in the case, Alison Nathan, had directed the parties not to needlessly namedrop during the six-week trial, which promises to shine a spotlight on Ms Maxwell’s role in grooming teenagers for Epstein to abuse.

However, in cross-examination, Ms Maxwell’s lawyer asked the chief pilot if he remembered ferrying high-profile friends of the couple, including Prince Andrew, and former US presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

He said that meant privacy was essential.

Mr Visoski told the court how Epstein paid for both his daughters’ school and university tuition and gifted him 40 acres of land on which to build a home, as the defence tried to present Epstein as a generous benefactor.

Mr Visoski detailed a life of extraordinary luxury that both Epstein and Ms Maxwell enjoyed.

As chief pilot, Mr Visoski flew helicopters between St Thomas, in the Virgin Islands, to Epstein’s private island of Little St James. He also flew a Hawker Siddeley HS-125, a Gulfstream G2B and a private Boeing 727, described by attorneys as “huge”.

That plane, which is more than 130ft long, was fitted with an office dubbed “the red room” because of its furniture, and also had a master bedroom with a queen-sized bed and a lounge area with a large round sofa.

He remembered visiting Ms Maxwell at a six-storey townhouse she owned in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He recalled the British socialite, whom he described as Epstein’s “PA”.

He said he often dealt with Ms Maxwell, who he claimed had a “very close relationship” with Epstein, in a professional capacity. She would call him to arrange flights and sort out his expenses.

Ms Maxwell, dressed in the same camel-coloured turtleneck sweater as Monday, listened intently as Mr Visoski gave evidence, nodding towards her sister Isabel in the public gallery.

Isabel, who sat next to Leah Saffian, the Maxwells’ legal advisor and friend, sketched her sister in her notepad during the morning evidence session.

The full indictment against Ms Maxwell lists six charges, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

The 59-year-old is also accused of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, sex-trafficking conspiracy, and sex trafficking of a minor.

The defendant is further alleged to have lied under oath by hiding her participation in Epstein’s offences during a separate civil case.

Ms Maxwell, who has been held in a US jail since her arrest in July last year, denies all charges.

The trial continues.

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