The first of Ghislaine Maxwell's four accusers takes the stand. The defendant, according to the victim's testimony, actively participated in some of Jeffrey Epstein's sexual encounters with the minors.
by Maibort Petit
The first of his four accusers — identified in the court proceedings by the fictitious name "Jane" — sat on the stand in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and, before the jury.
She gave testimony that Ghislaine Maxwell not only participated as a recruiter,
but that she became present when the sexual interactions took place
— when she was only 14 years old
— with the tycoon Jeffrey Epstein.
Defined on the first day of trial by the prosecution – in charge of the prosecutor Lara Pomerantz – as a "dangerous woman" and as a "criminal partner" of Jeffrey Epstein, who dedicated, between 1994 and 2004, to deceive girls in order to serve as a sexual object to her ex-boyfriend, manipulating them and leading them to fulfill the wishes of the tycoon, Ghislaine Maxwell faced this Tuesday, November 30, the second day of her judicial process in the Court of the Southern District of New York.
"Jane" said Maxwell trained her on how to provide sexual massages to Epstein, having joined the encounters on some occasions.
She also narrated that she and Ghislaine Maxwell met in 1994 when she — "Jane" — in an effort to forge a career as a singer, began attending a music camp. There, the defendant approached her and introduced herself as a donor and they began a conversation in which they discovered that both lived in Palm Beach, in the state of Florida.
After this, she and her mother received invitations to attend Jeffrey Epstein's home. From there began outings to buy clothes – including underwear from Victoria's Secret – accompanied by the tycoon and the Ghislaine Maxwell.
Then, one day the cycle of abuse began, on one occasion when the financier abruptly took her and ordered her to follow her to the pool area where she pulled down her pants, pulled her to him and masturbated.
"I was frozen with fear ... I've never seen a penis before (...) I was terrified and felt disgusted and ashamed."
She said that, on another occasion, she was taken to a salon that was intended for Epstein's massages, where the defendant and the tycoon proceeded to take advantage of her.
"There were hands everywhere and Jeffrey masturbated again."
There were other encounters in which sex toys were used or oral sex were held with other young women, an activity in which Maxwell also participated.
Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, pleaded not guilty to all six counts,
namely conspiracy to lure minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts;
seducing a minor to travel and engage in illegal sexual acts;
conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity;
sex trafficking of minors; and
sex trafficking conspiracy.
As well as two other perjury charges
— which will be addressed in a separate trial
— as prosecutors accuse her of lying under oath when she was previously consulted on matters related to Epstein.
In total, she will have to answer for eight federal charges.
Epstein's pilot speaks
A man who worked for nearly 30 years as an airplane pilot for Jeffrey Epstein, namely Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr., served among the first witnesses and, as he took the stand in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, said that among the high-profile men he transferred on the tycoon's aircraft were former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
The names of the former U.S. presidents rumbled through the walls of the Manhattan courtroom when Christian Everdell, Maxwell's defense attorney, questioned Visoski Jr. about whether Clinton was among the high-profile men who flew on the tycoon's aircraft.
To which Everdell replied in the affirmative.
Did former President Bill Clinton fly on any of the flights? — consulted Everdell.
"Yes," replied the pilot.
Lawrence Paul Visoski, cited by the prosecution as a witness, mentioned celebrities and politicians who used to travel on Epstein's planes and cited the case of
Prince Andrew of Spain, as well as
former President Donald Trump,
who would have done so on more than one occasion.
The lawyer questioned whether Trump had traveled on Epstein's planes with his family, Visoski said he did not remember, but he finished off the former president effectively did remember it.
"I certainly remember President Trump."
comedian Chris Tucker,
famed violinist Itzhak Perlman and
former Senators George Mitchell and
are also among the people Visoski recalled seeing on the tycoon's plane.
He categorically denied that he had witnessed sexual activities on the flights, because, although he stayed mostly in the cabin, he sometimes went out for coffee or to go to the bathroom.
"Never," was the answer
when asked if he had found used condoms or seen sex acts with underage women on planes.
He said he was never warned by Epstein to have to stay in the cockpit and avoid access to the area of the aircraft where sexual activities were allegedly taking place.
However, Visoski said he could not visualize "Jane" the fictitious name with which one of his accusers is identified in the trial against Maxwell.
"I can't visualize her sitting in the passenger compartment like I would, for example, with President Clinton."
Among the events recalled by the pilot were flights with Jeffrey Epstein to Columbus, Ohio, where the latter had a house in the vicinity of a property owned by Les Wexner, founder of Victoria's Secret and late pedophile business partner. The pilot said Epstein called Wexner a "customer."
According to Visoski, the defendant, Ghislaine Maxwell was in charge of matters such as Epstein's expense reports, which she kept Epstein's properties in New York. "Maxwell was No. 2 and Mr. Epstein was a big No. 1," the pilot said.
He said that, as the years passed, he had a closer approach with Maxwell and even attended helicopter license classes with her when she was training to become a pilot in Florida.
He said his two daughters, whose ages ranged from 11 to 14, rode horses with Ghislaine Maxwell in New Mexico at Jeffrey Epstein's ranch.
Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr. recounted that Jeffrey paid for his daughters' private high school education and during the years he worked for him, he gave him valuable gifts, including 40 acres of land on the New Mexico ranch for him to build a house.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maibort Petit is a Venezuelan writer, researcher and political scientist specializing in Transnational Organized Crime. Based in New York, she works for several Hispanic media outlets and as a consultant for several firms in New York and Washington D.C.