Scenes from Week 1 of Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-abuse trial

Dec 4, 2021, 6:02 AM | Updated: Dec 5, 2021, 6:46 pm
In this courtroom sketch, defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca, left, confers with Ghislaine Maxwell a...

In this courtroom sketch, defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca, left, confers with Ghislaine Maxwell after making an argument to Judge Nathan regarding the removal of a juror due to holiday travel plans that would disrupt the trial schedule during Maxwell's sex trafficking trial, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in New York. A longtime pilot for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein resumed his testimony at Ghislaine Maxwell's sex trafficking trial Tuesday, saying that the British socialite charged with helping the financier find teenage girls to sexually abuse was "Number 2" in the hierarchy of Epstein's operations. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

(AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

NEW YORK (AP) — The first week of the sex-abuse trial of Ghislaine Maxwell saw the first of her four main accusers taking the witness stand to give emotional testimony accusing the British socialite of coaxing her — at just 14 — into sexual encounters with financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The jury at the federal trial in Manhattan also heard from former employees who offered an inside look at a lavish lifestyle Epstein shared with Maxwell, who was his girlfriend and then his employee. Her lawyers say she’s a scapegoat for Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial behind bars.

Here are snapshots from a trial drawing international attention:

END OF INNOCENCE

The first Maxwell accuser’s story began innocently enough: She was a 14-year-old eating ice cream at a music camp in 1994 when she was approached by Epstein and Maxwell, walking her Yorkie. What followed over the next few years, the accuser said, scarred her for life.

The witness — a woman now in her early 40s who was introduced to jurors as “Jane” to protect her privacy — testified that Maxwell and Epstein groomed her by taking her shopping and inviting her and her mother to Epstein’s mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.

Soon she was visiting the home by herself when, she said, Maxwell and Epstein lured her into unwanted sexual contact that Maxwell treated as “no big deal.” It was a pattern prosecutors hope to prove was repeated over and over with other girls and young women.

On Friday, the prosecution unfolded a green massage table from the Epstein home to corroborate the accuser’s testimony that massages were used as pretense for the sexual encounters.

The defense demanded to know why “Jane” had taken so long to come forward.

“I was scared,” she said, choking back tears. “I was embarrassed, ashamed. I didn’t want anybody to know any of this about me.”

DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND

Prosecutors say Maxwell created “a culture of silence” to shroud her and Epstein’s crimes. And a piece of evidence seemed to put that culture in writing.

Those instructions were part of a 58-page booklet with rules for staff working at the mansion. As if to drive home the point about keeping Maxwell and Epstein’s secrets, prosecutors say Epstein ordered the construction of a detached staff quarters surrounded by a tall wall that prevented any view of the main house.

Juan Alessi, a former estate manager, testified he considered the privacy measure “a kind of warning that I was supposed to be blind, deaf and dumb, to say nothing of their lives.”

Alessi recalled seeing “Jane” several times at the residence and noticed she looked underage. But he also said he never saw her enter the master bedroom with Epstein — or noticed anything else suspicious about her and the revolving door of young women that would have indicated sex crimes were occurring in his workplace.

He claimed no one alerted him to any misconduct.

“I wish they would have because I would have done something,” he said.

DEFENSE ON THE ATTACK

The defense displayed some of the tactics it plans to use to discredit “Jane” and three other key accusers who are slated to testify before the end of the month.

Maxwell’s lawyers are seeking to portray their accounts of abuse as unreliable, suggesting they have faulty memories and are being manipulated by lawyers encouraging them to play up Maxwell’s role in civil claims after Epstein died. One of the lawyers went so far as to infer that “Jane” — a veteran television actor — could be using her acting skills to embellish her testimony.

The lawyer ran down some of the plot lines “Jane” has tackled over the years: protective mom, victim of bullying, someone stalked by serial killers, prostitute. “Not my favorite role,” the witness said of the last.

When asked whether her background made her adept giving a “melodramatic and sentimental treatment of interpersonal situations,” she demurred.

“Hopefully, not melodramatic,” she said. “Just dramatic.”

UP NEXT

Three more main accusers are waiting in the wings to testify against Maxwell. When that will happen remains unclear, with prosecutors staying tight-lipped about the order of their witnesses.

But the defense’s opening statement gave hints about the accusers up next.

A Maxwell lawyer said one is a psychotherapist who met Epstein in New York City when she was 16 and later visited his ranch in New Mexico. Another is a former model from Britain who once dated one of Maxwell’s friends. The third is someone the defense claims introduced Epstein to other victims who are not in the case.

Other evidence the prosecution still plans to introduce: flight logs of Epstein’s private planes — prosecutors say they confirm that Maxwell, Epstein and alleged victims traveled together — and FedEx records confirming that Epstein sent a gift to one victim when she was just 15 years old.

It’s projected the trial could last another five weeks.

___

Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz and Larry Neumeister contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Ghislaine Maxwell's defense attorneys Laura Menninger and Jeffrey Pagliuca arrive at court in New York, on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.  The case against Maxwell stems from four now-adult women who said she recruited them into being sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
            
              In this courtroom sketch, defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca, left, confers with Ghislaine Maxwell after making an argument to Judge Nathan regarding the removal of a juror due to holiday travel plans that would disrupt the trial schedule during Maxwell's sex trafficking trial, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in New York. A longtime pilot for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein resumed his testimony at Ghislaine Maxwell's sex trafficking trial Tuesday, saying that the British socialite charged with helping the financier find teenage girls to sexually abuse was "Number 2" in the hierarchy of Epstein's operations. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)
            Sarah Ransome, an alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, arrives to the courthouse for the start of Maxwell's trial in New York, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Maxwell, who once dated the financier -- is accused of acting as Epstein's chief enabler, recruiting and grooming young girls for him to abuse. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) In this sketch, a prosecution detective, left, shows a massage table recovered from Jeffrey Epstein's Palm Beach Beach home to witness and former Palm Beach Police Officer Gregory Parkinson, right, during testimony in the sex-abuse trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, Friday Dec. 3, 2021, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP) Kevin Maxwell and Isabel Maxwell, siblings of Ghislaine Maxwell, talk to the media as they leave the federal courthouse following testimony in their sister's sex trafficking trial, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura) Attorney Bradley J. Edwards, right, and Brittany Henderson, who represent two of Jeffrey Epstein's victims,  leave the federal courthouse following testimony in the sex trafficking trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura) Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr., the former pilot for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, enters a federal courthouse to testify in the sex trafficking trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey) In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell is seated at the defense table while watching testimony of witnesses during her trial, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP) In this courtroom sketch, Ghislaine Maxwell's defense attorney Laura Menninger, left, cross examines a witness using the pseudonym "Jane"  Tuesday Nov. 30, 2021, in New York. The woman testified that she had repeated sexual contact with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein when she 14 and that Maxwell was there when it happened.  (Elizabeth Williams via AP) In this courtroom sketch, Judge Alison Nathan, far left, listens as a witness using the pseudonym "Jane"  testifies during Ghislaine Maxwell's trial, Tuesday Nov. 30, 2021, in New York. The woman testified that she had repeated sexual contact with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein when she 14 and that Maxwell was there when it happened.  (Elizabeth Williams via AP) In this courtroom sketch, assistant U.S. attorney Alison Moe questions an unidentified victim about her experiences with Jeffery Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams) In this courtroom sketch, assistant U.S. attorney Maurene Comey, left, conducts a direct examination of former Jeffrey Epstein pilot Lawrence Visoski, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in New York. Photos of former Epstein assistant Sarah Kellen are displayed on monitors, one also showing Epstein. A longtime pilot for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein resumed his testimony at Ghislaine Maxwell's sex trafficking trial Tuesday, saying that the British socialite charged with helping the financier find teenage girls to sexually abuse was "Number 2" in the hierarchy of Epstein's operations. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams) Defense attorney Christian Everdell cross examins former Jeffrey Epstein pilot Lawrence Visoski as a photo of with photo of former Epstein assistant Sarah Kellen appears on monitors during Ghislaine Maxwell's sex trafficking trial, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in New York. The longtime pilot for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein resumed his testimony at Ghislaine Maxwell's sex trafficking trial Tuesday, saying that the British socialite charged with helping the financier find teenage girls to sexually abuse was "Number 2" in the hierarchy of Epstein's operations. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

AP

FILE - Brandon Calloway, second from left, speaks with a reporter alongside his family about his vi...
Associated Press

Tennessee officers won’t face charges for violent arrest

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A grand jury has declined to indict police officers after an investigation by Tennessee’s police agency into the violent arrest of a Black man for alleged traffic violations, a district attorney said Wednesday. Members of a grand jury in Fayette County reviewed evidence Monday related to the July arrest of Brandon […]
14 hours ago
FILE - A law enforcement officer walks outside of 1201 San Jacinto in Houston, following a shooting...
Associated Press

Man seen at Takeoff’s fatal shooting facing weapons charge

HOUSTON (AP) — A man who has been accused of illegally having a gun at the time that rapper Takeoff was fatally shot last month following a private party at a downtown Houston bowling alley has been charged in connection with the case, authorities said Wednesday. But during a court hearing, prosecutors said the suspect, […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke is shown before an NFL football game between the Arizona...
Associated Press

Deal finalized to divide Rams settlement money in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A plan to divide more than a half-billion dollars in settlement money for the departure of the NFL’s Rams from St. Louis received final approval Wednesday. The board of the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Authority, which owns the domed stadium where the Rams played before leaving for Los Angeles […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens is shown before an NFL football game between the San ...
Associated Press

Terrell Owens says man he punched at CVS threatened him, fan

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Retired NFL star Terrell Owens said a fight caught on camera in which he punched a man in a CVS parking lot was the result of an “aggressor” threatening him and a fan he was talking to at the California store. Owens, 48, told The Associated Press in a statement that […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Actor Lisa Banes poses for photos in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 26, 2015. A  judge decried New...
Associated Press

Judge bemoans NYC’s bike hazard in ‘Gone Girl’ actor’s death

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge decried New York City’s problems with electric and gas-powered bikes on Wednesday as he sentenced the electric scooter rider who crashed into “Gone Girl” actor Lisa Banes to one to three years in prison for his manslaughter conviction. Brian Boyd, 27, was led away in handcuffs after sentencing in […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos talks to the media after Gov. Tony Evers' State of the ...
Associated Press

Jan. 6 panel to interview Wisconsin GOP Assembly speaker

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wrapping up its interviews, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was expected to question Republican Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Wednesday, the panel’s chairman said. Vos had filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block a subpoena demanding his testimony about a phone call with Donald […]
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Scenes from Week 1 of Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-abuse trial