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

  • 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.

    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. Associated Press

  • 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.

    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. Associated Press

  • 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.

    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. Associated Press

  • 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.

    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. Associated Press

  • 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, 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) Associated Press

  • 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, 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) Associated Press

  • 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 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) Associated Press

  • 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)

    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) Associated Press

  • 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.

    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. Associated Press

  • 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.

    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. Associated Press

  • 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.

    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. Associated Press

  • 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.

    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. Associated Press

  • 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.

    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. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 12/4/2021 8:19 AM

NEW YORK -- 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.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.