Listen to this article here
Sign-Up for a free subscription to The Black Wall Street Times‘ daily newsletter, Black Editors’ Edition (BEE) – our curated news selections & opinions by us for you.
UPDATE: The first alleged victim set to testify took the stand Tuesday afternoon under the name “Jane”. Jane was only 14 when she said she was approached by the couple at a talent camp and invited to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion. Jane said that she was subjected to sexual touching as well as “orgies” for years starting when she was 14-years-old.
The defense, in their cross-examination, looked to cast doubt on Jane’s testimony citing that while Epstein was alive the victim did not want any involvement in a criminal case, yet once he was dead “she changed her mind, when money was on the line”. According to the defense, Jane is “a talented musician and singer” who Epstein offered to help, paying for her schooling and vocal lessons while she went to a prestigious professional school in Manhattan.
The defense will continue it’s cross-examination of the alleged victim Wednesday.
The jury was chosen today in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the long-time accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in a New York federal prison in 2019 while facing sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges that she groomed underage victims to have unwanted sex with Epstein. Many victims were underage, with the youngest being 14-years-old.
Twelve jurors and six alternates will hear Maxwell’s case, with opening statements expected to begin later today.
In 2020, Netflix released the documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, which chronicled how the convicted sex offender abused, manipulated, and silenced his underage victims as he ran a so-called molestation “pyramid scheme” from his Palm Beach mansion.
Maxwell is seen throughout the documentary with Epstein and has been accused of being his long-time accomplice in the sex trafficking scheme. She is accused of recruiting and grooming young girls for him to abuse.
The charges against her stem from the allegations of four women who say she and Epstein victimized them as teens from 1994 to 2004.
Prosecutors say there’s evidence Maxwell knew that the victims, including a 14-year-old, were below the age of consent and that she arranged travel for some between Epstein’s homes, including his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, his posh Manhattan townhouse and at other residences in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and London.
Maxwell’s trial is taking place in federal court, so cameras and other recording devices will not be allowed inside the courtroom during the trial.
Both the prosecution and defense attorney gave their opening statements Monday afternoon. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz, for the prosecution, said Maxwell identified and targeted vulnerable young women and then “served them up” to Epstein.
“She put them at ease and made them feel safe, all so that they could be sexually abused by a middle-aged man,” Pomerantz said. “There were times when she was in the room when it happened.”
Maxwell’s attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, said in her opening statement that prosecutors were going after Maxwell because they can’t try Epstein, who hanged himself in prison two years ago.
“Ever since Eve has been blamed for tempting Adam with an apple, women have been blamed for things men have done,” Sternheim said. “She is not Jeffrey Epstein. She is not anything like Jeffrey Epstein.”
The opening statements were followed by the prosecution’s first witness, Larry Visoski, a longtime pilot of Epstein’s private planes. He was at the control of several flights on which Maxwell and unidentified “females” were listed on flight manifests.
“It was pretty much every four days we were on the road flying somewhere,” said Visoski, who is expected to be back on the stand Tuesday.