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USA: Day 2: Ghislaine Maxwell trial: First accuser says she was 14 at the time of sexual contact – with Maxwell in the room

The first accuser in the sex-trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell has said she had repeated sexual contact with Jeffrey Epstein when she was 14 years old – and that the British socialite was there when it happened.

The woman, known by the pseudonym Jane, took to the stand for the second day of the trial in New York on Tuesday.

A prosecutor asked the first accuser how old she was when she first had “sexual contact” with Epstein.

In a quiet voice, she responded: “Fourteen years old.”

Asked if there was ever anyone else in the room when there was sexual contact, she replied: “Ghislaine Maxwell.”

She said the sexual interactions were “very casual” and “like it was no big deal.”

The accuser told the court she received a $2m (£1.5m) payment from a victim fund setup by the financier’s estate.

She said Maxwell instructed her on how to give Epstein sexual massages and sometimes physically participated in the encounters as well.

Epstein said he would like to mentor her and was interested in music and dance, Jane told the trial.

She said she didn’t understand the relationship between the two and was not sure if they were married, friends or if Maxwell worked for him.

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The abuse would happen once every two weeks when she was aged between 14 and 16 and she travelled with them 10 times to New York and Santa Fe, jurors were told.

US prosecutor Lara Pomerantz said during opening statements on Monday that Maxwell and Epstein met Jane in 1994 at a summer camp when she was 14.

Epstein introduced himself as a donor interested in funding her education but ended up sexually abusing Jane, she told jurors.

Epstein’s former pilot Lawrence Visoski also gave evidence before Jane took to the stand. He said the 59-year-old Maxwell was Epstein’s “Number 2” in his hierarchy of operations.

Mr Visoski said he was often contacted by Maxwell, who would charter flights for Epstein and often flew with him on his private planes.

Asked about the relationship between them, Mr Visoski said Maxwell was “the Number 2” and Epstein was “the big Number 1”.

He also told the trial that Mr Epstein would regularly fly to Ohio for meetings with his friend Lex Wexner, the billionaire owner of Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch.

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Mr Visoski was providing what lawyers call foundational evidence on which they will build their case with further evidence from the four alleged underage victims.

However, under cross-examination he was not able to remember whether “Jane” or the three other alleged victims had flown on Mr Epstein’s planes.

He told the court he never saw sexual activity or signs of it, such as sex toys or condoms, adding he also never saw anyone who he believed was underage, saying “they looked like mature women”.

Mr Visoski claimed to remember meeting another alleged victim, Virginia Roberts, in the “mid to late 90s”.

“She was on the airplane a couple times,” he said. “I couldn’t guess the quantity.”

The pilot described Maxwell as the disgraced financier’s office assistant, but said that their relationship appeared to be “more personal than business”.

He said he had access to all of Epstein’s residences – both in Florida and New York to “pick up luggage”.

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Mr Visoski also flew a helicopter for him “many times” and recalled that he was unable to see passengers flying on his private planes because the doors to their compartments were “always closed”.

But when asked he said he “never saw any sexual activity”.

Maxwell’s defence lawyers claim she has been used as “scapegoat” for Epstein’s crimes.

The convicted paedophile killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting further sex trafficking charges.

The trial continues.

quoted from sky news

follow the trial here

 

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