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USA: Day 4: Ghislaine Maxwell trial: Ex-employee says that Epstein had underage guests at Palm Beach estate

Juan Alessi, the Palm Beach house manager, took the stand for the prosecution on the fourth day of Maxwell’s trial in Manhattan federal court. He said he repeatedly drove two girls who appeared to be 14 or 15 to Epstein’s Florida estate.

One of the girls, now a woman in her early 40s using the pseudonym Jane in court, testified earlier in the week about how Maxwell, a daughter of late media baron Robert Maxwell, groomed her for abuse by Epstein when she was 14.

Alessi, who managed Epstein’s Palm Beach property from 1991 to 2002, said Jane appeared to be 14 or 15 when she first came to the house with her mother in 1994. After that, Alessi said he would drive Jane alone to the home, where she spent time with Maxwell and Epstein.

He said he saw Jane’s name in a directory of massage therapists that he would call to schedule massages for Epstein, sometimes at Maxwell’s direction. Jane testified that many of her sexual encounters with Epstein would start as massages before escalating.

Prosecutor Lara Pomerantz has said massages were a “ruse designed to get young girls to touch Epstein.”

“I had a Rolodex with all the massage therapists,” Alessi said. “Whoever they told me to call, I would.”

He recalled that when he began working for Epstein the financier would get one massage a day, but years later he would often get three.

Earlier on Thursday, psychologist Lisa Rocchio testified as an expert witness about how underage victims of sexual abuse are often “groomed” by perpetrators they know well, and that many do not disclose abuse until they reach adulthood.

Alessi described Jane as “strikingly beautiful.” He said he once drove Jane, who was carrying luggage, from the Palm Beach home to an airport and watched her board a plane with Epstein, Maxwell and Maxwell’s dog, a small Yorkie named Max.

Maxwell’s lawyers have sought to highlight discrepancies between Jane’s testimony and her earlier interviews with law enforcement, when she did not discuss Maxwell’s role.

They contend that the memories of Jane and three other accusers expected to testify against Maxwell have been corrupted over time, and that they have financial incentives to implicate her.

Alessi said he saw topless women hanging out by the pool hundreds of times. Jane also recalled seeing topless women by the pool.

He said most female guests were in their twenties, but recalled two who appeared to be underage: Jane and Virginia Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre.

Giuffre has said she was a victim of Epstein’s sex trafficking and abuse from 2000 to 2002, starting when she was 16.

Alessi said he found sex toys in Epstein’s massage room four or five times after Epstein received massages.

He recalled cleaning one of the toys, which he said “looked like a huge men’s penis with two heads,” and put it in a basket in Maxwell’s bathroom. “That’s the place where it was kept,” Alessi said.

He also said he was given a booklet of detailed instructions, warning him to keep Epstein’s and Maxwell’s activities or whereabouts secret.

“I was supposed to be blind, deaf and dumb,” Alessi said.

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