Witnesses support accounts given by Epstein abuse victims in trial of his assistant Ghislaine Maxwell

On Wednesday, four witnesses corroborated several accounts by others who testified earlier, including those of three Jeffrey Epstein sexual abuse victims, in the trial of the deceased billionaire’s collaborator and former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.

The eighth day of the Maxwell trial began with testimony from Janine Gill, the human resources director at Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort owned by former president Donald Trump. Ms. Gill testified that the father of Virginia Roberts, an Epstein victim who is not involved in the current case, had worked on the maintenance staff at Mar-a-Lago beginning in April 2000.

The confirmation of the employment of Mr. Roberts is important because it substantiates a statement made by Epstein’s former house manager, Juan Alessi, during the trial that Maxwell picked up Roberts, who was 16 at the time, at Trump’s resort and frequently brought the teenager to Epstein’s mansion in Palm Beach.

This courtroom sketch shows defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca,left, as he cross examines victim, "Carolyn" in Ghislaine Maxwell's sex-abuse trial, Tuesday Dec. 7, 2021 in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Donald Trump has been mentioned numerous times during the Maxwell trial along with other billionaires and politically connected individuals, including former president Bill Clinton, the late Democratic Senator John Glenn of Ohio, and Britain’s Prince Andrew, who were part of the elite circle that Jeffrey Epstein frequently entertained.

The convicted sex offender organized exclusive gatherings that included the abuse of underage girls on his private jet and at his residences in Palm Beach, Manhattan, Paris, New Mexico and his private island in the US Virgin Islands, over two decades and were repeatedly covered up and protected from prosecution by the US courts and criminal justice system. Maxwell was an integral part of setting up these sexual soirees for the rich and famous.

There is widespread suspicion that the sudden death of Epstein in his New York City jail cell on August 10, 2019, while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, was not a suicide as declared by the medical examiner, but a murder ordered by powerful associates. With dozens of men known to have participated in Epstein’s gatherings, there is plenty of justification for suspicion that the billionaire was silenced before he had the opportunity to spill the beans on everyone in open court.

Maxwell, 59, is on trial in the Southern District Court of New York after being charged with numerous counts of enticement of minors and sex trafficking of underage girls in connection with Epstein. If she is convicted on all charges by the 12-person jury, Maxwell could be sentenced by US District Judge Allison Nathan to as many as 80 years in prison.

Maxwell has been held in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York since April 2021 and her requests for bail have been repeatedly denied by the judge, going back to her arrest on July 2, 2020, in New Hampshire. Given that she attempted to conceal her whereabouts at the time of her arrest, and the fact that she has at least $20 million and citizenship in the US, UK and France, she is considered a flight risk.

One of the charges against Maxwell is that she perjured herself during a deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed against her by Virginia Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre, that was previously settled out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.

The second witness on Wednesday was Shawn, the former boyfriend of another of Epstein’s accusers known in the Maxwell trial as “Carolyn.” Shawn told the jury that he had driven Carolyn, as well as two other teenage girls he had been dating, to Epstein’s house in Palm Beach numerous times between 2002 and 2004.

Shawn said each time he picked up Carolyn she would leave Epstein’s mansion with hundreds of dollars in cash and that she told him about Maxwell and her role in arranging these visits.

When Carolyn testified on Tuesday, she gave detailed descriptions of the abuse she endured as a 14-year-old that began with massages of Epstein arranged by Maxwell and developed into sexual activity with the billionaire as well as “group encounters.” 

A third witness, Nicole Hesse, testified that she worked part-time at Epstein’s Palm Beach house for a year between 2003 and 2004 and had taken messages on a pad near the telephone which included calls from Carolyn.

The fourth witness was David Rogers, a former pilot on Epstein’s private jet, who confirmed that Maxwell was a passenger on many trips between the convicted sex offender’s properties. Rogers said that Maxwell was on the plane along with Virginia Roberts and another Epstein victim, “Jane,” between 1996 and 2001.

Jane was the first of the Epstein accusers to testify in the Maxwell trial last week. Although she lived in Palm Beach, Florida, Jane originally met Epstein and Maxwell while she was an eighth grader attending Interlochen music camp in Michigan in 1994. Jane said that Maxwell cultivated the relationship with her and groomed her for eventual sexual contact with Epstein in exchange for expensive gifts and promises to meet some of the famous people that they were friends with.

“Kate,” the second Epstein accuser, testified on Monday and said she also met Maxwell as a teenager in London. Kate said of Maxwell, “I felt that I had found a new connection that could be really meaningful to me. I was really happy that we had connected, and she seemed as excited as I was to have a new friend.”

Shortly thereafter, Kate was introduced to Epstein as a “philanthropist” who helped young people. She encountered Epstein for the first time in a “dimly lit” room in Maxwell’s house in the Belgravia neighborhood of the UK city. What started with Maxwell suggested that Kate give Epstein a foot massage quickly transitioned into sexual relations. Kate testified, “I didn’t know how to say no.” She followed Maxwell’s instructions saying she did not know what the “consequences” would be if she refused.

As with the previous witness testimony, Maxwell’s defense attorneys attempted to undermine the credibility of Kate by insinuating that she had an ulterior motive for the sexual contact with Epstein. The defense lawyers also tried to smear the witness by referring to Kate’s history of alcohol, cocaine and sleeping pills, to which the witness said she was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol when she was around Epstein and Maxwell and that she had no problem remembering exactly what happened to her.