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From Secret Flights To A Massage Table, Here’s Everything To Know About The Ghislaine Maxwell Trial

The first week has been incredibly emotional.

Ghislaine Maxwell, ex-lover of accused paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, is currently on trial in New York for her alleged involvement in grooming teenage girls for abuse. Spanning ten years from 1994-2004, the US socialite has pled ‘not guilty’ to all charges, but faces a maximum sentence of 80 years if convicted. 

The opening week of the ongoing trial has proven emotional, with emotional testimonies given from a number of alleged victims of both Epstein and Maxwell. While awaiting trial for a number of charges related to grooming and sex-trafficking in 2019, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell. The financier had been linked to a number of high profile people, including Prince Andrew and Donald Trump, which only escalated the high profile nature of the case even further. 

Maxwell’s attorneys are arguing that she is being scapegoated due to Epstein himself not being able to stand trial, with her defence lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim saying during his opening statement: 

“Ever since Eve has been blamed for tempting Adam with an apple, women have been blamed for things men have done… She is not Jeffrey Epstein. She is not anything like Jeffrey Epstein,” per The Guardian

The prosecution, on the other hand, are painting Ghislaine as a fully complicit part of the alleged sex ring operation. 

“She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused,” the prosecution alleged in their opening statement, per The BBC

Below, everything you need to know about the United States of America v Ghislaine Maxwell.


During the first week of Maxwell’s trial, Epstein’s private pilot, Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr, came forth to give his testimony, sharing a detailed account of the financiers unbelievable properties spanning across New Mexico, Paris, New York, and of course, his private island, Little St James (which has since been dubbed paedophile island). He spoke of Epstein’s seven-story townhouse in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the unique layouts of the house and his penchant for high-quality music that was so specific, he insisted on having movie-quality audio just for working out.

Visoski was careful with his answers, maintaining that he never knew of any sexual abuse during his time working for Epstein. When asked to describe Maxwell’s involvement in proceedings, Visoski labelled her as the “number two,” later referring to Epstein as “the big number one.” 

He did, however, confirm that he saw two very young women in the company of Epstein and Maxwell, one of whom was Virginia Roberts (who has filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew). and the other, anonymised as Jane, who came forth after Visoski to testify against Maxwell. 


“From the very beginning, there was a lot of bragging about how they were friends with essentially everyone, and they knew everyone,” Jane said, per The Guardian. “And they would sort of name-drop or sometimes put people on speakerphone whose voices I didn’t know and then say, ‘Oh, well, this is so-and-so and so-and-so’, and just, you know, say that they were very well-connected and affluent.”  

“I guess it made me feel slightly intimidated, but it was overwhelming,” she continued. 

Jane cried while taking the stand, finding it incredibly difficult to talk about her abuse. She claimed that it started when she was just 14, when Maxwell had shown her how Epstein liked to be massaged, and sometimes took part in the sexual encounters herself. 

“Ghislaine was very casual, acting like it wasn’t a big deal,” she said, per The BBC

Epstein has since become notorious for his ‘massages,’ with the collapsible green table seized from his Palm Beach mansion during  the 2005 police raid, brought out in court as evidence. Jane then went on to recall a sexual encounter with Epstein in his Palm Beach home when she was 14.

“He pulled me on top of himself and proceeded to masturbate on me,” Jane said. “I was terrified and felt gross and I felt ashamed.”

For years afterward, Jane said she stayed within Epstein’s orbit, travelling with him “maybe ten times” and visiting his New Mexico ranch and New York home, with a pilot of the financier’s confirming that he had seen her on board his private jet. 

The defence, however, poked holes in Jane’s account, honing in on the inconsistencies in her memories and her career as an actress, implying that this would make it easier for her to lie. 

“You are an actor who convincingly portrays someone else for a living,” the lawyer said. “You are able to cry on command.”

When asked if Jane was able to distinguish the difference between acting on television and acting on the stand, Jane replied: 

“Acting on television is not real and testifying in court is real and is the truth.”


Next to the stand was Juan Alessi, the house manager at Epstein’s Palm Beach estate. He confirmed that he had driven Jane to Epstein’s home on multiple occasions, describing her as one of the “many, many, many” young girls he saw in Epstein’s company during his time working for him. 

Alessia referred to Maxwell as the “lady of the house,” recalling a 58-page employee instruction manual made by Maxwell, which instructed them to keep everything seen and heard, a secret. 

“Remember that you see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing, except to answer a question directed at you,” the manual read. 

“I was supposed to be blind, deaf and dumb,” Mr Alessi told the court, per The BBC

He also recalled driving her, on occasion, to a number of spas to find new therapists for Epstein. According to The New York Posthe also recalled “finding a large dildo” following one of Epstein’s massage sessions, which he said he returned to its regular place — a storage basket containing Maxwell’s sex toys. 


The third accuser to take the stand is known as ‘Carolyn’ and claims she was 14 when the abuse from Epstein began. According to The GuardianCarolyn claims she was desperate for money at the time, dealing with an alcoholic mother, 17-year old boyfriend and sustained trauma from childhood sexual abuse. 

She alleged that Maxwell coordinated sexualised massages with Epstein, and was introduced to both him and Maxwell through Virginia Giuffre in the early 2000s. At one point, she claims that Maxwell assessed her naked body and touched parts of it, including her breasts. 

“Virginia asked me if I wanted to come make money,” Carolyn said during her testimony, but claims she wasn’t told how she would actually be earning said money. She alleged that Virginia took her to a room in Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion where she undressed, and asked Carolyn to do the same. Virginia was then said to have given Epstein a massage, before having sex with him. She then claims that $300 was left for her, at the end of the season. 

During her time on the stand, Carolyn became visibly emotional, claiming that she visited Epstein’s house ‘over 100’ times between the ages of 14-18, after which point she became “too old.” She said she needed the money for drugs, “Marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, anything that could block out … the appointment,” per The Guardian.

As time went on, she claimed that Epstein’s abuse came to include vaginal penetration and group sex. She also alleges that an Epstein associate took naked photos of her, but did not name them. 

The trial is currently ongoing and will resume on Monday morning, with proceedings expected to continue into mid-January. 

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