A witness testifying under the pseudonym ‘Jane’ has appeared in court (Picture: Reuters)
The first of four women who have accused Ghislaine Maxwell of trafficking them for sexual abuse has taken to the stand during the British socialite’s trial in New York.
Testifying under the pseudonym ‘Jane’, the woman in her early 40s said Maxwell was often in the room when she had sexual interactions with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The witness accused Maxwell of grooming her when she was just 14 and detailed sexual encounters that occurred between 1994 and 1997.
She said Maxwell instructed her on how to give Epstein sexual massages and sometimes physically participated.
Epstein was also said to have masturbated in front of the witness after the then couple befriended her with shopping trips and invitations to their Florida home.
Maxwell is on trial accused of recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to at least 2004.
‘Jane’ told the jury Maxwell was ‘very casual’ and acted ‘like it was no big deal’ during the sexual encounters.
She didn’t look at her except when asked to identify the women she was talking about, at which point she pointed at Maxwell in the dock.
Maxwell has been accused of recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein to sexually abuse (Picture: AP)
Maxwell herself listened to the testimony while maintaining a steady gaze at the witness, and occasionally writing notes which she passed to her lawyers.
Jane said she first met Epstein and Maxwell in 1994 when she was attending a music camp while training to be a singer.
She said she was eating ice cream with friends when Maxwell approached with a Yorkshire Terrier, attracting their attention.
After her friends left, she spoke with Epstein, who had then arrived and introduced himself as a donor. They discovered that they both lived in Palm Beach, Florida, she said.
Epstein and Maxwell were said to have befriended the alleged victim (Picture: Getty)
The woman and her mother soon received an invitation to Epstein’s home and although her mother was not included in subsequent invites, she remained ‘very impressed and enamored with the wealth, the affluence,’ and believed Maxwell and Epstein must really think her daughter was special, the woman testified.
Soon, Epstein and Maxwell were taking her shopping for clothes, including underwear from Victoria’s Secret, and asking about her life.
The cycle of abuse started when Epstein abruptly took her by hand one day and said, ‘Follow me,’ before taking her to a pool house at the home. Then he pulled down his pants, pulled her close and ‘proceeded to masturbate,’ she said.
‘I was frozen in fear,’ she said. ‘I’d never see a penis before…I was terrified and felt gross and felt ashamed.’
Maxwell listened to the testimony while maintaining a steady gaze at the witness (Picture: AP)
Another time, she was taken to a massage room where he and Maxwell both took advantage of her, she said.
‘There were hands everywhere and Jeffrey proceeded to masturbate again,’ she said.
Other encounters involved sex toys or turned into oral sex ‘orgies’ with other young women and Maxwell, she added.
Defence lawyer Laura Menninger asked the witness why she waited more than 20 years to report the alleged abuse by Maxwell.
Epstein killed himself in jail while awaiting trial (Picture: AP)
She also asked why, when talking about Epstein’s behaviour with friends and family, she had never before mentioned Maxwell – to which the witness said ‘I don’t know.’
The woman admitted that she was awarded $5 million from a fund set up to compensate victims of Epstein and received $2.9 million once lawyer fees and expenses were deducted.
Maxwell, who has been held in prison since her July 2020 arrest, could face a long sentence if found guilty.
Prosecutors are hoping to prove that Epstein and Maxwell were ‘partners in crime’ but her lawyers claim she is being made a scapegoat for Epstien, who killed himself in jail while awaiting trial.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Earlier Tuesday, a former pilot for Epstein testified that he never saw evidence of sexual activity on planes as he flew his boss and others — including Prince Andrew and ex-presidents — for nearly three decades.
The trial continues.
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