Ex-employee testifies Maxwell told him 'not to look Epstein in the eye'

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A former house manager for Jeffrey Epstein's Palm Beach, Fla., property testified on Thursday that Ghislaine Maxwell introduced herself as the "lady of the house" and told him never to look the now-deceased financier in the eye.

Juan Alessi testified on day four of Ghislaine Maxwell's sexual trafficking trial that she was with Epstein "95 percent of the time" he was at the property, Reuters reported.

He referred to Maxwell as "the girlfriend of Mr. Epstein."

"Ms Maxwell was the girlfriend of Mr Epstein, I understand she was the lady of the house," Alessi said, according to Reuters.

"From the day she came to the house, she right away took over, and she mentioned to me she was going to be the lady of the house."

Maxwell also told him she was in charge of and managed other homes, Alessi testified.

Alessi, 71, worked full-time for Epstein from 1991 to 2002, Reuters added.

The British socialite, who is on trial on charges related to her alleged participation in Epstein's sexual abuse of minor girls, has pleaded not guilty on all charges.

Alessi described Maxwell as "pretty girl, a tall brunette," per The Guardian.

When asked by prosecutor Maurene Comey if Maxwell told him anything regarding speaking directly with Epstein, Alessi added, "Only I was supposed to speak with Mr. Epstein when he asked me questions."

"At the end of my stay, there was a time when she says: 'Jeffrey doesn't like to be looked at [in] his eyes,'" he said according to The Guardian.

Alessi said Maxwell told him, "'You should never look at his eyes. Just look at another part of the room and answer to him.'"

He also spoke about the steps the staff undertook in anticipation of Epstein's arrival.

Staff would then undertake "extensive preparation" that included cleaning the house, changing sheets in Epstein's bedroom and all the guest rooms, doing the shopping, and making sure Epstein's cars he kept at the property were stocked with cash - specifically "100-dollar bills in every car," Alessi testified, per Rolling Stone magazine.

He added that Maxwell and Epstein "ran the house like a five-star hotel."

Prosecutors are hoping to establish a firm connection between Epstein and Maxwell, whom they've described as "partners in crime."

An expert witness, psychologist Lisa Rocchio, testified earlier in the day about how underage victims of sexual abuse have often been "groomed" by perpetrators they know well, Reuters said.

This comes as the first of four accusers took the stand on Wednesday to talk about the extent of the abuse she suffered allegedly at the hand of Maxwell and Epstein.

Maxwell's lawyer Bobbi C. Sternheim argued in opening statements that the British socialite is being made a "scapegoat for a man who behaved badly."

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