Ghislaine Maxwell trial: Most explosive revelations from inside the courtroom

·32 min read
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell  (Supplied)
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (Supplied)

The Ghislaine Maxwell trial began with a sentence that attempted to distill the complex case which spans decades and jurisdictions, and pierces the normally secretive world of America’s ultra wealthy elite.

“I want to tell you about a young girl named Jane,” prosecutor Lara Pomerantz told the jury of five men and seven women.

The US federal government’s case against Ms Maxwell, 59, centres around her decades-long relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. It alleges she operated as his enabler in luring vulnerable teenage girls with promises of scholarships, attention and financial assistance for their families, and coerced them into becoming objects for his sexual gratification.

This later expanded to a “pyramid scheme of abuse”, according to prosecutors, in which young girls already in Epstein’s orbit would offer to recruit classmates and friends with the promise of easy money.

Ms Maxwell faces six charges: one each of enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in illegal sex acts, sex trafficking of a minor, and three counts of conspiracy related to the other counts.

She has denied all the charges. Epstein died at age 66 while awaiting trial.

After 12 days of testimony, the case landed in the hands of 12 jurors who will decide Ms Maxwell’s fate on 20 December.

Day one: A tale of two opening arguments

US Attorney Lara Pomerantz gives her opening prosecution statement while pointing to defendant Ghislaine Maxwell (AP)
US Attorney Lara Pomerantz gives her opening prosecution statement while pointing to defendant Ghislaine Maxwell (AP)

Opening arguments began on 29 November with prosecutor Lara Pomerantz portraying Ms Maxwell as a predator who manipulated young girls and “served them up to be sexually abused”.

“They made these girls feel seen,” she said, seemingly adopting the youthful language of the teenagers she was describing.

From behind a plastic box in the middle of the federal courthouse in downtown Manhattan, Ms Pomerantz thrust out an arm as she pointed Ms Maxwell out to the jury.

The prosecution’s strategy soon became apparent, as Ms Pomerantz repeated Epstein’s name time and again, and used the phrase “the defendant and Epstein” more than a dozen more times.

Follow the latest updates in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial

Epstein has become an emblem of evil in the years since his arrest on underage sex abuse and trafficking charges. He and Ms Maxwell, the “older, purportedly respectable woman”, were “partners in crime”, equally culpable in the prosecution’s telling for the unspeakable crimes that had allegedly been committed.

Even though Ms Maxwell was the only individual on trial, she would serve as Epstein’s proxy, after many saw the 66-year-old’s suicide in prison while awaiting trial as another escape from justice.

Defence attorney Bobbi Sternheim opened with fire and brimstone, using a biblical reference to Adam and Eve to argue that women had been blamed for the evils of men ever since the Garden of Eden.

Jeffrey Epstein pictured in front of one of his private jets (Court documents)
Jeffrey Epstein pictured in front of one of his private jets (Court documents)

“The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are for things that Jeffrey Epstein did, but she is not Jeffrey Epstein,” Ms Sternheim said.

Ms Sternheim also made a puzzling reference to James Bond, telling the court of Epstein: “In many regards, he was like a 21st-century James Bond. His mystery has stirred interest.”

She made a point of saying the four defence lawyers, who are being paid as much as $7m, are proud to represent the much-maligned 59-year-old.

The case would hinge on three things; Memory, manipulation and money.

Ms Sternheim had her own story to tell about a young girl named Jane, who she revealed was a successful actor now in her early 40s who had appeared in soap operas, movies, and reality TV shows.

“She is a consummate actress. She is a pro at playing roles. And as her scripts and characters change, so has her story that you will hear in this courtroom,” Ms Sternheim said.

She went on to attack the credibility of the other three accusers, Annie Farmer, and two others who like Jane would testify under the pseudonyms Kate and Carolyn.

Ms Sternheim claimed each had changed their story over the years under duress from the FBI or in the hope of securing a payout from a victim’s fund set up by Epstein’s estate after he died.

She listed the exact dollar figure payouts the women had received, ranging from $1.5m to $5m, before legal fees were factored in.

Towards the end of the day, the prosecution called its first witness – Epstein’s longtime personal pilot Larry Visoski.

Day two: The pilot and the paedophile

Larry Visoski worked as Epstein’s personal pilot for 25 years (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Larry Visoski worked as Epstein’s personal pilot for 25 years (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mr Visoski resumed his testimony on 30 November, telling of flying Epstein and a coterie of famous individuals all over the globe in two of Epstein’s personal private jets, a Gulfstream G550, and a Boeing 727.

Former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, disgraced actor Kevin Spacey and Prince Andrew all flew aboard the so-called Lolita Express, a nickname given to the larger Boeing plane purchased by Epstein in 2000, according the pilot’s testimony.

As well as being a pilot, Mr Visoski enjoyed a 25-year friendship with Epstein and offered a revealing glimpse inside the late paedophile’s homes and routines.

Epstein was constantly on the move between mansions in New York, Palm Beach, New Mexico, his private island in the US Virgin Islands, Little Saint James, and his apartment in Paris, the pilot said.

The interior of one of Epstein’s planes (Court documents)
The interior of one of Epstein’s planes (Court documents)

Mr Visoski took the jurors on a tour of each of Epstein’s opulent homes, describing in detail the layouts, features and character of each based on the numerous times he had stayed in them over the years, and the fact he had installed home entertainment systems and movie theatres in each.

Mr Visoski also flew helicopters for Epstein. When bringing Epstein and guests to the Virgin Islands, he would fly the jet into the main island of St Thomas and then transport the passengers the roughly 18 kms by helicopter, landing on a private helipad on the island. Ms Maxwell would also fly the helicopter on occasion, he said.

Mr Visoski also remembered flying Jane, who he said appeared to be a “mature woman” with “piercing blue powder eyes”.

He also denied ever seeing any sexual impropriety either on flights or in Epstein’s homes. As the father of two girls who met and spent time with Epstein and Ms Maxwell, he said he would have quit his job and made sure his daughters never saw them again had he been aware of the abuse of minors.

Day two afternoon session: ‘Jane’ takes the stand

Witness
Witness

Striding confidently to the witness box on the afternoon of 30 November, Jane removed her mask only after Judge Alison Nathan had ordered the court sketchers they were not to draw her likeness.

Her testimony began with her meeting Epstein and Ms Maxwell aged 14 at the Interlochin Center for the Arts, a summer school in Michigan for gifted musicians and actors.

Jane said Epstein told her he was a major donor to the school that gave out scholarships to gifted arts students.

“He seemed very interested to know what I thought about the camp, what my favourite classes were.”

When they heard Jane was also from Palm Beach Florida, where Epstein owned a waterfront mansion, he asked for her mother’s phone number.

Jane told how she was grieving the death of her father, a renowned composer, seven months earlier. The death had forced the family to sell its home, and she was sleeping in a bed with her mother in a pool house at a friend’s house at the time she met Epstein.

On her first few visits she was dazzled by the palatial mansion, and says Epstein would boast about his money and connections.

Epstein’s Zorro Ranch property in New Mexico (Court documents)
Epstein’s Zorro Ranch property in New Mexico (Court documents)

Ms Maxwell was a quirky, sisterly figure, who occasionally shocked Jane by bathing topless and telling her vulgar stories, she said.

Jane testified that the sexual abuse first took place when she was alone with Epstein, and later graduated to involve Ms Maxwell, and later on other, older women.

She said she was flown in Epstein’s private jet to New York and Santa Fe, where she was forced to perform sadomaschistic sex acts on Epstein.

When prosecutor Alison Moe asked how the abuse had affected her, she said: “How do you navigate a healthy relationship with a broken compass? I didn’t even understand what real love is supposed to look like.”

Jane’s marathon cross-examination from Laura Menninger, which alleged she had repeatedly changed her story, and was motivated by financial gain, began late on Tuesday afternoon.

Day three: Defence attorneys attempt to punch holes in Jane’s testimony, and reveal Mar-a-Lago meeting with Trump

Epstein and his former personal assistant Sarah Kellen (US Department of Justice)
Epstein and his former personal assistant Sarah Kellen (US Department of Justice)

Jane’s recollections of Ms Maxwell’s involvement in her sexual abuse came under an hours-long attack during aggressive cross-examination from Ms Menninger on 1 December.

Ms Menninger repeatedly confronted Jane with statements she had made to the FBI over more than 10 interviews between 2019 and 2021, drilling down into alleged inconsistencies between the interviews and Jane’s testimony in court.

The attorney said law enforcement notes of conversations suggested Jane was uncertain over whether Ms Maxwell had actually touched or kissed her, contrasting them to the vivid account she gave the jury of the socialite’s alleged participation in sexualised massages and abuse with Epstein.

The testimony became a stop-start affair as Ms Moe, for the prosecution, made a string of objections. She claimed the defence was deliberately trying to confuse Jane with a vague line of questioning that didn’t clearly state whether she was being asked to recall a memory or what she had told the FBI.

Jane remained largely composed, delivering repeated “I don’t recall” responses to the defence’s questioning. “Memory is not linear,” she added.

Ms Menninger sought to portray her courtroom testimony as yet another acting role in Jane’s career.

She asked Jane about her role on a long-running television soap opera, and described the many plot lines the character had been involved in, including being stalked by a serial killer, working as a prostitute and taking down a Mexican drug cartel.

When the prosecution was able to question Jane again, Ms Moe asked her if she was “acting here today”.

Recalling her first interview with the FBI, Jane said it had been difficult to tell a roomful of strangers “the most shameful, deepest secrets that I’ve been carrying around with me my whole life”.

She broke down as she told how she had gradually become more comfortable recounting her story, and began to feel like she could trust government investigators.

“This is something that I have been running from my entire life. I’m just tired of it,” she said.

Ms Menninger had asked Jane about a trip she took with Epstein to Mar-a-Lago when she was 14 years old.

Ms Meninger continued: “He took you in a dark green car, and you met Donald Trump, correct?”

“Yes,” Jane replied.

Ms Menninger asked if Jane could recall being on Epstein’s private planes with a “number of individuals”, including Prince Andrew, which Jane said was accurate.

She said she also met Epstein’s brother Mark Epstein and his former personal chef, Los Angeles-based celebrity chef Adam Perry Lang, on flights on his private jets.

Jane added that she was never ordered to have sex with Epstein’s associates or to recruit other girls.

Day four: Epstein’s Palm Beach housekeeper says Maxwell was ‘the lady of the house’

Ghislaine Maxwell was described as the ‘lady of the house’ (PA Media)
Ghislaine Maxwell was described as the ‘lady of the house’ (PA Media)

Juan Alessi, who helped run Epstein’s Palm Beach estate from 1991 to 2002, took the stand on 2 December and made a series of stunning revelations about the inner workings of the waterfront mansion at 358 El Brillo Way.

Mr Alessi - a live-in housekeeper who also acted as a cleaner, chef, driver and handyman at the property - said he initially enjoyed a cordial relationship with Epstein, but his wealthy boss grew more distant over the years, and handed over day-to-day running of the household to Ms Maxwell.

He told the jury of the “degrading” working conditions imposed on staff by the “lady of the house”.

She would sometimes give staff only a couple of hours notice that she and Epstein would be visiting, sending them into a panic as they would begin the “extensive preparation” stipulated in a 58-page household manual distributed to staff.

The tasks included making sure Epstein’s fleet of luxury vehicles were stocked with “100-dollar bills in every car”.

Under a section titled “Grooming and guest relations”, they were told: “See nothing, hear nothing, say nothing, except to answer a question directed to you.”

Mr Alessi said the 58-page booklet was “a kind of warning that I was supposed to be blind, deaf and dumb, to say nothing of their lives”.

Staff were told not to look at Epstein when they spoke to him.

Under questioning from prosecutor Maurene Comey, Alessi told how Epstein would receive three massages a day from different women - in the morning, afternoon and late at night.

He would often find sex toys wile cleaning up after Epstein’s massages.

“I remember finding a large dildo,” Mr Alessi told the court. “It looked like a huge man’s penis with two heads.”

He would wash the sex toys and place them in a basket which also contained pornographic tapes and a leather black costume.

Mr Alessi was also able to corroborate key parts of the testimony heard earlier in the trial from the witness known as Jane.

He testified that he picked up Jane from outside her school and home and drove her to the Palm Beach estate. This took place sometime around 1994 he said, and Jane would have been 14 years old.

Day five: Epstein had photos of Maxwell removed before entertaining female guests

Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein at a black tie event (US District Attorney’s Office)
Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein at a black tie event (US District Attorney’s Office)

Cross examination of Mr Alessi continued on 3 December with defence attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca asking about an order given by Epstein to remove all photos of Ms Maxwell before he hosted other female guests.

“You never told Ms Maxwell about removing the other pictures?” asked Mr Pagliuca. “It was a secret between you and Mr Epstein.”

“It was not a secret, it was a mandate,” Mr Alessi replied, becoming increasingly agitated. “(Epstein) never shared any of his personal life with me … he never suggested, implied anything.”

Asked why he thought he was told to take the pictures down, Mr Alessi responded: “I have no idea.”

Mr Pagliuca tried to point out alleged inconsistencies between Mr Alessi’s testimony in court and previous sworn statements in civil cases involving Epstein.

Citing a deposition taken in 2016, Mr Pagliuca pointed out Mr Alessi had stated he had first met Jane in much later than 1994.

Mr Alessi said he had confused Jane with another young girl who had visited the property.

He also described Ms Maxwell’s fondness for photography, saying: “She took pictures of everything.”

There were photos of Epstein and Maxwell with Pope John Paul II, Fidel Castro and Bill Clinton on display around the property, he said.

A prosecution detective, left, shows a massage table recovered from Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach home (Elizabeth Williams via AP) (AP)
A prosecution detective, left, shows a massage table recovered from Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach home (Elizabeth Williams via AP) (AP)

Mr Pagliuca was admonished by Judge Nathan after referring to the witness known as Jane by her real name.

“You must carefully abide by my ruling,” the judge said, striking the name from the record.

Late in the day’s proceedings, Epstein’s infamous massage table was introduced into evidence.

The green table, confiscated by law enforcement from Epstein’s mansion in 2005, was brought into the courtroom and shown to the jury.

The jury were earlier shown a police video of a raid on the Palm Beach property on 20 October 2005.

Day six: Second accuser ‘Kate’ describes being told to dress in schoolgirl outfit to give Epstein sexualised massages

Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were ‘partners in crime’, the prosecutors allege (US District Attorney’s Office)
Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were ‘partners in crime’, the prosecutors allege (US District Attorney’s Office)

A second accuser under the pseudonym “Kate” began her testimony on 6 December, and described being told by Ms Maxwell to dress in a schoolgirl’s outfit before giving Epstein a massage at his Palm Beach residence.

The now 44-year-old British woman told the court she had first given sexual massages to Epstein at the age of 17 at Ms Maxwell’s townhome in Belgravia, London.

Kate said on a later trip to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion she found a schoolgirl’s uniform had been left on a bed in her room consisting of a short white pleated-skirt, shirt, underwear and socks.

She said she asked Ms Maxwell “what was happening with the clothes in my room”.

“And she said, ‘I thought it would be good for you to take Jeffrey his tea in these clothes’.”

“I didn’t know how to say no,” Kate said. “She told me I was such a good girl, and that I was one of his favourites.”

Kate said she continued to see Epstein into her 30s, and that she was fearful of “disengaging” because of how well-connected he and Ms Maxwell were.

Ghislaine Maxwell would boast of her connections to wealthy, powerful individuals (REUTERS)
Ghislaine Maxwell would boast of her connections to wealthy, powerful individuals (REUTERS)

“She seemed to know everybody and she told me she was friends with Prince Andrew, friends with Donald Trump, friends with lots of famous people and their names would sometimes just come up.”

Kate was over the age of consent in Britain at the time she met Epstein, and Judge Nathan instructed the jury before her testimony that any sexual encounters she described were not “illegal sex acts”.

Prosecutors used Kate’s testimony to corroborate patterns in Epstein’s and Ms Maxwell’s behaviour, by showing that the older socialite would “groom” them for abuse.

Under questioning from Ms Pomerantz, Kate recalled meeting Ms Maxwell aged about 17 on a trip to Paris with her boyfriend at the time, who was in his mid-30s.

Kate testified that Ms Maxwell was “sophisticated and elegant”, and asked her a lot of questions about her life. She went to Ms Maxwell’s townhouse in the upmarket London suburb of Belgravia a few weeks later for tea.

Kate testified that she felt like she had found a “new connection that could be really meaningful to me”.

“She told me lots of amazing things about her boyfriend, she said that he was a philanthropist and that he liked to help young people and that at some point it would be really wonderful for me to meet him.

A few weeks later, Ms Maxwell called her again to say Epstein was in town and she should come back to her home.

After her initial meeting with Epstein, Kate testified that she was called back to the property a few weeks later when she was told a massage therapist had cancelled an appointment.

“She led me up the stairs,” Kate said, and into a dimly lit room with a massage table and towels where Epstein was waiting. He took off his robe, and was naked, as she entered.

Ms Maxwell handed her some massage oil and closed the door, leaving the two of them alone, Kate said.

She said Epstein initiated sexual contact, as he would on every occasion she gave him a massage.

Afterwards, Ms Maxwell asked her how it went and if she had fun.

“She seemed very excited and was happy.”

Kate said she returned again to the Maxwell property a few weeks later where she again gave Epstein a sexualised massage.

“Afterwards she said, ‘Did you have fun, you are such a good girl, he obviously likes you a lot’. She sounded really pleased, and I was pleased that she was pleased.”

Over the next few years Kate travelled to Epstein’s in Palm Beach and his island in the US Virgin Islands “sporadically”.

Kate said Ms Maxwell told her that Epstein was “demanding” and “needed sex about three times a day”.

When Ms Maxwell discussed sex with her it was “almost like a schoolgirl”.

“I almost felt like she was talking like she was younger than me which was odd. Everything was silly, everything was very exciting, everything seemed to be like a fun, silly joke.”

She told how she was given a black Prada handbag on her 18th birthday “from Ghislaine and Jeffrey”.

Kate said Ms Maxwell confided in her about her wealth, saying as well as the London townhouse she also owned a property in New York, and “Jeffrey got it for her”.

Kate said she continued to visit Epstein even after losing contact with Ms Maxwell, and saw him as many as five times a year into her 30s.

The sexual contact stopped in her early 30s after she had her first child, she said.

“I was fearful of disengaging because I understood how connected they both were.”

Kate told Ms Pomerantz she had abused cocaine, sleeping pills and alcohol at the time she knew Epstein, but that it hadn’t affected her memory.

“The memories I have of significant events in my life have never changed.”

She received a $3.2m payout from the Epstein compensation fund, some of which went towards legal fees.

Under cross-examination from Ms Sternheim, Kate said she had never taken drugs around Epstein as it was forbidden.

Kate agreed she had continued to correspond with Epstein even after his imprisonment for underage sex offences in Florida in the late 2000s, signing off an email “best love always, Kate”.

Day seven: Third accuser says Maxwell would inspect her body for ‘Epstein and friends’

Jeffrey Epstein Maxwell Trial (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Jeffrey Epstein Maxwell Trial (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

On 7 December, a third accuser testifying under her first name Carolyn said she gave Epstein more than 100 sexualised massages at the Palm Beach estate beginning when she was about 14.

Carolyn described being groped by Ms Maxwell in the massage room at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion, saying: “She came in and felt my boobs, my hips and my buttocks, and said that ... I had a great body for Mr Epstein and his friends. She said that I had a great body type.”

She told the court she had endured an abusive and dysfunctional childhood; her mother was an alcoholic and she had been sexually abused by her grandfather from the age of four.

She said she was introduced to Epstein through Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, who suggested Carolyn could make easy money from an older male friend of hers.

Carolyn said Ms Roberts-Giuffre dressed her “provocatively” and drove them to her first visit to the Palm Beach mansion.

She said Ms Roberts-Giuffre, who was about 18, taught her how to prepare the massage table and oils, and showed her how Epstein liked to be massaged.

She said she witnessed Epstein and Ms Roberts-Giuffre in a sex act during the first massage, and she was paid $300 in hundred dollar bills.

After the first visit, she said Ms Maxwell arranged for her to come to Epstein’s Palm Beach estate alone by calling her, her boyfriend or her mother.

Ms Maxwell had wanted to take her to Epstein’s private island, but Carolyn told her she was only 14 and there was “no way in hell” her mother would let her travel overseas.

Carolyn said she confided in Ms Maxwell and Epstein about the abuse she had suffered as a toddler.

Maxwell kisses Epstein on the cheek in a photo released by prosecutors (US District Attorney’s Office)
Maxwell kisses Epstein on the cheek in a photo released by prosecutors (US District Attorney’s Office)

As well as money she said she was given gifts of Victoria Secret lingerie, tickets to see the band Incubus and a copy of “a massage book for dummies” as she wanted to become a massage therapist.

She said Epstein asked her to recruit other young girls to give him sexualised massages.

“He asked me if I had any friends that were my age or younger, and I told him that I didn’t hang out with younger people but I did have some friends that I could ask.”

Carolyn said when she brought a friend to Epstein’s house she was paid $600, and her friend received $300. She said she got extra because she’d brought the friend.

On another occasion, she testified she was photographed naked by another Epstein assistant Sarah Kellen. She was paid $500-$600 for the photos, she said.

Carolyn said she used the money to buy drugs and alcohol, and became addicted to opioids and cocaine.

In cross examination, Mr Pagliuca questioned Carolyn about a 2009 civil lawsuit in which she sued Epstein and his former assistant Ms Kellen.

She said she hadn’t read the complaint before her lawyers filed it, and had trouble recalling sitting for a sworn deposition.

Mr Pagliuca also asked Carolyn about a 2007 FBI interview where she hadn’t once referred to Ms Maxwell. She replied that Ms Maxwell was not raised with her, as the interview was about Epstein.

Carolyn also conceded she had told the FBI that it was Epstein who had arranged her second visit to the Palm Beach residence. “A lot of it runs together because I have gone there so many times,” she said.

Carolyn said she had received a payout of between $1m and $3m from a victim compensation fund set up by Epstein’s estate.

Pictured: Epstein and Maxwell at Balmoral

Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein, which has been shown to the court during the sex trafficking trial of Maxwell (US Department of Justice/PA) (PA Media)
Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein, which has been shown to the court during the sex trafficking trial of Maxwell (US Department of Justice/PA) (PA Media)

Prosecutors showed 19 intimate photos of Maxwell and Epstein to the jury, including one of the pair cozying up to each other at a log cabin on the Queen’s Balmoral estate.

The images were recovered from CDs during a raid on Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse in 2019.

The image, believed to have been taken in 1999, shows Epstein and Ms Maxwell lounging on a bench on the deck of a log cabin on the grounds of the sprawling royal home in the Scottish Highlands.

Epstein’s arm is outstretched on the bench behind Ms Maxwell, who has one of her hands draped across his legs.

A separate photo shows the Queen in the exact same spot with a plate balanced on her knee, and a red-coloured beverage with a slice of lemon nearby.

It had previously been reported that Prince Andrew took the pair to Balmoral in 1999.

In other photos Ms Maxwell massages Epstein’s feet aboard a private plane, and they kiss and embrace in exotic locations around the world.

Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were ‘partners in crime’, the prosecutors allege (US District Attorney’s Office)
Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were ‘partners in crime’, the prosecutors allege (US District Attorney’s Office)

Day eight: Second pilot testifies that he flew accusers in private jet

On 8 December, Epstein’s longtime chief pilot David Rodgers recalled how he flew Epstein on thousands of flights between 1991 and 2019, and Ms Maxwell joined him on hundreds of those trips.

Mr Rodgers said his flight logs showed Ms Maxwell and Epstein had travelled on the disgraced financier’s recently-purchased Hawker Siddeley HS 125 on 26 July 1991 from Wilmington, Delaware, to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. This was Epstein’s first flight as a private jet owner.

Flight logs were entered into evidence, but passenger names had been redacted.

Mr Rodgers described Ms Maxwell as Epstein’s “Number 2”, and said she oversaw all of the pilots employed by Epstein, approving their vacations and expenses.

He said the pair were “romantically involved” during his first years working for Epstein, but the relationship ended and Ms Maxwell became his property manager.

An undated photo of Epstein with Ms Maxwell on a plane (US District Attorney’s Office)
An undated photo of Epstein with Ms Maxwell on a plane (US District Attorney’s Office)

Unlike the prosecution’s first witness Larry Visoski, Epstein’s pilot for 25 years, Mr Rodgers did not name any of the famous celebrities, politicians or musicians that were among his passengers.

Mr Rodgers also flew Epstein’s Gulfstream jet, which was purchased in 1994, and a Boeing 727 plane, that became known as the “Lolita Express”.

He recalled seeing the first accuser in Ms Maxwell’s trial, an actor who testified under the pseudonym Jane, for the first time in 1996.

He said he knew the date from his flight logs, as Jane’s real first name was written there.

He also flew Epstein to Traverse City Airport in Michigan about seven times when the late paedophile would visit Interlochen Center for the Arts.

It was at Interlochen that Jane testified she first met Epstein and Ms Maxwell when she was on a summer camp there in 1994 aged 14. She testified that she was sexually abused for years by Epstein.

During cross examination, Christian Everdell asked the pilot if he might have confused the date he first met Jane, as there was another woman in Epstein’s staff who shared her real first name.

Mr Rodgers said he was able to walk freely into the cabins during flights and never saw any signs of sexual activity, and was unaware of any girls under the age of 17 flying unaccompanied by a parent or guardian.

Ms Maxwell also flew on the second flight from Teterboro to Palm Beach International Airport on 26 July, and on dozens of other occasions to locations around the world.

Mr Rodgers testified that he flew Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the most prominent of Epstein’s accusers but not among those to testify in Ms Maxwell’s trial, more than 30 times.

Ms Maxwell’s father, the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, died in mysterious circumstances in November 1991 after falling off his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine.

Mr Rodgers said after her father’s death, Ms Maxwell moved from her “very large residence” on 59th St on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to a small studio apartment on 84th St.

Ms Maxwell’s defence attorneys objected to the pilot’s testimony that the socialite had been forced to “downsize” after her father’s death, but prosecutor Maurene Comey said the account “goes to motive” and she was allowed to proceed by Judge Alison Nathan.

Ms Maxwell later moved into a large five-storey townhouse in the late 1990s, the pilot said.

Day nine: Fourth accuser Annie Farmer describes being groped by Maxwell during massage at Epstein ranch

Annie Farmer took the stand on 10 December and described how Ms Maxwell allegedly groped her breasts during a sexualised massage at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch when she was 16.

Ms Farmer, the only accuser to testify under her real name, alleged she was pressured to accept a massage from Ms Maxwell and was also subjected to unwanted sexual touching by Epstein while staying at the sprawling Santa Fe property.

The pair lured her to come alone by feigning interest in her studies and on the promise of funding her college fees, and lavished expensive gifts of tickets to Broadway shows, international flights and cowboy boots, she said.

Ms Farmer described a trip to New York in late 1995 to visit her sister Maria and meet her boss, Epstein.

“She had said that Epstein was interested in possibly helping me with my education and this was one of the reasons that he was purchasing the ticket,” Ms Farmer said.

Under questioning from Ms Pomerantz, she described visiting Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, him buying her tickets to see Phantom of the Opera, and being impressed with how “down to earth” he was.

But during a trip to the movies, she said she became anxious and nervous after Epstein began caressing her arms and rubbing her feet and legs.

Reading from a journal she wrote at the time, Ms Farmer said she was conflicted about how to feel about the encounter, and tried to brush it off as she didn’t want to upset her sister.

In April 1996, Epstein invited Ms Farmer to his “Zorro” ranch near Santa Fe claiming he wanted to pay for her college study and future overseas travel, she said.

Ms Farmer said she still felt awkward towards Epstein but was comforted by the fact Ms Maxwell would also be there.

During the trip, she said Ms Maxwell began showing her how to massage Epstein’s feet.

Ms Maxwell encouraged her to accept a massage, and took her into a room where a massage table was set up and told her to take off her clothes.

“She pulled the sheet down and exposed my breasts and started rubbing on my breasts,” Ms Farmer told the jury. “Once she pulled down the sheet I felt kind of frozen. It didn’t make sense to me that that would happen. I so badly wanted to get off the table and have the massage be done.”

The next morning she said Epstein “bounded” into her room and got into bed next to her and asked if she wanted to cuddle. She said Epstein pressed up against her, and she again felt “kind of frozen”. She said she got up to go to the bathroom and closed the door behind her, and waited until Epstein left.

That day Ms Maxwell appeared disinterested in talking about her academic studies, she testified. She said she had been left emotionally scarred by the experience, and hadn’t written anything about the New Mexico trip into her journal.

The prosecution rested its case shortly after Ms Farmer’s testimony.

Day 10: Defence case begins with revelation Epstein dated Norwegian heiress while in relationship with Maxwell

After a three-day hiatus, the defence opened its case on 16 December with testimony from three witnesses - including one who revealed Epstein was romantically involved with a wealthy Norwegian businesswoman while he was dating Ms Maxwell.

Cimberly Espinosa, who was Ms Maxwell’s assistant between 1996 and 2002, recalled seeing a procession of young women turn up to Epstein’s Madison Avenue office including Celina Midelfart, a Norwegian cosmetics heiress who also once dated Donald Trump.

Ms Espinosa, 55, said she ordered flowers for Ms Midelfart on Epstein’s instructions during the late 1990s when he was also in a relationship with Ms Maxwell.

Christian Everdell, for the defence, asked if she thought Epstein and Ms Midelfart were together.

“I felt they were a couple,” Ms Espinosa replied, adding it could have been “concurrent for a little bit of time” during the period Ms Maxwell and Epstein were dating.

Ms Espinosa said even though she was Ms Maxwell’s assistant, the socialite was apparently not aware she had purchased flowers for Ms Midelfart.

She also recalled Gwendolyn Beck, a former girlfriend of Epstein’s, and Shelley Lewis, visiting Epstein’s Madison Avenue office.

Ms Espinosa also testified that she met a key accuser in the case – who gave evidence under the pseudonym “Jane” – when she visited Epstein’s New York City office “a few times” in the late 1990s.

She said Jane appeared to be 18 years old, and recalled that Jane’s mother had told staff at the office she was Epstein’s goddaughter.

Because of the close connection, Jane “was treated with utmost respect”, Ms Espinosa said.

She said she was left with the impression “it was a loving relationship”, she added.

Asked about Ms Maxwell’s relationship with Epstein, Ms Espinosa said when she first started working for the socialite “they were a little flirty” and “behaved like a couple”.

Day 11: Maxwell declines to testify as Epstein’s ex-girlfriend describes relationship with the billionaire

Ms Maxwell rose to her feet to address Judge Nathan on the afternoon of December 17, finally answering a question that had lingered over her sex trafficking trial.

“Your honour, the Government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt so there is no need for me to testify.”

Her belief in her own innocence belied an at times shambolic defence case which lasted less than two days, as her attorneys struggled to locate witnesses and argued with prosecutors over the length of time they had been given to prepare. After suggesting they would call as many as 35 witnesses, Ms Maxwell’s defence called just eight.

Earlier in the day’s proceedings, the court heard testimony from Dr Eva Andersson-Dubin, a former Miss Sweden who said she had been in an on-off relationship with Epstein between 1983 and 1991.

She said she married billionaire financier Glenn Dubin in 1994 and the couple had three children, two girls now aged 27 and 20, and a boy who is now 25.

Defence counsel Jeffrey Pagliuca asked Ms Andersson-Dubin about her children’s relationship with Epstein.

She said all three children were fond of Epstein and called him “Uncle F”.

“Were you and Mr Dubin comfortable with the relationship between Mr Epstein and your children?” Mr Pagliuca asked.

“Yes we were.” she replied, adding she had never seen any inappropriate behaviour involving Epstein.

She was shown pictures of her two daughters with Epstein, which were not shown to the public. On both occasions she replied: “I have never seen this photo before.”

Mr Pagliuca then asked Ms Andersson-Dubin about private jet flights she had taken with Epstein in 1994, 1995 and 1998, and was shown flight logs from pilot David Rodgers.

She was shown a picture of “Jane”, the first accuser to give evidence for the prosecution. “I do not recall ever meeting this person,” she said.

Day 12: Contrasting closing arguments portray Maxwell as Epstein’s co-conspirator and his scapegoat

In closing arguments of the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the prosecution told the court that Ms Maxwell was a “dangerous ... grown woman who preyed on vulnerable kids” as the defence team argued that she was being blamed for Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes.

“She targeted a girl whose father had just died. She targeted a girl whose mother was an alcoholic,” Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe said.

Ms Moe said Ms Maxwell was a “sophisticated” predator who “caused deep and lasting harm to young girls. It is time to hold her accountable”.

“The proof is in. It’s clear. It’s consistent and it points to only one conclusion: Maxwell is guilty,” she added.

Ms Maxwell and Epstein “were partners in crime who exploited young girls together”, the assistant US attorney argued.

Laura Menninger, a defence lawyer for Ms Maxwell, said in her closing statement that she wasn’t there to defend Epstein. “He is not my client.”

She said the prosecution presented their evidence as if they were a sensational tabloid, with mentions of Epstein’s private island and private photos of Ms Maxwell and Epstein.

“These were things that Epstein did ... but Ghislaine Maxwell is not Epstein,” Ms Menninger said. The defence lawyer mentioned that there were 37,000 other photos not shown to the court by the prosecution.

“Who was in them? You don’t know. They didn’t bring you those photos. There were folders and binders. But they brought you the most innocuous photos of a couple that was once together,” she added.

She said the prosecution’s case was “straight-up sensationalism” and that there was a “lack of evidence”.

Ms Menninger added that the government had “certainly proved” that Epstein was a “master manipulator”. She then spoke of Ms Maxwell’s lifestyle before metting Epstein, suggesting that it might have been Epstein who needed her connections and and not the other way around.

The defence tried to portray the four accusers’ testimony as untrustworthy, with Ms Menninger saying they were motivated by the possibility of a payout from the victims’ fund operated by Epstein’s estate.

“Ghislaine is being tried here for being with Jeffrey Epstein. Maybe it was the biggest mistake of her life, but it’s not a crime. Acquit her,” Ms Menninger said.