Ghislaine Maxwell's 58-page rule book for staff at Jeffrey Epstein's mansion revealed

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  • Ghislaine Maxwell
    Ghislaine Maxwell
    Socialite
  • Jeffrey Epstein
    American financier
 Ghislaine Maxwell listens as defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim gives her opening statement - Reuters
Ghislaine Maxwell listens as defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim gives her opening statement - Reuters

Ghislaine Maxwell wrote a household manual for staff at Jeffrey Epstein’s Florida home, instructing employees to “see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing”, a former housekeeper revealed in testimony to a New York court on Thursday.

On the stand, Juan Alessi read from a 58-page document titled “Household Manual” that listed ground rules Ms Maxwell set for employees at the financier’s sprawling 10-bedroom Palm Beach mansion.

The 71-year-old former house manager, who worked for Epstein for over 10 years, testified that he believed that section of the manual constituted “a kind of a warning.”

“I was supposed to be blind and dumb,” said Mr Alessi, who gave evidence as a witness for the prosecution. “To say nothing of their lives.”

“There were many, many, many rules."

Epstein's 10-bedroom mansion in Palm Beach - AP
Epstein's 10-bedroom mansion in Palm Beach - AP

Mr Alessi testified that he first met the heiress in 1991 and understood her to be Epstein's girlfriend.

"From the day she came to the house, she right away took over and she mentioned to me that she was going to be the lady of the house and also, she was in charge of other homes," he said in the Manhattan federal court on the fourth day of Ms Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial.

Ms Maxwell denies the charges.

Mr Alessi said he dealt with Ms Maxwell on a daily basis because all of Epstein's orders were conveyed to him through her.

The employees were ordered not to use slang, like “yeah,”, “you bet”, “gotcha”, and “I dunno” when speaking to guests.

When they received a compliment, according to the manual, they should reply: "You are very kind" "Thank, you, Ms ___ . I enjoy doing it."

Ms Maxwell wrote that staff were not to speak to Epstein's guests, “except to answer a question direct to you. Respect their privacy.”

Workers should also “try to anticipate the needs of Mr. Epstein, Ms. Maxwell and their guests."

Mr Alessi’s testimony gave a detailed picture of just how close the couple, who were briefly in a relationship in the mid-1990s, were during the time of the alleged abuse.

Ms Maxwell, whom Mr Alessi called the “lady of the house,” was with Epstein "95 per cent" of the time when he would stay, according to Mr Alessi.

He said Epstein would spend most weekends and all holidays at the Florida home, typically leaving on a Monday or Tuesday and returning Thursday or Friday.

Employees were ordered never to disclose Epstein or Ms Maxwell’s whereabouts to anyone.

The manual lays out exactly how Epstein and Ms Maxwell, 59, liked the house to be run, from what she required for breakfast - Weetabix with banana slices, sugar and milk and Maxwell House instant coffee - to what temperature she liked her bathroom to be - 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).

Maxwell's "Household Manual" - SDNY
Maxwell's "Household Manual" - SDNY

Her toothpaste had to be replaced once half had been used, and tissues when more than two-thirds had been used. She also had to have Kiehl 's Cucumber Toner and cleansing moisturiser.

In the master bedroom, the manual says, a gun should always be placed in the bedside table drawer.

"They run the house like a five-star hotel," Mr Alessi said. He added that the demands of work meant he had to work from 5am until 9 or 10pm most days.

He eventually quit in 2002, citing extreme stress and ill-health.

As part of his job duties, he also acted as a chauffeur, picking up guests at the airport and their homes, including a teenage girl he believed was underage. That teen, who is now an adult, testified at the trial earlier this week under the pseudonym Jane. She said that Ms. Maxwell groomed her for sex with Epstein starting at age 14.

He also recalled Ms Maxwell's dog, a Yorkie called Max, travelling with her everywhere. He said he had to bathe the dog every time he travelled with Ms Maxwell on board Epstein’s private jet.

In her testimony two days earlier, Jane said she remembered the first time she met Epstein and Ms Maxwell she was with a Yorkshire terrier.

Mr Alessi said Ms Maxwell had photos of topless women displayed in frames on the desk in her office in the Palm Beach home.

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