One of Ghislaine Maxwell’s attorneys has expressed concerns about the testimony of a woman who claims the British socialite set her up for sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein in the 1990s, beginning when she was 14 years old, and that she participated in some encounters with the abused man.
The lady, who goes by the nickname Jane, made her first appearance for the government in Maxwell’s sex-abuse trial in Manhattan Federal Court on Tuesday.
Four women are likely to testify that Ms Maxwell “groomed” them for abuse by Epstein while they were minors. She is the first of them to come forwards.
Jane said on Tuesday that she had several sexual experiences with Epstein at his Palm Beach residence when she was 14, 15 and 16 years old, at a rate of several times per month.
In addition to Jane, other persons sometimes participated, including Ms Maxwell, who massaged Jane’s breasts, according to Jane.
On Wednesday, Ms Maxwell’s counsel, Laura Menninger, questioned Jane about apparent differences between her statements of Ms Maxwell’s participation on Tuesday and previous interactions with prosecutors before to Ms Maxwell’s arrest in July 2020, which occurred during the course of cross-examination.
“If I recall correctly, when you talked with the government in December 2019, with your attorneys there, at the time, you said that you were unsure if Maxwell had ever touched you during these interactions. Is that correct?” Ms Menninger asked.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t remember,” Jane said.
Maxwell, 59, was charged with sex trafficking and other felonies, including two counts of perjury, which will be prosecuted separately from the other accusations.
Should she be found guilty, the daughter of the late British media billionaire Robert Maxwell could face up to 80 years in jail.
She has entered a not guilty plea, and her attorneys have claimed that prosecutors are using Ms Maxwell as a scapegoat for Mr Epstein’s alleged crimes against her.
The well-connected financial adviser committed himself in a Manhattan prison cell in 2019 at the age of 66 while awaiting trial on sex assault accusations, according to authorities.
On the subject of Donald Trump, Jane testified that Epstein had introduced her to him at the future US president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida when she was 14 years old in the mid-1990s, when she was queried by Ms Menninger about it.
She also remembers being on a flight with the Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, of the United Kingdom. In this criminal investigation, neither Mr Trump nor Prince Andrew have been charged of any crime.
According to Ms Maxwell’s attorneys, the recollections of the four alleged victims have been distorted over time.
They claim that Ms Maxwell’s involvement in their abuse was not brought to their attention until after Epstein died and a compensation fund was established for his victims, providing the women with a financial incentive to cooperate with authorities.
Jane, who is now in her early 40s, said that she was able to recollect specific situations that she had forgotten about in the past.
When she was a teenager, Ms Maxwell would sometimes phone her home and encourage her to come see Epstein, according to her testimony on Tuesday night.
Jane had said in a sealed transcript of a 2019 interview with the government, Ms Menninger added, that she was unable to recall whether Ms Maxwell had ever phoned her. Ms Maxwell has not responded to Ms Menninger’s questions.
“Are you saying that you recall Ghislaine calling your house two years after she did?” Ms Menninger posed the question on Wednesday.
“Memory does not work in a linear fashion,” Jane said.
- Ghislaine Maxwell: AP