Jeffrey Epstein Associate Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Begins: Key Takeaways From Day 1


Attorneys delivered opening statements Monday in the much-anticipated criminal trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime associate of notorious serial sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell faces a six-count indictment for allegedly conspiring with and aiding Epstein in his sexual abuse of underage girls between 1994 and 2004.

A jury of five men and seven women were empaneled earlier in the day, kicking off a legal drama that is expected to continue for at least six weeks.

“I want to tell you about a young girl named Jane,” Assistant U. S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz told the jury.

Prosecutors have alleged that Maxwell played a “key role” in a multi-state sex trafficking scheme, in which she allegedly “befriended” and later “enticed and groomed multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts with Epstein” and was also, at times, “present for and involved” in the abuse herself.

“Jane,” one of the three alleged minor victims who are expected to testify under pseudonyms at Maxwell’s trial, was just 14 years old when she reportedly met Maxwell and Epstein at a summer camp, Pomerantz said, the beginning of what she called “a nightmare that would last for years.”

“This man and this woman were predators,” Pomerantz said. “She knew what was going to happen to these girls. There were times when she was in the room when it happened.”

Maxwell, who has been held without bail since her arrest in July 2020, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and proclaimed her innocence. On Monday, Maxwell’s defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim argued that her client is merely a “convenient stand-in” for the deceased Epstein, whom she cast as the true criminal.

“Jeffrey Epstein manipulated the world around him and the people around him, including Ghislaine,” Sternheim said. “Ghislaine Maxwell is on trial because of her association with Jeffrey Epstein.”

Sternheim also sought to undermine the forthcoming testimony of the alleged minor victims in the indictment, calling their stories “thin” and suggesting that the accusers had been influenced by lawyers, media and money. “False memories can be created,” she said, and each accuser has “shaken the money tree” of Epstein’s estate.

As the first day of the trial came to a close, the prosecution called its first witness, Epstein’s former pilot Larry Visoski, to take the stand.

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Visoski talked about flight routes to St. Thomas and other locations associated with Epstein and characterized Maxwell’s relationship with Epstein as “couple-ish” before the court adjourned for the d… (Read more)

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