First accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell trial testifies about sexual abuse

Prosecutors are going straight to the heart of the sex trafficking case against Maxwell.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell

The first of four females on Tuesday described as key witnesses in the federal sex trafficking case against Ghislaine Maxwell testified Tuesday that the former Jeffrey Epstein consort was often in the room when the witness, then just 14, had sexual interactions with Epstein.

Prosecutors went to the heart of their case against Maxwell with their second witness, a woman in her early 40s who was introduced to jurors as “Jane,” a pseudonym she said she prefers, in part to protect a 22-year acting career. She was preceded by a private pilot for Epstein.

The woman, now in her early forties, testified that Maxwell was frequently around during her sexual encounters with Epstein, which began when she was just 14-years-old. During the encounters, which started in 1994 and lasted through 1997, the woman, identified to the jury as "Jane," said that Maxwell "was very casual," throughout and about the encounters, "like it was no big deal."

The witness told jurors that Maxwell, a former British socialite, had provided instructions on how to give Epstein sexual massages and would, on some occasions, join in on the physical activity.

Prosecutors are attempting to prove that from 1994 to 2004, Maxwell recruited and prepared young girls to be sexually abused by Epstein. 

During the cross examination, which is expected to continue Wednesday, Maxwell's attorney Laura Menninger asked why "Jane" had never previously mentioned her client while discussing abuse at the hands of Epstein. 

"I don't know," replied the witness, adding that she recalled being uncomfortable getting into details about the abuse. 

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty and her attorneys are attempting to make the case that she is being used as a scapegoat for Epstein, who died in his Manhattan jail cell awaiting trial for sex trafficking in 2019.