GHISLAINE Maxwell “served up” teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein in a “pyramid scheme of abuse” a court was told.
At the start of the 59-year-old’s trial for allegedly sex-trafficking for Epstein, the jury was told the “predator” and Epstein were “partners in crime”.
Prosecutor Lara Pomerantz pointing to Ghislaine Maxwell as she outlines the case against her[/caption]
Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell allegedly ran a sex trafficking network[/caption]
Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said the accusers were motivated by money[/caption]
The much anticipated “trial of the century” began with the prosecution detailing to the packed Manhattan court room her role in helping Epstein abuse girls – even watching and taking part..
Her lawyer then told the court her the four alleged victims were motivated by money and the evidence against Maxwell was based on memories from two decades ago.
Opening the case against Maxwell, prosecutor Lara Pomerantz said she lured girls for Epstein to abuse under the guise of giving him massages – even watching as it happened.
“The defendant helped Epstein find those girls, she helped him recruit those girls for so-called massages,” she said.
“She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them and served them up to be sexually abused.
“Make no mistake – she knew exactly what Epstein was going to do to those children when she sent them inside those massage rooms.
“But was happening in those massage rooms was not massage. Those girls were not professional masseuses. They were kids being sexually exploited and abused.”
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Not only did Maxwell groom the girls to be abused by Epstein, she even watched and took part, the court was told.
“The defendant walked the girls into a room where she knew that man would molest them, and there were times she was in the room when it happened, making it all feel normal and casual. That is why we are here today.”
“Sometimes, she was even in the room for the massages herself, and sometimes she touched the girls’ bodies.”
Pomerantz told the court about one of the victims, Jane, who was 14 when she met Maxwell at a summer camp.
“She was sitting at a picnic table for kids when a man and woman walked by,” said Pomerantz.
“The man introduced himself as someone who gave scholarships for kids.
“They asked Jane for her phone number. What Jane didn’t know then was that this meeting at summer camp was the beginning of a nightmare that would last for years.
“This meeting was the beginning of that man and woman targeting Jane for sexual abuse that would last for years.”
“Who was that woman targeting young girls for sexual abuse? It was the defendant – Ghislaine Maxwell.”
Sometimes, she was even in the room for the massages herself, and sometimes she touched the girls’ bodies
Prosecutor Lara Pomerantz
The prosecutor outlined what she called the “play book” Maxwell and Epstein used under the cover of being “wealthy and influential” people to win victims’ trust.
“First, they got access to young girls. Then they gained their trust. They learned about each girl’s hopes and dreams. They learned about each girl’s family.
“They figured out what the girls dreamed of being when they grew up and promised to help. They made them feel special. But that was a cover.”
Pomerantz explained that Maxwell and Epstein had been in a relationship but remained “the best of friends” after they split.
Through the financier, Maxwell was able to maintain a luxurious lifestyle.
“These girls were a means to support her lifestyle. Maxwell was Epstein’s best friend and right hand.
“She was involved in every detail of Epstein’s life. During the 10 years, they committed these crimes together. She was the lady of the house.”
Maxwell paid victims to entice more girls to be abused by Epstein, the prosecutor said.
“Under this pyramid scheme of abuse, the defendant could just call girls to schedule massage appointments and just hand them cash afterwards.”
Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial for sex trafficking in August 2019.
Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim cast doubt on the accusers claims and argued Maxwell was a “scapegoat” for the multimillionaire paedophile’s crimes.
‘EPSTEIN’S BEST FRIEND’
“Memories fade over time and this case you will learn that not only have memories faded, but they have been contaminated by outside information, constant media reports and other influences,” she said.
She told the jury the four are motivated by the desire for a “big jackpot of money”.
“They are not going to be able to pinpoint dates. Instead, they come before you and tell their stories purely from memory.
“Lawyers, media, money have impacted the memories.”
'Predator' Ghislaine Maxwell fidgeted in court
By James Beal in New York
Ghislaine Maxwell fidgeted with nervous energy in courtroom 318 last night — as the prosecutor pointed and called her a “predator”.
The English heiress, in a beige cashmere sweater, black trousers and heels, hid her face behind a white mask at The Thurgood Marshall US Courthouse in Manhattan.
At the start of proceedings, she hugged each of her four lawyers. The accused appeared to be relatively relaxed as she played with her recently dyed hair.
Clutching a coffee, she waved to her sister, Isabel, sitting yards away in the front row of the public gallery.
There was no indication that Maxwell’s reported diet of rotten apples at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Correctional Centre had had any ill effect on her.
Sitting next to her was Leah Saffian, longtime Maxwell family lawyer and old friend.
But, as prosecutor Lara Pomerantz tore into her, Maxwell fidgeted, passed notes to her legal team and leaned in close to talk to them.
The victims are going to “tell stories that have changed over time and will over time”.
“Stories that they have told for the first time after Epstein died. Ghislaine has been inserted in those stories as they reframed their stories for a payday.
“She is a brand name, she is a lightning rod, she is a convenient stand-in for the man who cannot be here.
Sternheim then sought to pick apart the claims of Maxwell’s four accusers.
It is alleged between 1994 and 2004 she participated in sex trafficking alongside Epstein, her ex-boyfriend, who she also worked for.
She has been accused of being tasked with approaching teenage girls with offers of jobs – such as modelling or as masseurs – before bringing them to Epstein.
Prosecutors allege Maxwell gained the girls’ trust by taking them to movies, sending them gifts such as lingerie and discussing sexual topics.
Her alleged victims have described her as the paedo’s “madam” who would groom them and lure them into his web of money and sex.
Maxwell faces allegations that she procured girls – some as young as 14 – for Epstein to abuse while also participating in the abuse herself on a number of occasions.
She has pleaded not guilty to all charges against her.
The exact charges against Maxwell are:
- Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
- Enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts
- Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
- Transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
- Sex trafficking conspiracy
- Sex trafficking of a minor
She also faces two other charges of perjury over allegations she lied in a deposition in a separate civil suit, but these will be tried separately.
As the world’s press gathered outside the courtroom, an accuser of Maxwell and Epstein arrived to view the proceedings.
Sarah Ransome, who alleges she was recruited into Epstein’s network, was pictured surrounded by cameras.
She is not part of the court case against Ghislaine – but went public with her allegations as the Epstein’s victims call for justice.
“I never thought this day would come,” said Sarah.
Maxwell’s charges relate to four victims – including Annie Farmer , who claims that the alleged “madam” gave her a topless massage when she was just 16.
Farmer will be joined by three other victims who are expected to testify under pseudonyms.
It is unknown if Ghislaine’s friend Prince Andrew – who vehemently denies separate allegations that he slept with a 17-year-old trafficking victim – will be mentioned in the case.
Being a long-term pal of the Duke of York, Maxwell is widely reported to be the one who introduced him to Epstein.
Maxwell’s sister Isabel arriving at court[/caption]
Maxwell sits at the defense table during final stages of jury selection,[/caption]
Sarah Ransome – an accuser of the duo, but who is not involved in the case – arrives at court in New York[/caption]
Ghislaine’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim arrives at the courthouse[/caption]
Ghislaine’s sister Isabel arrives at court[/caption]
Maxwell was arrested suddenly in July 2020 by the FBI after being accused of going into hiding over the allegations.
She was detained as she was deemed a flight risk and was repeatedly denied bail.
And this has sparked a long list of complaints about her jail conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
Daughter of disgraced newspaper mogul Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine was born into a life of wealth – being raised at the 53-room nasion Headington Hill Hall.
Working in various roles at her dad’s companies – including as a at director of Oxford United – she became a prominent socialite in London.
At some point she became pals with Prince Andrew – though there is no definitive story as to how she first met the Royal.
Her father died in 1991 as his body was found floating next to his yacht – the Lady Ghislaine.
Epstein was a wealthy New York financier who amassed a multi-million dollar fortune and hung out with the world’s elite.
The well-connected paedo had a infamous “little black book” including contacts for the rich and famous.
But behind his world of money and fame was a disgusting lust for underage girls and young women.
Epstein was first convicted of sex offences in 2008 on a single charge of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14.
Some 11 years later, the cops finally charged him with a wider conspiracy for trafficking minors in Florida and New York.