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Live Updates: Victim in Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Faces Cross-Examination

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Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

A woman identified only as “Jane” in court was expected to face an intense cross-examination from Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers on Wednesday, a day after she gave emotional testimony about being sexually abused for years as a teenager by Jeffrey Epstein and Ms. Maxwell.

The woman, an actress who has asked not be identified she because it might affect her career, said she was only 14 years old when met the couple at a talent camp and was invited to Mr. Epstein’s mansion in Palm Beach.

On Tuesday, Jane painted a picture of how Ms. Maxwell and Mr. Epstein brought her into their lives, promising to help her performing arts career, and how what seemed like mentorship and special treatment soon evolved into sexual abuse.

Ms. Maxwell, she said, acted like an older sister at first, but then she began to talk to her about sex and took her shopping for panties at Victoria’s Secret. She also lounged naked or topless in front of Jane at the mansion’s pool.

Later, Jane said, Mr. Epstein pulled her on top of him and masturbated in a pool house, the start of what she said was years of sexual abuse.

Ms. Maxwell was present during some of Jane’s sexual interactions with Mr. Epstein and sometimes participated in them, she said. She also instructed Jane on how to give Mr. Epstein erotic massages.

Asked about Ms. Maxwell’s demeanor during those incidents, Jane said: “I would say it seemed very casual, like it was very normal, like it was not a big deal.”

The defense has made it clear that it plans to seek to undermine Jane’s credibility in cross-examination by suggesting that she is playing a role, and that she only decided to cooperate with the government and implicate Ms. Maxwell because she believed it would help her secure a claim with the Epstein victim fund, which awarded her $5 million.

The cross-examination started late Tuesday afternoon but is expected to go on for much longer today. One of Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers, Laura Menninger, began on Tuesday by pressing Jane about the delay in reporting her claims, and sought to point out gaps in her memory of her teenage years in Florida.

Credit…Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

The first accuser in the sex-trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell took the witness stand on Tuesday. Identified in court only by the pseudonym “Jane,” the witness testified that she had been sexually abused for years by Ms. Maxwell and her former partner, Jeffrey Epstein, beginning when she was 14.

Here are some takeaways from her testimony.

Jane said she saw Ms. Maxwell as an older sister before she was sexually abused by Mr. Epstein.

Jane said she began visiting Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate by herself when she was 14 after Ms. Maxwell and Ms. Epstein befriended her at a camp for talented teenagers and invited her and her mother over to have tea.

She said that she initially saw Ms. Maxwell as “a little bit odd and quirky,” but kind. Soon, she started talking to Jane about her sex life, and Ms. Maxwell and Mr. Epstein took Jane shopping, including to Victoria’s Secret for white cotton briefs.

“I remember maybe the first time I went to the pool side and I walked out there and there was these four women and Ghislaine, all topless and some of them were naked,” Jane said. “I was just shocked because I hadn’t seen that before.”

Later, she said, Ms. Maxwell was present when Mr. Epstein had sexual interactions with her and acted “like it was no big deal.” Sometimes, she said, Ms. Maxwell participated. She also gave instructions on how to give Mr. Epstein erotic massages, Jane said. The abuse went on for years, and at times involved groups of people, she said.

Jane said Mr. Epstein sexually abused her for the first time in the pool house on his Palm Beach estate.

Jane said she and Mr. Epstein were talking about her future when he “abruptly” ended the conversation and led her from his office to the pool house. Jane said he brought her to a couch, and proceeded to pull his own sweatpants down. She said he then pulled her on top of him and then began to masturbate.

“I was frozen in fear, I had never seen a penis before,” Jane said. “I was terrified and felt gross and like I felt ashamed.”

The abuse continued, and during later encounters he touched her breasts, vagina, and encouraged her to touch his feet, nipples, and penis. The prosecution asked Jane if Ms. Maxwell ever touched her during those encounters, and she said yes. “Mainly my breasts,” Jane said.

The prosecution elicited testimony suggesting that Jane was vulnerable to the abuse because her father had died.

Jane testified that her father had died shortly before she met Ms. Maxwell and Mr. Epstein. Her family had filed for bankruptcy and had moved into a friend’s pool house. After a few visits, Mr. Epstein offered Jane money, saying, “This is for your mother. I know she’s having a hard time.”

Alison Moe, a federal prosecutor, asked Jane if she ever talked to friends or family about the abuse, or saw a guidance counselor growing up. Jane said she was grieving her father’s death and feeling neglected by her mother when, in seventh grade, she saw a counselor.

“I told her how I was feeling, how sad I was, how unavailable my mother was,” Jane said.

She said the counselor called her mother, who responded to the call by berating and slapping her. Jane did not return to counseling.

Jane said she did not want her name used in court to protect her acting career.

Jane said “victim shaming is still very present to this day” in the entertainment industry, and she was afraid that she wouldn’t get work if people knew she had accused Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell of criminal sexual abuse. That fear was also why she was silent for so many years, she said.

Credit…Carlo Allegri/Reuters

The 14-year-old girl from Florida was away at summer camp in Michigan in 1994, she said, when a “tall thin woman” with a “cute little Yorkie” walked by.

The woman stopped at the bench where the girl and her friends were eating ice cream, and the girls asked if they could pet the dog. After a while the friends left.

But the 14-year-old stayed, and soon a man joined her and the woman at the bench. He asked about her favorite classes in school and said he was a benefactor who liked to help people. Then he asked for her phone number.

Testifying on Tuesday in the sex-trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the 14-year-old from Florida, now an adult identified in court only as “Jane,” told jurors how what seemed like a chance encounter with Ms. Maxwell — the woman with the Yorkie — and Jeffrey Epstein led to years of sexual abuse.

That abuse sometimes involved groups of people, she said: “Kissing, oral sex on each other, oral sex on Jeffrey, full on intercourse.” Sometimes, she said, Ms. Maxwell took part in the sex acts.

Weeks after the initial meeting, Jane said she was back at home in Palm Beach when she got an invitation to visit Mr. Epstein at his house for tea. The home was impressive, she said, and so were Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell, even as their conduct was sometimes confusing or overwhelming.

“From the very beginning there was a lot of bragging about how they were friends with everyone,” Jane said, adding that Ms. Maxwell and Mr. Epstein would engage in “name dropping.” The effect was to suggest that “they were very well connected and affluent.”

Ms. Maxwell often came across like a big sister figure — “odd,” Jane said, “but nice.” But soon, Ms. Maxwell began talking to her about sex, Jane said.

She began going to Mr. Epstein’s house on average once every week or two, she said, and Ms. Maxwell was a steady presence. On one day, she was among a group of women who were topless beside Mr. Epstein’s pool. On another, she took Jane shopping to Victoria’s Secret for underwear: “white cotton briefs, basic looking ones.”

One day when she was still 14, Jane testified, Mr. Epstein told her he could introduce her to talent agents. Then he “abruptly” ended a conversation about her interests and her future and guided her into a pool house, taking her hand and saying “follow me.”

Inside the pool house, Jane said Mr. Epstein led her to a couch or futon and took off his pants. He then pulled her on top of him and “proceeded to masturbate,” she said, speaking in a slow halting voice. After he was done, she added, he went into a bathroom to clean up, then “acted like nothing had happened.”

“I was frozen in fear,” Jane said. She testified that she did not tell anyone about what had happened inside the pool house, adding: “I was terrified and felt gross and felt ashamed.”

Similar incidents followed, Jane said. While she was still 14, she said, Mr. Epstein “would touch my breasts, he would touch my vagina.”

She said she touched him “everywhere” including his feet, nipples and penis.

Sometimes Ms. Maxwell would take part in the abuse. And, she said, sometimes multiple people would be involved. Those incidents, like her first experience inside the pool house, would often begin abruptly, Jane said.

A group of people would be socializing when Mr. Epstein or Ms. Maxwell would “summon” them into his bedroom or to a massage room. There, Jane said Ms. Maxwell and others would disrobe and Mr. Epstein would lie down. That, Jane said, would “turn into this orgy.”

Credit…Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

The sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, a former girlfriend and longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein, is set to begin Monday. Here are some of the events that led to the highly anticipated trial:

July 7, 2019

Mr. Epstein was arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

Federal prosecutors accused Mr. Epstein of engaging in criminal sex acts with minors and women, some as young as 14.

Aug. 10, 2019

Mr. Epstein killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell.

Mr. Epstein hanged himself in his jail cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center; he was not under suicide watch at the time of his death. He had just been denied bail on federal sex trafficking charges.

March 2020

Ms. Maxwell sued Mr. Epstein’s estate.

Ms. Maxwell said in the lawsuit that Mr. Epstein and Darren Indyke, a longtime lawyer for Mr. Epstein and the executor of his estate, both promised to pay her legal fees, but she said they hadn’t. Her legal fees mounted as more women claimed she helped Mr. Epstein recruit them for sexual activity when they were underage.

July 2020

Ms. Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire.

The indictment listed three minor victims who say they were recruited by Ms. Maxwell from 1994 to 1997 for criminal sexual activity.

July 2020

Ms. Maxwell asks for release on $5 million bond.

Her lawyers asked a federal judge in Manhattan to release her from jail on $5 million bond. Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Federal District Court in Manhattan denied the request after prosecutors argued that Ms. Maxwell posed a high risk of fleeing before her trial.

December 2020

Ms. Maxwell calls jail “oppressive.”

Ms. Maxwell asked again to be released, this time on $28.5 million bond, arguing that the conditions of her Brooklyn jail were “oppressive.” But once again the request was denied, after prosecutors said the probability she would flee was extremely high. Prosecutors also said the conditions in jail were reasonable, pointing to her personal shower, phone and two computers.

March 2021

Ms. Maxwell is charged with sex trafficking a 14-year-old.

A new indictment accuses Ms. Maxwell of grooming an additional minor. She is charged with sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl who engaged in sexual acts with Mr. Epstein at his Palm Beach, Fla., estate.

November 2021

Ms. Maxwell goes on trial.

Opening arguments are set for Monday.

Credit…Johannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ghislaine Maxwell faces six counts in her federal trial, which relate to accusations that she facilitated the sexual exploitation of girls for her longtime companion, the disgraced financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The six counts center on the accounts of four accusers. The charges include:

  • One count of enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, in which Ms. Maxwell is accused of coercing one girl — identified as Minor Victim 1 in charging documents — to travel from Florida to New York, between 1994 and 1997, to engage in sex acts with Mr. Epstein.

  • One count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in illegal sex acts, which accuses Ms. Maxwell of bringing the same girl from Florida to New York on numerous occasions.

  • One count of sex trafficking of a minor, which charges that between 2001 and 2004, Ms. Maxwell recruited, enticed and transported another girl — identified in the charges as Minor Victim 4 — to engage in at least one commercial sex act with Mr. Epstein.

  • And three counts of conspiracy, which are related to the other counts. The conspiracy counts in the indictment are more expansive, involving all four accusers and homes in the United States and in London. These charges involve accusations that Ms. Maxwell worked with Mr. Epstein to secure underage girls for sex acts, for example, by encouraging one to give Mr. Epstein massages in London between 1994 and 1995.

Ms. Maxwell, 59, could face a lengthy prison term if convicted. Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors carries a maximum 40 year sentence; the other charges have maximum penalties of five or 10 years.

When Ms. Maxwell was arrested in July 2020, she was also charged with two counts of perjury, accusing her of lying under oath in 2016 during depositions for a lawsuit related to Mr. Epstein. In April, Judge Alison J. Nathan granted the defense’s request to sever the perjury counts, which will be tried separately.

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