‘Jeffrey Wants to See You’: Maxwell Accuser Describes Abuse
(Bloomberg) -- “Jane” was 14 and had recently lost her father when Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell picked her out at art camp and offered her the world. Soon after, she says, they began sexually abusing her.
Nearly 30 years later, Jane -- a pseudonym for the first of Maxwell’s alleged victims to testify in her sex-trafficking trial -- says the abuse she suffered at their hands left her with a “broken compass,” unsure for years how she should be treated by men and unable to understand what real love is supposed to look like.
Jane took the stand Tuesday as one of four women who claim they were abused by Epstein as minors and are expected to appear as prosecution witnesses in Maxwell’s trial in Manhattan federal court. The British socialite is accused of “grooming” them for Epstein and participating in some of their abuse herself.
Under questioning by prosecutor Alison Moe, Jane was asked if anyone else was in the room when she had sexual contact with Epstein.
“Ghislaine Maxwell,” Jane said, pointing to the defendant in the courtroom.
Jane testified for about three hours on Tuesday and will return to the stand for cross-examination on Wednesday. She maintained a calm, steady tone for most of the afternoon. A rare flash of emotion occurred as she described one occasion when someone came to her room at Epstein’s sprawling New Mexico ranch and said, “Jeffrey wants to see you.”
“I felt my heart sink into my stomach,” she said, fighting back tears. “Because I did not want to go see him.”
Jane first met Maxwell and Epstein at a difficult time in her life. Her father died from leukemia in 1993, leaving her feeling “hopeless,” she said. The following summer, she was eating ice cream with other campers at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan when Maxwell passed by walking a Yorkie. Jane wound up talking with Maxwell, and they were later joined by Epstein, who said he was a major benefactor to the camp. He asked Jane where she was from, and she said she was from Palm Beach, Florida.
“‘What a coincidence,’” she said Epstein remarked.
Jane said that Epstein initially offered to help her and her family financially. During opening statements, Maxwell’s attorney said that Epstein paid for Jane’s school and her vocal lessons. He also paid, or at least co-signed, for an apartment that Jane lived in with her mother and brother while she went to a prestigious school in New York.
The prosecution claims that Maxwell and Epstein drew vulnerable young girls into their orbit with their glamorous and luxurious lifestyles. Maxwell would take the girls on shopping trips and make them feel comfortable before encouraging them to give Epstein massages.
$5 Million Settlement
Maxwell’s lawyers claim she’s a scapegoat for Epstein, who committed suicide in 2019 while awaiting his own sex-trafficking trial, and that the four women’s memories of events from nearly 30 years ago have been “contaminated” by time, press accounts and their own desire to receive millions of dollars in compensation from Epstein’s estate.
On cross-examination, Maxwell’s lawyer Laura Menninger questioned Jane about a lawsuit she filed against Epstein’s estate. Jane said she settled the suit for $5 million but only received $2.9 million after lawyer’s fees. She denied that she would benefit financially from a verdict in Maxwell’s trial.
Epstein’s private pilot, Lawrence Visoski, testified earlier on Tuesday that Epstein brought Jane to the cockpit once when he was in Palm Beach. Visoski said she appeared to him to be a “mature woman.”
During a trip to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion, she recalled seeing Maxwell and four other women there “all topless” by the pool.
“I was shocked because I had never seen that before,” Jane said.
‘Frozen in Fear’
Palm Beach was also where Epstein first sexually assaulted her. She said she was “frozen in fear” when Epstein took her to the pool house, though he “acted like nothing happened.”
Their first sexual encounter came right after Epstein purported to give her advice on her future, Jane said. “Jeffrey was asking me ‘You need to focus on what you want to do. Do you want to be an opera singer? An actress? A model?” she said.
Jane’s testimony was graphic at times as she described her abuse by Epstein, often with Maxwell present. Epstein would frequently initiate sex out of the blue, she said.
“The three of us were talking and all of a sudden, abruptly, he said ‘Follow me’ and we went up a winding staircase to Jeffrey’s bedroom,” Jane said of one occasion. She said Maxwell frequently touched her body when the three of them were together. At other times, people besides Maxwell were also there, and “it would sort of turn into this orgy,” she said.
Jane said Maxwell instructed her on how to give Epstein sexualized massages.
“It made me feel uncomfortable,” she said. “I’d never seen anything like this, I had all these mixed emotions when you’re 14 and you don’t know what’s going on.”
Epstein would also often drop the names of powerful people he knew, including Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and “60 Minutes” host Mike Wallace. She didn’t know who Wallace was, she said.
‘Ashamed and Disgusted’
Jane, who’s now an actress, said she was “very ashamed and disgusted” by the sexual abuse she suffered and discussed it only with a small number of people.
“It ruined my self-esteem, my self worth,” she said. “It led me to not trust people and make bad decisions in future boyfriends.”
Prosecutors said at the end of testimony on Tuesday that they planned to call one of Jane’s former boyfriends as a witness to testify that she told him about a “godfather figure” who helped pay for her education and support her family after her father died.
“But the money was not for free and she had to do things she didn’t want to do and that included massages and there was a woman in the room, that she was present to make the girls feel comfortable,” Moe said.
According to Moe, the boyfriend will rebut claims by Maxwell’s lawyers that Jane had only recently implicated Maxwell to try to win a larger settlement from Epstein’s estate. The prosecutor said the defense had “kicked open the door” to such testimony by accusing the victims of pursuing “a big jackpot of money” in opening statements.
Jane said on the stand that she has managed to put the abuse behind her to an extent. “I moved on with my life,” she said. “I am proud that I have my own career, my own husband, my own children.”
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