‘You’re Such a Good Girl’: Second Maxwell Accuser Testifies
(Bloomberg) -- Ghislaine Maxwell is facing the second witness who claims the British socialite lured her into sex with Jeffrey Epstein.
“Kate,” who is testifying under a pseudonym, took the stand Monday in federal court in Manhattan. A British national, she said her boyfriend at the time introduced her to Maxwell in Paris around 1994, when she was 17 and preparing to study law at Oxford. Maxwell subsequently invited her to tea in her townhouse in London’s posh Belgravia neighborhood.
Maxwell’s defense lawyers had objected to Kate’s testimony on the grounds that the U.K. age of consent is 17, so she was not underage at the time. “Jane,” who testified last week, said she was 14 when Epstein began sexually abusing her. Prosecutors are putting at least four female accusers on the stand in their case against Maxwell.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan is allowing Kate to testify about “relevant conduct” by Epstein and Maxwell but not as a victim of a crime charged in Maxwell’s indictment. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking underage girls for sexual abuse by Epstein, her ex-boyfriend. She faces as many as 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against her.
‘Have a Good Time’
Under questioning by prosecutor Lara Pomerantz, Kate said she eagerly accepted Maxwell’s invitation. “I was lonely. I had not found a group of friends yet so I was really glad to find someone older than me who could guide me,” she said, adding later, “She seemed very exciting and she seemed to be everything I wanted to be.”
Epstein wasn’t present for that first tea, Kate said, but Maxwell said he was her boyfriend and described him in glowing terms. She said he was “a philanthropist and that he liked to help young people and that it would be really wonderful for me to get to meet him,” according to Kate.
Maxwell subsequently asked Kate back to the Belgravia house, claiming she needed a substitute massage therapist for Epstein, the witness said. Maxwell led her to a second-floor massage room, where Epstein was waiting. He removed his robe as Maxwell shut the door and left. Kate said her first sexual encounter with Epstein followed. Afterward, a “really pleased” Maxwell spoke to her, Kate said.
“‘Did you have fun?’” Kate said Maxwell asked her. “‘You’re such a good girl and I’m so happy you were able to come. This is really great and he obviously likes you a lot.’” Maxwell told her to “‘have a good time’” before shutting her in with Epstein for her second sexual encounter with him, Kate said.
Her testimony supports the prosecution’s contention that Maxwell befriended vulnerable young girls and lured them into sex with Epstein. Maxwell’s lawyers claim she was unaware of Epstein’s crimes, and that she’s being made a scapegoat since he committed suicide while awaiting his own trial on sex-trafficking charges in 2019.
Kate described how, in conversations with her, Maxwell spoke and acted like “a schoolgirl,” despite being in her 30s at the time.
“Everything was fun and everything was silly,” Kate recalled. “And everything was just very exciting, and just everything seemed to be like a fun, silly joke.”
According to Kate, the older woman confided in her that she found it difficult to keep up with Epstein’s seemingly insatiable sexual demands. Maxwell asked her if she had other friends she could introduce to Epstein, Kate said. She said she never brought any of her friends to Epstein.
On cross-examination, defense lawyer Bobbi Sternheim questioned Kate about her past substance abuse, suggesting it had affected her memory. “Your testimony about experiences were during a time when you were abusing drugs?” Sternheim asked.
But Kate said her memory had not been impaired, saying that she was “always ordered not to take drugs and be sober” when she was around Maxwell and Epstein.
Kate said her initial London encounters with Epstein led to trips to his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, and his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
During one of her Palm Beach visits, Kate said Maxwell laid out a “schoolgirl costume” on her bed.
“It was a short pleated skirt, white socks, white panties and a shirt,” Kate testified. “I went downstairs to find Ghislaine and I asked her what was happening with the little clothes in my room. And she said, ‘I thought it would be fun for you to take Jeffrey his tea in this outfit.’”
Kate told jurors that she dressed in the costume and delivered the tea to Epstein in the pool house, where he was working out with a trainer. The trainer left and Epstein initiated a sex act with her, Kate said. Maxwell praised her afterward.
“She told me I was such a good girl and I was one of his favorites,” Kate said.
Her encounters with Epstein continued into her 30s, Kate said. She said she stopped communicating with Maxwell when she was around 24. On cross-examination, Sternheim highlighted Kate’s continued contact with Epstein, even after his 2008 imprisonment on charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution.
Sternheim suggested that Kate had been motivated to cooperate with the government’s case against Maxwell to get the $3.25 million award she got from a fund set up for Epstein victims and also to obtain a visa allowing her to remain in the U.S. Kate denied Sternheim’s claims.
The case is U.S. v. Maxwell, 20-cr-00330, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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