A second alleged victim has given evidence in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial, telling the court the British socialite told her she was one of Jeffrey Epstein’s “favourites”.
The 59-year-old former girlfriend of Epstein is facing eight charges – including six counts of enticing minors and sex trafficking – all of which she has pleaded not guilty to.
As the second week of her trial at Manhattan federal court got under way, the jury heard from a woman, who is testifying under the pseudonym, Kate.
The 44-year-old explained how Maxwell allegedly pressured her into giving Epstein sexual massages when she was still a teenager and told her she was “one of his favourites”.
The woman said she was 17 and struggling to make friends after moving to Britain from France when she met Maxwell for tea at her London townhouse in 1994, becoming acquainted through a 35-year-old man she was dating.
She said she returned to the townhouse weeks later while Epstein was there and she massaged his feet at Maxwell’s request.
A couple of weeks later, Kate said Maxwell asked her to come back to the house and give Epstein a massage.
When asked by a prosecutor whether she was a massage therapist, Kate said no.
She said Maxwell led her to a massage room and Epstein was there, wearing a bathrobe and when he took it off he was naked.
The witness said Maxwell gave her some massage oil and closed the door, then Epstein had a sexual encounter with her.
US CORRESPONDENT MARTHA KELNER IN NEW YORK
Ghislaine Maxwell’s sister, Isabel Maxwell, sat in the front row of the courtroom as she has done throughout the trial, wearing a red beret, red jumper and black body warmer.
Their brother Kevin was there, too, as Kate recalled first meeting Maxwell in 1994.
“She was very sophisticated, elegant, with short brown hair, very impressive,” she said, “she appeared to be everything I wanted to be.”
The jury was shown a picture of Maxwell’s townhouse in the upmarket Belgravia area of London, with its white front and red door, and offered further insight into the life she shared with Epstein.
“There were photographs all around the house of Ghislaine with a man with peppered, grey hair. In the photographs, he was looking at the camera and she was looking at him.”
Kate identified the man as Epstein. Under cross-examination by Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim, Kate remained composed when questioned about her abuse of cocaine and alcohol.
Kate said she had been sober since 2003 and that her memory of “significant events” in her life was reliable.
Kate recalled seeing Maxwell after the encounter, saying: “She said did you have fun, you’re such a good girl, I’m so happy you were able to come. She sounded really pleased, and I was really pleased that she was pleased.”
Kate said after she turned 18, she went to see Maxwell and Epstein at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where she and Epstein had a sexual encounter at the poolhouse.
Maxwell “told me that I was such a good girl and that I was one of his favourites”, she said.
During her testimony, Kate also described one incident in the mid-1990s where allegedly Maxwell left out a schoolgirl’s outfit for her to wear for Epstein.
“I thought it would be fun for you to take Jeffrey his tea in this outfit,” the witness recalled Maxwell telling her.
After a sexual encounter that followed, Maxwell “asked me if I had fun” and told her, “you are such a good girl,” Kate said.
When asked if Epstein engaged in sexual activity with her again on that trip, the witness responded: “Yes. Multiple times.”
She also mentioned being gifted a Prada handbag for her 18th birthday, visiting Epstein’s private island at the age of 23, and seeing “lots of photos of young girls” at his home in Palm Beach.
Kate said she went on to become a musician and a model, and stayed in touch with Maxwell until she was 24 and with Epstein until her 30s.
She said she was hopeful Maxwell would be her friend, but later remained in their orbit because she “did not want to admit what had happened to me”.
“I was also fearful of disengaging because I had witnessed how connected they both were,” said Kate.
During her time with Maxwell and Epstein, she said she became addicted to alcohol, cocaine and sleeping pills.
On cross-examination, a lawyer for Maxwell got Kate to acknowledge instances where she had spoken out publicly about the pair using her real name.
She also asked whether her history of drug and alcohol abuse affected her memory, to which Kate replied: “It has not had an impact on the memories I have always had.”
Maxwell’s lawyers have argued their client is being prosecuted because Epstein is no longer alive.