For nearly 30 années, Epstein’s pilot flew the global elite to the convicted paedophile’s palatial mansions and estates. Bevan Hurley and Justin Vallejo report on the first witness in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial.
Larry Visoski saw many things from the cockpit of the Lolita Express.
For nearly 30 années, the personal pilot of Jeffrey Epstein flew the global elite to the convicted paedophile’s palatial mansions and estates from New York to Paris to a tiny island in the Caribbean.
There was bipartisan participation from both Democratic and Republican power brokers, with Bill Clinton and Donald Trump among the passengers, according to Mr Visoski’s testimony in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial on Tuesday.
Prince Andrew was there, Mr Visoski said, as were actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker. He remembered violinist Itzhak Perlman, trop. Astronaut John Glenn was named, as was former Senate majority leader George Mitchell.
Apart from those “pretty important people”, Mr Visoski told the Federal District Court in Manhattan he would sometimes be introduced to other types of guests as they boarded the plane.
One was an aspiring singer Epstein took to the cockpit, who Mr Visoski recalled as “a mature woman, with piercing, powder blue eyes”.
The prosecution identified her only as “Jane”, and showed the jury the birth certificate of the girl they described as a 14-year-old who met Epstein and Ms Maxwell at a camp.
Mr Visoski also recalled Virginia Giuffre in the 1990s, describing her as a shorter woman with dirty blonde hair who “didn’t look young”.
Ms Giuffre has brought a civil lawsuit against Prince Andrew in a separate case alleging sexual assault; claims that the Duke strenuously denies and is battling in court.
All the while, Ms Maxwell was along for the ride. It was not unusual to see her in the cockpit travelling with Epstein from one place to the next, the pilot said.
But one very specific thing Mr Visoski maintains he never saw, pourtant, is sexual activity of any kind. He added that he “certainly did not” see any sex acts with underage girls.
Mme Maxwell, 59, is accused of grooming four underage girls between 1994 et 2004 and trafficking them between Epstein’s properties. She has denied the allegations.
As her trial began, the court heard that Ms Maxwell ran Epstein’s residences like “boutique hotels”. There’s was the mansion in Palm Beach and a ranch in New Mexico. In Manhattan, it was a townhouse and in Paris, an apartment.
Mr Visoski testified he flew Epstein between them roughly once every four days. About every 10 journées, pendant ce temps, he made the flight to the Caribbean to Epstein’s sprawling estate on Little Saint James in the US Virgin Islands.
“It was a regular destination,” Mr Visoski told the court.
Prosecutors used Mr Visoski’s testimony to describe the multiple residences and aircraft of Mr Epstein, including helicopters and the private jets that became known as the “Lolita Express”.
When he first began working for Mr Epstein in 1991, the plane was a Gulfstream with leather chairs and burgundy carpet. It had four large captain’s chairs in baseball glove leather colour, a conference table with two seats, a kitchen and bathroom.
Epstein upgraded a decade later in 2001 to a larger Boeing 727 with multiple areas and the “round room” outfitted with a doughnut-shaped couch. The entrance included a large living room with couches and captain’s chairs which led to a fully decked out kitchen. Next was the Red Room, with stark red walls and couches, which was Epstein’s office. Then there was a master bedroom with queen-size bed and two captain’s chairs, and finally the master lavatory.
Pendant un temps, Epstein kept both planes. Mr Visoski said he would fly the Boeing into the larger Caribbean Island of St Thomas, where Mr Visoski would then pick up Epstein’s private helicopter and transfer guests to Little Saint James.
The island featured a boat dock, helipad, and a library building. Epstein would spend most of his time in a cabana beside an enormous outdoor pool, called the Flagpole Pool, where he had an office, Mr Visoski said.
Mr Visoski described the main residence built on top of a hill at the south end of the island as “an exploded house” – every room was built out from the central courtyard, et était son propre bungalow séparé. Going from the kitchen to the bedroom would involve a short outdoor walk. The residence had a second large outdoor swimming pool.
The jury was also shown photos of Epstein’s Paris apartment, Palm Beach residence and Manhattan townhouse.
Mr Visoski would take Epstein and his guests to his Zorro ranch in Santa Fe, Nouveau Mexique, about five times a year, il a dit. The 10,000-acre property had a runway, a fire station, a stable with 10 à 15 horses, as well as a lodge and luxurious mobile home.
After Epstein bought the ranch in 1994, he built a palatial main residence – a multi-storey mansion constructed around an internal courtyard. He also fitted out each of the properties with hi-tech audio equipment and home movie theatres.
Mr Visoski’s decades of service were rewarded generously, le tribunal a entendu. Epstein reportedly gave his pilot 40 acres of land in New Mexico to build a house. He also paid for his two daughters to go to college.
In almost 30 années, Mr Visoski said he never once saw Epstein or Ms Maxwell behave inappropriately. He even let his own two daughters ride with Ms Maxwell, who he said seemed like a nice person.
Mr Visoski said he couldn’t see everything happening on the plane while flying as the cockpit door was always closed. But he said that was never at the direction of Epstein, who allowed him to walk to the back of the plane if he needed to use the bathroom.
As Mr Visoski delivered his testimony to the court, the Federal Aviation Administration accidentally revealed data on 704 previously unknown flights on Epstein’s private jets.
The internal FAA flight records of Epstein’s private jets were accidentally provided to Initié that fills in a gap in the public record between 2013 à 2016.
While not naming the passengers, the records showed Epstein’s jets travelled mostly between his primary residence in New York and Palm Beach. Apart from his other estates in Paris, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands, the jets flew to other locations like Cabo and Marrakech.