Alleged victim testified this week that Jeffrey Epstein routinely used massage as a pretext for sex abuse
Jeffrey Epstein’s green massage table was brought into the courtroom and shown to jurors on the fifth day of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial over her alleged involvement in the late financier’s sex crimes.
British socialite Maxwell, 59, is accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls for the pleasure of Epstein and a coterie of wealthy and powerful men. She faces 35 anos de prisão. Ms Maxwell has denied all charges, with her lawyers claiming she was being scapegoated for Epstein’s crimes.
Epstein was found dead in his cell in August 2019 after being arrested on federal sex trafficking charges.
Na sexta, jurors were shown video of Epstein’s sprawling Palm Beach residence at the centre of the allegations. They were also presented with the actual massage table from the property where much of the abuse was alleged to have occurred.
Detective Michael Dawson, who searched Epstein’s residence, testified on Friday that investigators were looking for the massage table, sex toys, correspondence and other materials, journalist Adam Klasfeld tweeted.
On the previous day of the trial, Epstein’s former housekeeper, Juan Patricio Alessi, had testified about the significance of “massages” in the financier’s world.
He said Epstein received up to three massages a day – in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evenings, often as late as 11pm. Mr Alessi told the court he would sometimes arrange for massage therapists to come to the house.
One alleged victim, testifying under the pseudonym of “Jane,” previously testified that Epstein would use massage as a pretexts for sexual assaults, often involving Ms Maxwell and several other “older women”.
Mr Alessi’s evidence backed up much of “Jane’s” testimony.
Also on Friday, Mr Alessi said that Epstein ordered him to remove photos of Ms Maxwell whenever the disgraced financier entertained female guests.
Defence attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca asked Mr Alessi about an order given by Epstein to remove all photos of Ms Maxwell before he hosted other female guests.
“You never told Ms Maxwell about removing the other pictures?” asked defence attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca. “It was a secret between you and Mr Epstein.”
“It was not a secret, it was a mandate,” Mr Alessi replied, becoming increasingly agitated.
Ms Maxwell spent decades rubbing shoulders with British royals and US presidents but is accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls for the late disgraced financier to sexually abuse between 1994 e 2004. Her trial is expected to last six weeks.
According to prosecutors, Ms Maxwell and Epstein – who were once romantically involved – were “partners in crime” in the sexual abuse of teenage girls. When he was found dead in August 2019, he was facing charges for trafficking girls as young as 14 and engaging in sex acts with them.
His death, while officially ruled a suicide, has sparked countless conspiracy theories.
O julgamento continua.
The Independent’s Bevan Hurley contributed reporting from New York.