Britse sosiale lid se voormalige assistent sê Epstein het haar opdrag gegee om blomme aan Celina Midelfart te stuur
Jeffrey Epstein was romantically involved with a wealthy Norwegian businesswoman while he was dating Ghislaine Maxwell, the jury in the socialite’s sex trafficking trial heard as the defence opened its case.
Cimberly Espinosa, who was Ms Maxwell’s assistant between 1996 en 2002, took the stand as the defence’s opening witness on Thursday.
Ms Espinosa said she ordered flowers for Ms Midelfart on Epstein’s instructions during the late 1990s when he was also in a relationship with Ms Maxwell.
Christian Everdell, for the defence, asked if she thought Epstein and Ms Midelfart were together.
“Ek het gevoel hulle is ’n paartjie,” Ms Espinosa replied, adding it could have been “concurrent for a little bit of time” during the period Ms Maxwell and Epstein were dating.
Ms Espinosa said even though she was Ms Maxwell’s assistant, the socialite was apparently not aware she had purchased flowers for Ms Midelfart.
She also recalled Gwendolyn Beck, a former girlfriend of Epstein’s, and Shelley Lewis, visiting Epstein’s Madison Avenue office.
Ms Espinosa also testified that she met a key accuser in the case – who gave evidence under the pseudonym “Jane” – when she visited Epstein’s New York City office “a few times” in the late 1990s.
She said Jane appeared to be 18 jaar oud.
She recalled that Jane’s mother had told staff at the office she was Epstein’s goddaughter.
Because of the close connection, Jane “was treated with utmost respect”, Ms Espinosa said.
She said she was left with the impression “it was a loving relationship”, het sy bygevoeg.
Asked about Ms Maxwell’s relationship with Epstein, Ms Espinosa said when she first started working for the socialite “they were a little flirty” and “behaved like a couple”.
Ms Espinosa said she assisted Ms Maxwell in managing Epstein’s luxury properties and “highly respected” her as a boss.
She recalled Epstein purchasing his private island Little St James in the US Virgin Islands in 1998, and said the task of transforming the property to his exacting demands was a “humungous” project.
She and Ms Maxwell arranged for construction of a new main dwelling and swimming pools on the island, and Epstein ordered them to fly in palm trees and sand.
“Om duidelik te wees, you shipped in sand to a tropical island,” Mr Everdell asked.
Espinosa recalls sending flowers, on behalf of Epstein, to Norwegian cosmetics heiress Celina Midelfart, (picture here in the late 90s with Donald Trump) pic.twitter.com/10EMDqri5x
— JOSH RUSSELL (@jruss_jruss) Desember 16, 2021
“He wanted more sand,” Ms Epinosa replied.
She also arranged for Epstein’s favourite bread to be flown in fresh from New York when he was visiting other properties in New Mexico and Florida.
Me Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to charges she recruited and groomed young girls for Epstein to abuse during sexualised massages. The defence say she is a “scapegoat” for Epstein’s sex crimes. He killed himself in 2019 op die ouderdom van 66 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.
The defence have asked several witnesses about Epstein’s girlfriends as it seeks to distance Ms Maxwell from the disgraced paedophile.
Earlier in the trial, pilot David Rodgers testified that Ms Midelfart was in a “romantic relationship” with Epstein in the mid-1990s and flew on his private jet several times.
Ms Midelfart is also thought to have been dating Mr Trump before he met his third and current wife, Melania.
Later, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, testified about the nature of “false memories”.
Dr Loftus has spent decades researching “the nature of memory” and said human recollection could be unreliable, especially when it involved traumatic experiences that occurred a long time ago.
“One thing we know about memory is that it doesn’t work like a recording device,” the psychologist told the court.
The defence is seeking to cast doubt on the testimony of four accusers who said Ms Maxwell was a key enabler of Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse and in some cases participated in the offending.
People can grow attached to false memories in a way that “they can be confident about them, they can be emotional about them, even when they’re false”, het sy bygevoeg.
Dr Loftus has testified in over 300 gevalle, including the trials of Harvey Weinstein, Robert Durst, OJ Simpson and Bill Cosby.
In her nearly fourty-year career as an expert witness the psychologist had only testified once for the prosecution, sy het gese.
“The prosecution is frequently the one that is putting on memory testimony and maybe wants to bolster that testimony and testifying about memory distortion … is not something that typically fits in their agenda.”
Under cross examination, prosecutor Lara Pomerantz noted that she wrote a book titled Witness for the Defense.
“You haven’t written a book called Impartial Witness, reg?”
“I don’t have a book by that title, geen,” she replied.
Dr Loftus said she was being paid $600 an hour to be in court.
Ms Maxwell’s defence case began on Thursday after a five-day break to allow Judge Alison Nathan to attend a Senate confirmation hearing in Washington DC for her promotion to the federal Court of Appeals Second District.
Judge Nathan denied a motion from the defence that three witnesses be allowed to testify under pseudonyms.
She said that “none of the Defense’s witnesses intend to testify to sensitive personal topics or sexual conduct. Eerder, they all are anticipated to deny misconduct by Epstein and Ms Maxwell”.