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The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell

SEX CRIME ACCUSER TESTIFIES

A woman who says she was sexually abused by late sex criminal and financier Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell testified Wednesday that Epstein took her to meet Donald Trump at his Florida club when she was 14 years old.

The woman, in testimony at Maxwell’s federal sex crimes trial, did not allege any improper conduct by Trump when she met him at his Mar-a-Lago resort; nor did the woman characterize what happened at that meeting, which she confirmed under cross-examination by Maxwell’s lawyer Laura Menninger in US District Court in Manhattan.

But the woman, who was testifying under the pseudonym “Jane”, also said she had competed in the 1998 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant, an event associated with Trump.

A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Maxwell is charged with procuring Jane and other then-underage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein, a money manager who for years socialized with Trump, former President Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other wealthy and powerful people.

Jane is the first of those accusers to testify at the trial, which began Monday.

Her account of meeting Trump was described in an interview she gave federal investigators, which Menninger asked her about Wednesday.

“Mr. Epstein introduced you to Donald Trump, correct?” Menninger asked.

Jane replied, “Yes.”

Jane said Epstein took her to Mar-a-Lago in a dark green car.

Epstein, who was arrested a month before his demise, actually died in August 2019 while in a Manhattan jail from what has been ruled a suicide by hanging while awaiting his own trial on federal child sex trafficking charges.

Trump said at the time that he was no longer friends with Epstein and that they had not spoken for up to 15 years.

GHISLAINE MAXWELL’S DEFENSE

Meanwhile, Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense attorneys on Friday questioned a former Jeffrey Epstein employee about which year he met a woman who says she was abused by Epstein as a teenager, in an apparent attempt to show she was above the age of consent at the time.

Juan Alessi, who worked full-time at Epstein’s Palm Beach estate from 1991 to 2002, said earlier at Maxwell’s sex abuse trial that he first recalled meeting a girl referred to by the pseudonym Jane in 1994. Jane testified earlier this week that Maxwell set her up for abuse that year by Epstein when she was 14.

But upon cross-examination by the British socialite’s attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca during the trial’s fifth day on Friday, Alessi said he could not recall precisely the year he met Jane.

Pagliuca then asked whether Alessi met her in 1998 or after – when she could have been of legal age to consent.

“No, that’s not true,” Alessi said.

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of sex trafficking and other crimes.

Prosecutors have accused the British socialite of recruiting and grooming underage girls for her late former lover, Epstein, to abuse, and say she participated in some of the encounters.

The Florida property also contained photos of Epstein, a globetrotting financier, with Pope John Paul II and late Cuban President Fidel Castro, according to Gregory Parkinson, a police officer who led a 2005 search of the home and testified after Alessi.

On the stand, Parkinson was watching a video of the search, which was sealed from the public.

Maxwell’s attorneys argue she is being scapegoated for Epstein’s alleged crimes since Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail in 2019 at the age of 66 while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

ABOUT GHISLAINE MAXWELL

Ghislaine Maxwell is a British socialite known for her association with financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. She worked for her father Robert Maxwell until his death in 1991, when she moved to the United States and became a close associate of Epstein. Maxwell founded a non-profit group for the protection of oceans, The TerraMar Project, in 2012. The organisation announced cessation of operations on 12 July 2019, a week after the sex trafficking charges brought by New York federal prosecutors against Epstein became public.

In 2020, Maxwell was charged by the US federal government with the crimes of enticement of minors and sex trafficking of underage girls. The US Virgin Islands Department of Justice announced on 10 July 2020 that Maxwell was also under investigation in the Caribbean territory.

Maxwell is a naturalized US citizen but also retains citizenship in the UK and France.

Writing by Tola Oguneye; Editing by Tony Okerafor