Ghislaine Maxwell trial: Epstein dated Norwegian heiress later linked to Trump while in relationship with socialite, court hears

British socialite’s former assistant says Epstein instructed her to send flowers to Celina Midelfart

Bevan Hurley
Thurgood Marshall US Courthouse, New York
Tuesday 21 December 2021 21:55 GMT

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 and 2002, took the stand as the defence’s opening witness on Thursday.

Businesswoman Celina Midelfart at the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O’Neill hosted by King Carl Gustaf XIV and Queen Silvia on 8 June 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden

Ms Espinosa, 55, recalled seeing a procession of young women turn up to Epstein’s Madison Avenue office including Celina Midelfart, a Norwegian cosmetics heiress who also once dated Donald Trump.

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.

“I felt they were a couple,” 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 years old.

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”, she added.

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”.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were in a relationship while he dated other women, witnesses say

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.

“To be clear, you shipped in sand to a tropical island,” Mr Everdell asked.

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