Almost 30 years after some of the alleged abuse took place, accusers of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell have finally had their day in court.
Four women – three of them testifying under pseudonyms – took the stand during Ms Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial to allege that Epstein’s former girlfriend preyed on vulnerable underage girls and groomed them for abuse by the late financier.
The women testified that Ms Maxwell, 59, both enabled Epstein in his abuse and took part in some of the abuse herself.
The first accuser to take the stand was “Jane”, who testified that Ms Maxwell and Epstein befriended her at an arts school under the guise of mentoring the vulnerable 14-year-old who was broke and grieving the loss of her father. After making her feel special, the relationship soon escalated – first to sexualised massages with Epstein and then to other sexual encounters.
Jane testified that Ms Maxwell was sometimes “in the room” and joined in the sexual abuse. The teenager was also forced into sexualised orgies with other older women, she alleged.
The second accuser “Kate” said Ms Maxwell first instructed her to give Epstein sexualised massages at the socialite’s London townhouse when she was 17. Ms Maxwell then allegedly continued to set her up with sexual meetings with Epstein as the teenager was flown between his homes in New York, Florida and his island of Little St. James.
One time, Ms Maxwell told her to dress in a schoolgirl outfit for the paedophile and she also asked her if she had other friends who could come to give him oral sex, Kate testified.
The third accuser, known as “Carolyn”, testified that Ms Maxwell groped her naked body when she was 14, assessing that she had a “great body for Epstein and his friends”.
She said she was recruited to give Epstein sexualised massages in exchange for $300, with Ms Maxwell arranging the “appointments” for the underage girl and sometimes handing over the cash.
Annie Farmer, the only accuser to identify herself at the trial, told the court that Ms Maxwell gave her a nude massage and groped her breasts at Epstein’s ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when she was just 16.
She said she had first met Epstein through her sister and believed he and Ms Maxwell wanted to help with her education.
Despite the emotional testimony from the four accusers, on 17 December Ms Maxwell declined to tell the court her side of the story in a show of confidence about her case.
“Your Honour, the government has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. So there is no need for me to testify,” she told the court.
Over 10 days of testimony, the prosecution called 24 witnesses to the stand.
Meanwhile, the defence called eight witnesses over two days – far less than the 35 they suggested at the start of the trial.
Prosecutors allege that Ms Maxwell and Epstein created a “pyramid scheme of abuse” from 1994 to 2004 by grooming young girls before sexually abusing them.
Ms Maxwell is charged with six counts: one each of enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in illegal sex acts, sex trafficking of a minor, and three counts of conspiracy related to the other counts.
She has pleaded not guilty and denies all of the allegations.
The jury began deliberations on 20 December. On 29 December, the jury returned a guilty verdict on five of the six charges.
Here’s what the four accusers testified in court:
The first accuser to take the stand testified that she was sexually abused by Ms Maxwell and Epstein for years starting at the age of 14, with the abuse taking place across three of the disgraced financier’s homes in Florida, New Mexico and New York.
The Hollywood actor testified under the name “Jane” and court sketch artists were told not to draw her likeness in order to protect her identity.
Jane has never publicly identified herself as a survivor of Epstein and Ms Maxwell’s alleged abuse and said she does not want to out of fears it will harm her acting career where “victim-shaming is still very present to this day”.
Jane told the court that she first met Ms Maxwell and Epstein back in 1994 at the age of 14 when she was attending a summer camp for musicians and actors at the Interlochin Center for the Arts in Michigan.
She said she was eating ice cream with friends at a picnic table when a “tall, thin woman” with a “cute little Yorkie” walked past.
The students began petting the dog and, soon after, the other students left and a man – now known as Epstein – arrived.
Jane said Epstein told her he was a major donor for the camp and that he supported young talent, taking an interest in her classes and what she wanted to do.
When Jane told them she lived in Palm Beach, Florida, Epstein said he had a home there too and took her phone number.
Weeks later, she said she and her mother were invited to Epstein’s home for tea.
After that first visit, the teenager would continue to regularly visit the Palm Beach home without her mother.
Jane told how she was grieving the loss of her father at the time, who had died just months earlier.
Her family had lost their home following his death, and so she was impressed by Epstein’s sprawling mansion, the duo’s powerful connections as they name-dropped the likes of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton – and their apparent offer of mentorship.
At first, she said she looked upon Ms Maxwell as a “quirky” older sister who would take her shopping and buy her clothes and Victoria’s Secret underwear.
Jane said Ms Maxwell soon began talking to her about sex and once told her “if you f*** them once you can f*** them again because they are grandfathered in”.
Jane testified that the first time the abuse took place, Epstein led her into his pool house when she was 14.
There, he pulled the young girl on top of him on a couch and “proceeded to masturbate on me”, she said. Ms Maxwell was not there that first time.
Jane described how she was “frozen in fear” and “had never seen a penis before”.
Epstein, she said, acted like “nothing had happened” afterwards and she told no one about the incident because she was “terrified and felt gross” and “ashamed”.
It was not long after that first incident that the 14-year-old was abused again - this time with Ms Maxwell allegedly joining in the abuse, she said.
On that occasion, Jane testified that Ms Maxwell and Epstein led her into a bedroom at Epstein’s Palm Beach home and undressed.
She said the duo began “fondling each other” before asking her to take her top off.
“Then their hands [were] everywhere and Jeffrey proceeded to masturbate and Ghislaine was rubbing him and kissing him and fondling,” she said.
Jane testified that both Ms Maxwell and Epstein touched her body during that encounter.
From then onwards, Jane said she continued to be sexually abused “every time” she visited one of Epstein’s properties as she was flown on his private jet - nicknamed the Lolita Express – between New York, Florida and New Mexico.
Often, she said, she would be led into a massage room and instructed by Ms Maxwell to perform sexualised massages on Epstein.
As well as Ms Maxwell and Epstein, Jane said she was also forced to take part in group orgies with other older women.
She also testified that, when she was 14, she met Donald Trump when Epstein took her to his Mar-a-Lago estate. She also met several influential people including Prince Andrew on Epstein’s private jet, she said.
The witness did not accuse any of these individuals of being involved in the abuse.
Ms Maxwell’s defence sought to discredit Jane’s account, pointing to purported inconsistencies between what she said in her court testimony and in interviews with FBI agents between 2019 and 2021.
Jane responded that she “couldn’t recall” all the details of her conversations with investigators but that she believed some of the notes they took were inaccurate.
The second accuser to take the stand, a British woman known only as “Kate”, said she was first introduced to Ms Maxwell through an older boyfriend on a trip to Paris in 1994.
She said she was a “lonely” 17-year-old at the time and lived close to Ms Maxwell in Belgravia, London, with her mother.
When she returned home, she was invited to Ms Maxwell’s home for tea.
This first visit involved only her and Ms Maxwell who she said she saw as a “new friend”.
On her next visit, Epstein was there and she was encouraged to massage the paedophile’s feet and shoulders to show him “how strong” she was.
Despite having no massage therapy training, she received a call a couple of weeks later from Ms Maxwell asking her to come to her townhouse and massage Epstein.
Kate testified that she was led upstairs by Ms Maxwell to a massage room where Epstein was naked.
Ms Maxwell gave her some massage oil and closed the door, shutting the teenager alone in a room with Epstein, according to Kate.
Kate testified that Epstein then engaged in a sex act with her.
She said she was called back to the townhouse a few days later and was greeted by Ms Maxwell who told her she “did such a good job last time”.
Ms Maxwell then allegedly led Kate upstairs to the same room massage room telling her “have a good time” as she closed the door on her in a room with a naked Epstein.
Epstein engaged in a sex act with Kate again this time, she said.
Afterwards, Kate said Ms Maxwell asked her: “How did it go? Did you have fun? Was it good?”
Kate said she saw Ms Maxwell and Epstein “multiple times” over the next few years as she was flown between the financier’s properties in New York and Florida and his Caribbean island Little St James for the sexual encounters.
Kate told the court that, on one occasion when she was 18, Ms Maxwell laid out a schoolgirl’s outfit on a bed in Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion and told her she thought it would “be fun for you to take Jeffrey his tea in this outfit”.
“I didn’t know how to say no,” said Kate.
She said she wore the outfit for sex with Epstein and was told by Ms Maxwell afterwards what “a good girl” she was and “that I was one of his favourites”.
Kate testified that Ms Maxwell also asked her if she knew any other “cute, young and pretty” people who could come and perform oral sex on Epstein.
She said it was “a lot for her to do” and that Epstein needed to have sex “about three times a day”.
The incidents happened when Kate was over the age of consent - with the sexual encounters in the UK happening when she was 17 where the consent age is 16 and the incidents in the US when she was 18.
The court was told that Kate’s testimony did not therefore show illegal sexual activitiy but, instead, it was included to establish what the state described as a pattern of grooming and abusing young girls and women.
Under cross-examination, Kate told the court she was still in contact with Epstein through 2012 even after he was convicted of child prostitution charges.
The third accuser testified under her first name Carolyn telling the court that she was first introduced to Epstein through Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, the Epstein accuser seen in the now-infamous photo with Ms Maxwell and Prince Andrew as a teenager.
Carolyn told the court how she had a difficult home life, living with an alcoholic mother and being raped by her grandfather from the age of four.
She said Ms Roberts-Giuffre first took her to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion at the age of 14 suggesting she could make money from the wealthy older man.
On that first visit, she told the court she met Ms Maxwell who told Ms Roberts-Giuffre to “bring her upstairs and show her what to do”.
Ms Roberts-Giuffre showed Carolyn how Epstein liked to be massaged and she saw her engage in a sex act with Epstein that day, she testified.
Ms Roberts-Giuffre has claimed that Ms Maxwell and Epstein trafficked her to powerful men for sex including Prince Andrew. Both Ms Maxwell and Prince Andrew deny the allegations.
Despite being one of the most vocal accusers of Epstein and Ms Maxwell, she was not called to testify at the latter’s trial.
Carolyn told the court that, after the first incident, she was called to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion more than 100 times from the age of 14 to give Epstein sexualised massages in exchange for $300 cash.
At the peak of the alleged abuse, she would visit the home around two to three times a week, she said.
“Something sexual happened every single time,” Carolyn said.
The visits were arranged by Ms Maxwell, she said, who would call her to arrange “appointment times” for when the abuse took place. If she couldn’t reach her directly, Carolyn said the defendant would call her mother or boyfriend.
Carolyn testified that on at least one occasion she recalled Ms Maxwell being the person who handed her the cash.
Ms Maxwell also wanted to fly her out to Little St James – dubbed “Paedophile Island” by Epstein’s accusers – but she said her mother wouldn’t allow it and she didn’t own a passport, Carolyn told the court.
Carolyn testified that she was also asked to recruit friends around her age to give Epstein sexualised massages. She said she was paid an extra $300 each time she took along a friend.
Carolyn testified that, during one visit, Ms Maxwell groped her in a massage room assessing the underage girl’s naked body “for Mr Epstein and his friends”.
“She came in and felt my boobs, my hips and my buttocks, and said that... I had a great body for Mr Epstein and his friends. She said that I had a great body type,” she told the court.
Ms Maxwell also saw Carolyn naked in Epstein’s massage room “probably three times”, she testified.
Carolyn told the court that the sexualised massages escalated to penetrative sex with Epstein and orgies with other people.
Carolyn told the court she used the money to buy drugs and became addicted to cocaine and opioids.
Ms Maxwell’s defence team tried to discredit her account, saying that in an FBI interview in 2007 the accuser did not mention Ms Maxwell once. Carolyn responded that the interview was about allegations against Epstein and she was not asked about Ms Maxwell at the time.
Annie Farmer was the last accuser to testify at Ms Maxwell’s trial and the only to waive her anonymity, after she has spoken out publicly in the past about the alleged abuse she and her sister Maria Farmer suffered at the hands of Epstein and Ms Maxwell.
Ms Farmer told the court she first met Epstein at the age of 16 in 1995 through her older sister – an aspiring artist in New York who had recently started working for Epstein.
She said Epstein had bought her a plane ticket to New York with her sister telling her the billionaire wanted to help her with her education.
The siblings both visited his home to collect theatre tickets and he appeared to be “friendly” and “down to earth”, she said.
After that initial meeting, she said Epstein took the two sisters to the movies.
During the film, she said Epstein began caressing and rubbing her - first her hand, then the bottom of her shoe, her foot and her leg.
Ms Farmer testified that it made her feel “very nervous” and “sick” and she noticed Epstein would stop when he interacted with her sister.
It was then in April 1996, when the still 16-year-old Ms Farmer was invited to Epstein’s ranch in Santa Fe under the promise that he wanted to pay for her college study, she said.
Ms Farmer told the court that she was “not eager” to go but thought both Ms Maxwell and other young people would be going.
She had not met Ms Maxwell before but believed she and Epstein were “romantic partners” so she felt more comfortable knowing she would be there as she “didn’t think he’d do anything like that when they were together”, she said.
When she arrived at the ranch, she realised she was the only young person there.
Ms Farmer said it was then decided that Ms Maxwell would show her how to give Epstein a foot massage.
“She was instructing me. I did what she told me. I felt very uncomfortable. I wanted to stop,” she told the court.
Then, Ms Maxwell allegedly asked the teenager if she had ever had a professional massage.
“She said she wanted me to have that experience and would be happy to give me a massage,” testified Ms Farmer.
Ms Farmer told the court that Ms Maxwell had told her to get undressed and get under the sheet on a massage table, which was already set up in the room she was staying in.
Ms Maxwell then “pulled the sheet down and exposed my breasts, and started rubbing on my chest and on my upper breast”, testified Ms Farmer.
“Once she pulled down the sheet I felt like kind of frozen,” she testified.
“It didn’t make sense to me that that would happen. I just wanted so badly to get off the table and have this massage be done.”
The following morning, Epstein came into her room and climbed into her bed telling her he “wanted to cuddle”, she said.
Ms Farmer testified that the paedophile “pressed “his body into me” and she “felt kind of frozen”.
Later that day, she said Ms Maxwell appeared to no longer be interested in talking to her about her education.
When she left the ranch after that visit, Ms Farmer said she did not speak to or see Ms Maxwell again.
Under cross-examination, Ms Maxwell’s defence questioned Ms Farmer over alleged inconsistencies between her statements on the stand and in previous interviews with investigators and in the media.
Both Ms Farmer’s ex-boyfriend David Muligan and mother Janice Swain also testified at the trial, with Mr Muligan telling the court the accuser had previously told him about the alleged massage from Ms Maxwell.
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