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Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial enters second week after accuser's testimony

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By Reuters
Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial enters second week after accuser's testimony
Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial enters second week after accuser's testimony   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

By Luc Cohen

NEWYORK – The sex abuse trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell enters its second week on Monday after jurors last week heard the testimony of a woman who says Maxwell set her up for abuse by late financier Jeffrey Epstein when she was a teenager.

Prosecutors are expected to call three other accusers in the trial in New York, which is set to last through January. Maxwell, 59, stands accused of recruiting and grooming four underage girls for abuse by Epstein between 1994 and 2004, and faces eight counts of sex trafficking and other charges.

In tearful and explicit testimony in federal court, the first accuser – known by the pseudonym Jane – said Epstein abused her beginning when she was 14 in the mid-1990s. Maxwell sometimes participated in the encounters, Jane said.

Maxwell, a daughter of late British media baron Robert Maxwell, has pleaded not guilty. Her attorneys have questioned the four accusers’ credibility and argue prosecutors are only targeting Maxwell because Epstein is no longer alive.

The well-connected, globetrotting investor killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell at the age of 66 in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

During the trial’s first week, jurors also heard from Epstein’s longtime personal pilot, who recalled Britain’s Prince Andrew and former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump flying on Epstein’s plane. Jane said Epstein introduced her to Trump at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club when she was 14.

Neither Prince Andrew, Clinton nor Trump have been accused of wrongdoing.

Jurors were also shown a green massage table that police seized from Epstein’s Palm Beach property during a 2005 search. Jane said many of her sexual encounters with Epstein began as massages. Prosecutors say the word massage was a “ruse” to get underage girls in a room with Epstein.