Ghislaine Maxwell trial: jury to see interiors of notorious Palm Beach estate

Jurors expected to see a videotape of home where prosecutors say she and Jeffrey Epstein exploited underage victims

This courtroom sketch shows Ghislaine Maxwell arriving at court in New York with two US marshals for her trial on charges of sex trafficking. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Jurors in the sex abuse trial of Ghislaine Maxwell are expected on Friday to see a law enforcement videotape of the interior of a Florida estate where prosecutors say she and financier Jeffrey Epstein exploited underage victims when the pair lived there together.

The video was shot during a 2005 raid at the Palm Beach home, which was decorated with nude photos and paintings of young women — decor that federal prosecutors in Manhattan claim is proof of a sexualised atmosphere encouraged by Ms Maxwell, Epstein's “partner in crime".

Prosecutors have alleged the British socialite groomed teenage girls by taking them on shopping trips and movie outings, talking to them about their lives and encouraging them to accept financial help from Epstein.

The government also says she helped to create a sexualised atmosphere by talking with the girls about sex and encouraging them to give Epstein massages. A woman identified as “Jane” gave evidence this week that she had sexual interactions with Epstein at age 14 with Ms Maxwell in the room and sometimes participating.

Ms Maxwell denies the allegations against her, and her lawyers say prosecutors are going after her because they cannot try Epstein. She was Epstein’s one-time girlfriend and, later, employee.

On Friday, former Epstein housekeeper Juan Patricio Alessi returned to the witness box to face cross-examination over his evidence that “Jane” and another woman who has accused Epstein of sexually abusing her as a teenager were frequent visitors to the Palm Beach mansion, where Ms Maxwell was “the lady of the house".

Juan Alessi, who worked full-time for Jeffrey Epstein from 1991 to 2002, is cross-examined by defence lawyer Jeffrey Pagliuca during the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell. Reuters

A lawyer for the British socialite sought to discredit Mr Alessi — who worked for Epstein from 1990 to 2002 — by confronting him with a deposition from a civil case that the defence says was inconsistent with his trial evidence.

Mr Alessi claimed on Friday that none of the many young women who visited the Florida house alerted him to any misconduct.

“I wish they would have because I would have done something,” he said.

Updated: December 03, 2021, 8:06 PM