Woman describes how Ghislaine Maxwell induced her to give naked Jeffrey Epstein a massage

  • In US
  • 2021-12-06 20:49:11Z
  • By Miami Herald

When Kate met Ghislaine Maxwell at the age of 17, the then-aspiring British singer songwriter recalled being taken in by Maxwell's charm, sophistication and social connections.

"She seemed everything I wanted to be," Kate testified Monday at the trial of the British socialite. Maxwell faces six charges connected to the sexual trafficking of minors and is accused of grooming and recruiting four girls to have sex with Jeffrey Epstein.

Kate - who is testifying under a pseudonym to protect her privacy - said that Maxwell used massages as a pretext to pressure her to be with Epstein.

The first time she was introduced to Epstein, Maxwell directed Kate to give Epstein's feet "a squeeze" to show him how strong her hands were.

The next time, Maxwell claimed that Epstein's massage therapist had canceled at the last minute so she asked Kate to fill in.

Maxwell led Kate to a room in her West London townhouse where Epstein appeared in a robe, which he dropped, showing he was naked.

The massage quickly turned sexual, although Kate was instructed not to go into detail for the jury because she was above the age of consent in the United Kingdom, which is 16, at the time of the alleged sexual acts with Epstein.

Afterwards, she recalled Maxwell was excited.

"How'd it go? Did you have fun? Was it good?" Maxwell said.

Maxwell explained to Kate that Epstein had a nearly insatiable sexual appetite and that she couldn't keep up with his demands for sex three times a day and his constant need for oral sex.

"I understood that it was her job to take care of Jeffrey's needs," she said.

Kate paid many visits to Maxwell's London home after she first met Maxwell and Epstein in approximately 1994 or 1995 and also visited Epstein's residences in New York, Palm Beach and his private island, Little Saint James, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

She recalled that on a visit to Palm Beach, Maxwell had laid out a schoolgirl outfit for her to wear for role playing with Epstein.

Kate gave up a spot at Oxford University to pursue a career in modeling and remained in Maxwell and Epstein's orbit for more than a decade, fearing that if she were to leave, they would take revenge through their many connections.

Maxwell, she said, told her she was "a good girl" and was Jeffrey's "favorite"

Epstein's sexual abuse of girls would be investigated by local police in Palm Beach and later the Federal Bureau of Investigation beginning in 2005 before the financiers' legal team negotiated a strikingly favorable plea deal finalized in 2008 that allowed him to plead guilty to two solicitation charges, one involving a minor. Epstein served 13 months in a county jail and was allowed to regularly work from a West Palm Beach office for the duration of his sentence.

Bobbi Sternheim, part of the defense team on behalf of Ghislaine Maxwell.
Bobbi Sternheim, part of the defense team on behalf of Ghislaine Maxwell.  

Epstein's deal was the subject of the Miami Herald's 2018 Perversion of Justice series, and the renewed attention to his case led federal prosecutors in New York's Southern District to bring new sex charges against Epstein in July 2019. Epstein was held in federal custody and was found dead in a Manhattan prison in what has been ruled a suicide, though Epstein's brother Mark has disputed that assessment.

Maxwell was charged one year later for her alleged role in recruiting girls for Epstein's abuse. Maxwell was arrested on a 156-acre estate in New Hamphire that had been purchased months earlier through an anonymous shell company and which she had visited under a pseudonym.

Kate also said that during the period she was with Epstein she had a 10-year addiction to alcohol, cocaine and sleeping pills.

On cross examination, Maxwell's attorney Bobbi Sternheim sought to show that Kate's memory might have been altered by drugs and alcohol, that her testimony was motivated by money and her hope that the government would help her obtain a new visa to stay in the United States.

The witness however insisted that she refrained from substance abuse during the times when she was with Epstein and Maxwell largely because they insisted that she be drug-free.

Sternheim also questioned why Kate would use a pseudonym during the trial when she spoke publicly - using her real name - in court after Epstein's death - as well as in several television and tabloid interviews.

Curiously, she never mentioned Maxwell in the interviews, Sternheim said.

Sternheim tried to use those interviews to show that Kate wanted the media attention in order to help her show business career.

A property listing for the Bradford, N.
A property listing for the Bradford, N.  

She confirmed that she has appeared in at least one movie, produced her own album many years ago and appeared in a television reality show about people interested in making it in Hollywood.

Now a music therapist, Kate denied that her cooperation in the case was related to ambition or money.

Sternheim pointed to the $3.25 million that Kate received last year from a victims' compensation fund set up by the financier's estate.

"Wasn't your lawyer instrumental in setting up that fund?" Sternheim asked, referring to her civil attorney, Brad Edwards.

Edwards represents more than two dozen Epstein accusers, including Kate.

Maxwell's attorneys have focused so far on inconsistencies in versions of the stories of their abuse that accusers have told over the years to law enforcement and publicly and pointed to their potential financial motivation in testifying. All four of the alleged victims in the Maxwell indictment received payments from a compensation fund established for victims of Epstein.

Jill Steinberg, a former federal prosecutor and Department of Justice official with extensive experience with child exploitation case, said she understood why Maxwell's team would focus on the potential financial motivation for accusers but said she thought they would be unlikely to open themselves up to the scrutiny of a high-profile public trial purely for financial gain.

"Why testify against Ms. Maxwell when Epstein is already dead? Why put yourself through this?" she said. "This seems like a heck of a lot of hassle and a heck of a lot of agony for not a lot of yield."


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