‘Jane’, who did not accuse Trump or duke of misconduct, testifies in court she was introduced to former president by Jeffrey Epstein
The first accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell’s child sex trafficking trial testified on Wednesday that Jeffrey Epstein introduced her to Donald Trump
when she was 14. This accuser also claimed that she was on a flight with Prince Andrew.
She did not accuse Trump or the Duke of York of any misconduct. The accuser, who used the pseudonym “Jane” in court, said this as she was undergoing cross-examination from one of Maxwell’s attorneys.
“Mr Epstein introduced you to Donald Trump
, correct?” defense lawyer Laura Menninger asked.
“He took you to Mar-a-Lago when you were 14, you claim?” Menninger said, in reference to the former president’s home in Palm Beach, Florida.
“Yes,” Jane said.
“He took you in a dark green car and you met Donald Trump
Menninger also asked: “You remember Prince Andrew being on a flight with you?”
“Yes,” Jane said.
Jane had alleged on Tuesday that Maxwell drew her into Epstein’s predatory orbit when she was 14 years old. At times, Jane alleged, Maxwell was present when Epstein sexually abused her, and claimed that she sometimes participated in the encounters.
Epstein, a financier and convicted sex offender who counted Prince Andrew among his associates, killed himself at a New York City jail in August 2019 while awaiting his own sex-trafficking trial.
Maxwell, 59, daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell, was arrested at a luxurious New Hampshire estate in July last year. She is on trial for six counts related to her alleged involvement in Epstein’s sexual abuse of teenage girls. She has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Menninger challenged Jane about statements she made to law enforcement in the months following Epstein’s death. Menninger did so by pointing Jane to statements she had previously given to authorities.
“It is true that you do not recall Ghislaine ever touching you?” Menninger asked.
“That’s not true,” Jane said.
Menninger said: “When you spoke to the government in December of 2019, with your lawyers there, and you told the government at that time, you are not sure whether Maxwell ever touched you during these encounters, correct?”
“I don’t recall,” Jane said, referring to what she had told authorities.
“You told the government you had no memory of Ghislaine being present when you claim that Epstein engaged in any sexual contact with you?”
“I don’t recall.”
“You recall telling the government that Maxwell never touched you?”
“I don’t recall that,” Jane replied.
Menninger also asked: “Has your story changed about how many times you remember abuse over the course of your discussions with the government?”
Menninger’s questioning speaks to one aspect of Maxwell’s defense – attempting to undermine accusers’ recollection of events. The defense is expected to call psychologist Elizabeth Loftus as a witness, to discuss how people can form “false memories”.
Maxwell’s demeanor on day three of testimony was in keeping with the way she has carried herself throughout the trial. Maxwell entered the courtroom and hugged her lawyers as usual. Her brother, Kevin Maxwell, approached her at the divider and spoke with her. Her sister, Isabel, also went to speak with her prior to the proceedings starting.
When cross-examination ended, the prosecution had a chance to question Jane again. She blotted her eyes with tissue after being asked to describe Maxwell’s interaction with her during alleged abuse.
Prosecutors also asked Jane about her lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, which resulted in a settlement. That line of questioning addressed one of the defense’s strategies, which is to portray Maxwell’s accusers as being motivated by money.
“Would you give that money back if it meant that you weren’t abused as a kid?” the prosecution asked.
Jane started crying moments later. She said “sorry” as her voice cracked.
The prosecution asked Jane what the money meant to her. “I wish I would have never received that money in the first place, because of what happened,” she said.
When Jane’s testimony concluded, prosecutors called one of her former boyfriends to the stand. The man, who testified under the pseudonym “Matt” to keep Jane’s identity confidential, said she had discussed a “godfather”-like figure who helped cover her expenses as a child.
In about 2008, he said, Jane told Matt that the FBI had contacted her, asking if she wanted to tell her story. That year, Epstein would start his sentence for soliciting a minor for prostitution.
Matt told the court: “She said: you know the godfather that I told you about? She said: I need you to know this is who it is.”
“I said: that guy is your godfather?” Matt continued. “She said yes.”
“Did you ask her the details about what happened with her and Jeffrey Epstein?” the prosecution asked.
“Yes, I did.”
Matt said Jane did not provide details about their interactions.
Asked how Jane reacted to questions about Epstein, Matt said: “She would say to me: ‘Matt, the money wasn’t fucking free.’”
Prosecutors have alleged that Maxwell was Epstein’s “best friend and right hand”.
“Who was most frequently in the room when you had sexual contact with Jeffrey Epstein when you were 14 years old?” prosecutor Alison Moe asked.
“Ghislaine Maxwell,” Jane responded.
The trial continues.