Prosecutors call ex-boyfriend of Ghislaine Maxwell accuser to testify at trial
Besides Carolyn, a woman identified as Jane also testified that she had sexual contact with Epstein starting when she was 14. Carolyn's case underlies Maxwell's sex trafficking charge, because she was allegedly paid for interactions with Epstein.
Prosecutors at Ghislaine Maxwell's criminal trial on Wednesday called to the witness stand a former boyfriend of a woman who said she was a teenager when the British socialite set her up for sexual abuse by late financier Jeffrey Epstein. The man, who identified himself as Shawn, testified that he had begun dating a woman named Carolyn in Florida when he was 17 and she was 14.
Carolyn, now in her mid-30s, testified on Tuesday that she had sexual encounters with Epstein at his Palm Beach, Florida, mansion beginning when she was 14 in 2002. Prosecutors are expected as soon as Wednesday afternoon to call the fourth woman identified in Maxwell's indictment to begin testifying.
They have said that they may wrap up their case by Thursday, about two weeks faster than they originally forecast. The defense would have a chance to present a case after the prosecution rests. It is unclear whether Maxwell would testify, given the prospect she could face a lengthy cross-examination by prosecutors.
Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of sex trafficking and other charges for her alleged role in recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004. Her lawyers have said that her accusers' memories have been corrupted over the years, and that Maxwell is being scapegoated for Epstein's alleged conduct.
The globetrotting investor died by suicide in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting his own sex abuse trial. Besides Carolyn, a woman identified as Jane also testified that she had sexual contact with Epstein starting when she was 14.
Carolyn's case underlies Maxwell's sex trafficking charge, because she was allegedly paid for interactions with Epstein. She said the encounters began as massages before escalating. Maxwell allegedly groomed the fourth alleged victim, referred to in the indictment as Minor Victim-2, for abuse by Epstein at his New Mexico ranch while she was under 18 in 1996.
According to the indictment, Maxwell took the victim shopping and to a movie, gave her an unsolicited massage while the victim was topless and encouraged her to massage Epstein. Prosecutors have said the term massage was a "ruse" designed to get girls to touch Epstein.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ruled that any sexual contact the accuser had with Epstein at the time was not illegal, citing New Mexico law. She had issued a similar ruling about Kate, another alleged victim who testified against Maxwell, saying Kate was old enough to consent at the time of her alleged sexual encounters with Epstein.
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