Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyer continues to question accuser in sexual abuse trial

NEW YORK, December 1 (Reuters) – A lawyer for Ghislaine Maxwell resumed questioning on Wednesday of a woman who said the British socialite had groomed her for sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein from the age of 14 in the 1990s and had participated in some meetings.

The woman, known as Jane, first took a stand for the government on Tuesday, the second day of Maxwell’s sexual abuse trial in Manhattan federal court. She is the first of four women who are expected to testify that Maxwell “treated” them for Epstein’s abuse as teenagers.

Jane said that Epstein offered to help her advance her career as an entertainer and then sexually assaulted her on a regular basis for years.

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Maxwell, 59, is charged with eight counts of sex trafficking and other crimes, including two counts of perjury which will be tried separately. She faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.

Maxwell, the daughter of the late British media mogul Robert Maxwell, has pleaded not guilty and her lawyers have said prosecutors are scapegoating her for Epstein’s alleged crimes. The investment adviser committed suicide at the age of 66 in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial for sexual abuse.

In a moving testimony Tuesday, Jane said she had sex with Epstein at her Palm Beach home several times a month when she was 14, 15 and 16. Other people were involved at times, including Maxwell, who Jane says touched her breasts.

During the first half hour of cross-examination on Tuesday, Maxwell’s attorney Laura Menninger asked Jane how she failed to report the encounters with Epstein and Maxwell to law enforcement before 2019, decades after they would have taken place.

Jane, now in her 40s, said she spoke to a former romantic partner, known as Matt, about Epstein’s abuse before meeting the FBI in 2019. Matt is expected to testify once that Jane will be finished, prosecutors said.

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Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Sandra Maler and Mark Porter

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Corina C. Butler