Following an intense first week proceedings that documented authentication of Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book alongside photos of Pope John Paul II and Fidel Castro, jurors and journalists alike returned on Monday morning to funnel into SDNY courthouse overflow rooms to spectate and report on further testimony related to the largest federal child sex trafficking trial in history.
Monday’s session commenced with Judge Nathan ruling a public redaction of pictures and “creepy animal” figures seen in Epstein’s massage room and throughout his Palm Beach mansion. Judge Nathan claimed it could be risking prejudice of the jury. Testimony given by a female witness made known to the public under the pseudonym “Kate” (the 2nd of 4 accusers expected to take the stand throughout the trial) would follow.
Kate was asked by the prosecution to provide further context as to how she met Epstein and Maxwell. She explained she had met Maxwell at the age of 17, when she was introduced by her 35-year-old boyfriend, who was also a former Oxford classmate of Ghislaine’s (not named). Kate proceeded to disclose that she visited Ghislaine’s townhouse after Maxwell had invited her. This is where she encountered Jeffrey Epstein for the first time. Kate recalled Maxwell instructing her to give Epstein a massage while wearing a schoolgirl’s outfit (that another victim known as “Jane” had previously identified in court less than a week earlier).
When asked if Epstein made sexual contact with her during that massage. She responded “yes”.
When Kate was asked if Ghislaine was present during this massage, Kate responded “yes”.
Kate recalled Maxwell asking her afterwards “How was it? Did you enjoy it?”
Kate would also explain that Maxwell had told her she “was friends with Prince Andrew and Donald Trump”. Kate stated Ghislaine had bought her clothes and a black Prada bag after she was raped by Epstein. Maxwell had allegedly instructed Kate to recruit other young girls to perform sex acts on Epstein. Prosecution would finish questioning by confirming that Jane stopped communicating with Epstein in her late 20’s.
Defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim would approach the witness bench for cross-examination, which would be better described as an absurdly inappropriate attack on Kate’s character (with little basis or relevance). After establishing Kate’s history as an actor and a model, Sternheim was quick to try and distort the jury’s perspective of the witness and refocus away from the crimes of Maxwell and Epstein.
“You used drugs for 10 years, right?” to which Jane responded “yes”.
Sternheim continued “and you dated other men, right?” which Kate again answered “yes”.
Each of these questions aims to cause prejudice within the jury, as Sternheim is aiming to conjure Kate’s image as a promiscuous model, instead of a child that was raped and trafficked by sexual predators. Sternheim would repeatedly use the term “underage girl” during her cross examination instead of the term “child” in an attempt to misrepresent events to the jury and minimize the heinous crimes of Maxwell and Epstein.
It is uncertain how this line of questioning pertains to the accusations of child rape and sex trafficking. If anything, this demonstrated the defense has no legitimate strategy other than aiming to smear witnesses and accusers. Sternheim also framed numerous questions in a way that aimed to reveal Kate’s identity (that were not relevant to alleged events) by emphasizing specifics about Kate’s public life. Sternheim would conclude her questioning with misguided inquiry, repeatably asking Kate if she was receiving a U.S visa in exchange for her co-operation with authorities (with no reference of evidence), which she answered “no” each time she was asked.
Specific scrutiny of Judge Nathan’s conduct is deserved following today’s session. She has claimed to be interested in ensuring witness protection, requesting that alleged victims use pseudonyms, while also redacting exhibits from public view. A blatant failure by Nathan to uphold due process and protect the witnesses’ anonymity and integrity throughout the trial’s process is evident.
Patrick McHugh, Executive Director of U.S Banking behemoth JP Morgan would occupy the witness stand next. Mchugh would be asked by prosecution to authenticate evidence relating to several large wire transfers made by Maxwell and Epstein, including a $7.4 million wire transfer from Epstein’s JPM Chase account to a BNY Mellon account owned by Maxwell.
Several other transactions would be detailed including a 1999 wire transfer of $18 million sent from Epstein to Maxwell’s Bear Sterns account. Mchugh also testified as to an additional $5 million that was funneled to Maxwell from Epstein in 2002. Mchugh would proceed to authenticate documents relating to a helicopter purchase made by Epstein with a JP Morgan bank account.
Proceedings concluded at roughly 4:58pm today, with testimony given by Special Agent Kelly Mcguire, FBI. Special Agent Mcguire would confirm she witnessed Epstein’s massage room and “hundreds of pictures of naked women” during the 2005 Palm Beach Mansion raid. Free Press Report coverage of the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial will continue following tomorrow’s session.