Ghislaine Maxwell case DAY 1 takeaways: From 'Jane' to Sarah Ransome's chilling testimony
The prosecution began their opening argument, saying, 'I want to tell you about a young girl named Jane'
As the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell began on November 29, 2021, some questions may finally be answered about the sex scandal involving late Jeffery Epstein. Maxwell was arrested on July 2, 2020, and is one of the few remaining links to Epstein after he suspiciously died in jail. The trial is likely to finally tell us how far and wide Epstein's sex trafficking ring goes. It will also hopefully bring justice to the victims.
Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and Epstein’s former girlfriend is accused of having been part of a sex trafficking racket run by convicted pedophile Jeffery Epstein. She was arrested in July 2020 while she was hiding in New Hampshire. Maxwell, who was in a relationship with Epstein during the '90s, is accused of helping the billionaire sexually exploit girls. US District Judge Alison J Nathan, after being sworn in, reminded the jury that they must rely solely on the evidence provided in the courtroom. Here are five key takeaways from the first day of the trial:
The opening statement of the prosecution
The prosecution began their opening argument, saying, "I want to tell you about a young girl named Jane”, which is a reference to the Jane Doe pseudonym. Prosecutors said that Maxwell played a "key role" in the alleged sex trafficking trade, in which she allegedly "befriended" and later "enticed and groomed multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts with Epstein" and was also, at times, "present for and involved" in the abuse herself. "This man and this woman were predators," Pomerantz said. "She knew what was going to happen to these girls. There were times when she was in the room when it happened."
The opening statement of the defense
Maxwell’s defense attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, said that Maxwell is merely a "convenient stand-in" for Epstein, who was the 'true criminal'. "Jeffrey Epstein manipulated the world around him and the people around him, including Ghislaine," Sternheim said. "Ghislaine Maxwell is on trial because of her association with Jeffrey Epstein." Sternheim also claimed that the accusers were influenced by lawyers, media and money.
Sarah Ransome arrives
One of the many women to have accused Epstein and Maxwell of abuse, Sarah Ransome told reporters on Monday morning, November 29, upon arriving at the courthouse, "I never thought this day would come.” Sarah Ransome, who claims she was repeatedly raped by the deceased pedophile, preferred swimming through shark-infested waters in an attempt to escape his captivity, according to reports. Ransome reportedly was so determined to escape Little St. James, Epstein's private island, that she even risked her life by diving in the Caribbean waters. Ransome, while talking to The Telegraph, said: "I had been raped three times that day. A shark would have been my best friend at that point. I didn’t even think about it — it was just, get me away." She recalled jumping on a quad bike in a frantic attempt to flee the island and planning to attempt to swim several miles to the neighboring St. Thomas island. However, she told the outlet that she was spotted on surveillance cameras which were across Epstein's island and was stopped by his team of staff.
The first witness
The first witness at the trial was Epstein’s former pilot Larry Visoski. Visoki opened up about flight routes to St Thomas and other locations associated with Epstein. before the court adjourned for the day, Visoki went on to characterize Maxwell’s relationship with Epstein as "couple-ish".
Who are the witnesses?
As many as four alleged victims will be put on the stand by the prosecution and they will be identified only as Minor Victim 1, Minor Victim 2, Minor Victim 3 and Minor Victim 4. Minor Victim 1 was reportedly about 14 years of age when Epstein abused her at his homes in New York and Florida. Maxwell allegedly involved the girl in “sexualized massages” on Epstein. Epstein allegedly abused Minor Victim 2 at his New Mexico ranch in 1996. Maxwell allegedly encouraged the victim to massage Epstein and also gave her an unsolicited topless massage. Minor Victim 3 was allegedly introduced to Epstein in London when she was 17 years old, and over the age of consent. Maxwell has been accused of encouraging her to perform sexualized massages on Epstein in 1994 and 1995. Minor Victim 4 was allegedly recruited to give Epstein sexualized massages at his Palm Beach mansion when she was 14 years old, between 2001 and 2004. At Maxwell's bidding, she also allegedly recruited younger women for Epstein.
In March 2021, two new US federal charges were filed against Maxwell -- of being part of a sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor. Before these two charges were added to the indictment, Maxwell was already facing six more -- conspiracy to entice minors, and enticement of a minor, to travel to engage in illegal sex acts; conspiracy to transport minors, and transportation of a minor, with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two of perjury. So far, she has denied all of these charges.
Prosecutors have maintained that Maxwell helped Epstein groom and recruit girls who were as young as 14 years of age. The indictment also says that Maxwell “assisted, facilitated and contributed” to Epstein’s abuse of minor girls. It says that she helped him recruit, groom and abuse the victims, who “were known to Maxwell” and were under the age of 18.