Lawrence Visoski Jr: 'Lolita Express' pilot first witness in Ghislaine Maxwell trial
Day 1 of Ghislaine Maxwell's trial in the sex trafficking case concluded at a New York court on Monday, November 29. Defense and prosecuting teams delivered opening statements in court painting Maxwell as both a "scapegoat" and "partner in crime" for registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein who died by suicide at his prison cell in 2019. Epstein's alleged sex trafficking and serial sex assault were enabled by a fleet of planes including a Boeing 727-200 which he modified for private use. Dubbed as the "Lolita Express" which has been a venue for many sex parties, women assaulted by Epstein alleged that these were organized by Maxwell and the pilot Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr took the stand as prosecution's witness on day one of her trial.
Visoski Jr testified that Maxwell would sometimes notify him about Epstein's upcoming travel plans. The former pilot was mainly asked to detail the nature of the Epstein-Maxwell relationship. Speaking about it, he described Oxford-educated Maxwell as "one of the assistants in the office for Mr Epstein" according to Reuters. Visoski Jr was hired by Epstein in 1991 who commenting on the dynamic that the late pedophile shared with his alleged madam Maxwell said, it was "more personal than business." He added, "I wouldn't even categorize it as romantic" further noting it was more "couple-ish." The pilot who goes by the nickname Larry said he never witnessed them kissing or holding hands. He testified that Maxwell was already managing many properties belonging to Epstein and was controlling staff recruitment and decorating many of Epstein's houses when he first met her. Visoski Jr will return to court on Tuesday, Nov 30.
Prosecutors described Ghislaine Maxwell as 'lady of the house'
Maxwell's defense lawyer Bobbi Sternheim argued her client was being put on trial only because the system couldn't bring Epstein to justice. She compared Maxwell to the biblical figure "Eve" saying, “Ever since Eve has been blamed for tempting Adam with an apple, women have been blamed for things men have done." She added, “She is not Jeffrey Epstein. She is not anything like Jeffrey Epstein." However, the prosecution argued Maxwell was the one who recruited underage girls for the late pedophile. "She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused," Assistant District Attorney Lara Pomerantz said in her opening statement.
Maxwell was described as the “lady of the house” who was “involved in every detail of Epstein’s life.” Prosecutors said there is a pattern for the abuse and it all started with Maxwell appointing minors to give massages to Epstein which later turned to child abuse. She sent gifts such as lingerie, discussed sexual topics with the girls, and promised them the world in a bid to lure them and win their trust. Sometimes she was also present in the room for these alleged massages. Maxwell is on trial for recruiting and grooming underage girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004. She has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of sex trafficking and other crimes, including two counts of perjury for which she will be tried at a later date.