A second accuser took the stand in the sex-trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell on Monday, claiming that the British socialite ordered her to put on a schoolgirl uniform and deliver a tray of tea to Jeffrey Epstein before he engaged in sex acts with her.
The 44-year-old woman, who testified under the pseudonym “Kate,” recalled the incident occurred during a visit to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion. (Kate was previously referred to as Minor Victim-3 in the indictment against Maxwell, but the defense argued she was of the age of consent in London when the alleged abuse occurred.)
Kate said she was “approximately 18” when the couple invited her to Epstein’s Florida estate, which she said had a “beautiful swimming pool” and was decorated with a multitude of photographs of young girls who were “unclothed.” “They were in almost every room,” Kate recalled of the disturbing images.
When Kate entered her guest room in Palm Beach, she says, there was a schoolgirl outfit on her bed, with a short pleated skirt and white socks. She testified that she went downstairs to ask Maxwell what the costume was for, and Maxwell handed her a tray and told her she “thought it would be fun” to bring Epstein his tea while dressed up.
Kate said she didn’t know anyone in Palm Beach and was terrified to disobey this directive. At the time, Epstein was next to his pool house working out with a personal trainer. The trainer left, Kate said, and Epstein then initiated sexual contact.
“She asked me if I had fun and told me I was such a good girl and that I was one of his favorites,” Kate testified of her conversation with Maxwell after the encounter.
Asked why Kate continued to see Epstein and Maxwell into her 20s and 30s, Kate answered, “I had witnessed how connected they both were and I was fearful.” (On cross examination, Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim pointed out that Kate emailed Epstein while he was in jail in Florida in 2008 for soliciting a minor and kept in touch with him through 2011.)
During her testimony, Kate described how she was a 17-year-old living in London when Maxwell befriended her and encouraged her to give Epstein sexualized massages—including in a small upstairs room at Maxwell’s townhouse in a tony neighborhood.
Kate said she first met Maxwell during a trip to Paris in 1994, when she was dating a man 18 years her senior who happened to be an Oxford classmate of the heiress. The accuser said Maxwell was “very sophisticated and very elegant” and asked Kate questions about her life. When Kate returned to London, Maxwell invited her to tea at her home.
“I was excited to be friends with her,” Kate testified. “She was exciting… She was everything I wanted to be.” Kate told jurors she felt “special” in Maxwell’s presence and believed they had a genuine connection. She told Maxwell about problems in her home life, including her mother’s poor health, and her aspirations of pursuing a career in music.
In turn, Maxwell told Kate about her boyfriend, Epstein, a philanthropist who liked to help young people. Maxwell said it “would be great for me to meet him,” Kate testified. “She said he was going to love me and that I was exactly the kind of person he would help…”
Weeks after this tea date, Maxwell allegedly invited Kate back again to meet Epstein. “She was very animated, very excited and there was this sense of urgency,” Kate testified.
When Kate arrived, Epstein was wearing sweatpants and a hoodie and sitting in a chair, talking on the phone loudly. Maxwell told Epstein that Kate was talented, possibly going to Oxford, and surprisingly athletic for her 95-pound frame.
“Why don’t you give his feet a little squeeze to show him how strong you are?” Maxwell asked Kate, who rubbed Epstein’s feet before giving him a shoulder massage.
Maxwell would call Kate a couple of weeks later saying that Epstein’s massage therapist had canceled and asking if Kate could “do her a favor because [she] had such strong hands.”
Kate testified that during this second meeting with Epstein, Maxwell led her to an upstairs room with massage tables and towels. Epstein was already inside, wearing a robe. She said Epstein slipped off the robe and was naked, while Maxwell stood in the doorway facing him.
According to Kate, Maxwell handed her some massage oils and shut the door. That’s when Epstein initiated sexual contact with Kate.
When Kate came back downstairs, Maxwell allegedly asked, “How’d it go? Did you have fun? Was it good?” Kate said Maxwell seemed “very excited and happy” and thanked her.
On a third occasion, Kate testified, Maxwell brought her to the upstairs massage room and said, “Have a good time,” before shutting the door.
“You’re such a good girl. I’m so happy you were able to come… he obviously likes you a lot,” Kate recalled Maxwell saying after the “massage” session was over.
Kate testified that she once saw a blonde and slim girl meeting with Maxwell in the London townhouse, too.
Maxwell also asked whether she knew of anyone who could give Epstein “a blow job because it was a lot for her to do,” Kate testified.
“You know what he likes—cute, young, pretty like you,” Maxwell allegedly said.
“She said he needed to have sex about three times a day,” Kate added of Maxwell. While Maxwell said it, according to Kate, “her demeanor was almost like a schoolgirl.”
But Kate testified that she never recruited girls for Epstein or Maxwell.
When Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz asked Kate of her understanding of the relationship between Maxwell and Epstein, the woman said she thought they were dating but that “I understood her job was to take care of Jeffrey’s needs.”
Those needs included managing his properties around the world and supervising the household staff using “aggressive” commands. Kate said Maxwell told her that she owned her home in London and a place in New York, which “Epstein got for her.”
During cross examination, Maxwell’s legal team worked to discredit Kate by asking her about the $3.25 million settlement she received from the victims’ compensation fund and peppered her with questions about her prior substance abuse, asking if it affected her memories of the timeframe she alleges Epstein and Maxwell sexually exploited her.
Sternheim asked Kate whether she was hoping to secure a special visa for victims who cooperate with the government. Kate said she had inquired about it.
The defense attorney asked Kate whether her lawyer, Brad Edwards, was instrumental in setting up the victims’ compensation fund, and Kate answered that she didn’t know.
Sternheim underscored that Kate had previously spoken publicly about Epstein in August 2019, when a judge held a hearing for victims after the financier killed himself and the criminal case against him was officially closed, and in a TV segment with other accusers.
Under questioning, Kate admitted that she didn’t mention Maxwell’s name during her statements at the 2019 hearing.
Sternheim also tried to undermine Kate’s testimony by asking whether she paid a friend to plant drugs on her ex, with whom she was embroiled in a custody battle. “Absolutely not,” Kate replied.
Maxwell’s lawyer then suggested Kate was once recruited by a tabloid to ask a man connected to the British royal family to buy her cocaine, in a conversation that was supposedly recorded at the Cannes film festival. Asked if she was paid 40,000 pounds for the alleged stunt, Kate said she wasn’t paid anything and was embarrassed by the situation.
Kate testified that she did stay in touch with Epstein until her 30s, when she had a child, and kept her emails with him but that she had no saved messages from Maxwell.
During follow-up questioning from the government, Kate said that testifying on Monday was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
Asked why she remembers vividly what happened with her, Maxwell and Epstein, Kate answered, “because those events come back to me all the time. I have nightmares about them.” She added that the settlement from the victims’ fund “was recognition of my pain.”
Three other witnesses were called after Kate: an employee of J.P. Morgan and two employees of the FBI.
Patrick McHugh of the bank’s client services group answered questions about a history of multimillion-dollar financial transactions from Epstein to Maxwell.
Records presented by the prosecution indicate that in October 1999, Epstein’s accounts wired Maxwell $18.3 million. The perverted money manager also wired her $5 million in September 2002 and $7.4 million in June 2007.
McHugh said the $7.4 million Maxwell received was then moved into an account for Air Ghislaine Inc., the LLC that owned her helicopter, and that a note sent with the transfer indicated it was used to pay a Connecticut firm for the chopper.
Christian Everdell, another lawyer for Maxwell, tried to plant seeds of doubt. He asked McHugh whether someone could open a trust account at a bank in another person’s name without them ever knowing the account existed. (McHugh didn’t answer that question because of an objection.)
Everdell also emphasized that some checks in Maxwell’s account were signed by Harry Beller, a longtime Epstein accountant.
After McHugh, prosecutors called FBI special agent Kelly Maguire, who helped execute search warrants at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion on July 6, 7, and 11, 2019.
Maguire described how the feds initially found a collection of binders with CDs inside them, along with a locked safe with even more discs. The safe contained jewelry, loose diamonds, a large stash of currency, passports, and hard drives, Maguire testified.
Still, authorities needed permission to seize the items discovered in the safe and returned on July 11 after obtaining another search warrant. Maguire said the property in the safe was gone when the FBI came back.
Maguire testified that she called Epstein’s longtime accountant, Richard Kahn, and his lawyer Andrew Tomback about the missing evidence. About 20 or 30 minutes later, Maguire said, Kahn appeared at the residence with suitcases holding the items from the safe. (As The Daily Beast previously reported, Kahn was a “righthand” employee of Epstein, alongside the financier’s personal attorney Darren Indyke.)
Agents discovered a trove of hard drives in a first-floor office near the front of the eight-story townhouse, too.
Maguire testified that the items had evidence tape on them but she had no idea why; she claimed it wasn’t placed there by the FBI.
Before court closed on Monday, another FBI staffer briefly testified about images found on the CDs seized from Epstein’s Upper East Side residence.
Kimberly Meder, an operations specialist with the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking squad, said that among the images on the discs was a photograph of Epstein and Maxwell together.