This is the third article on this series. To read the first two installments, just click on the links below.
The second witness to testify was ‘Jane’, who is the first of the four victims that will come forward in this trial. She is a reputedly talented singer and actress who has a current role in a soap opera, and has asked to remain anonymous because she works in Hollywood ‘and victim shaming is still the norm.’
To being with, her birth certificate was entered into evidence – which can ensure that her age can be measured at any given date and event.
AUSA Maureen Comey started questioning her: ‘How old were you when you first had sexual contact with Mr. Epstein?’
Jane – Fourteen.
Comey – Who else was in the room?
Jane – Ghislaine Maxwell.
Jane then proceeds to identify Ghislaine Maxwell in the courtroom. She tells the court how her musical composer father died of Leukemia, and how this left the family destitute.
At Interlochen art camp, she met an adult couple. The elegant woman had a small dog, and the man mentioned that they were ‘big benefactors’. They asked for her mother’s phone number.
Jane said seemed very friendly. She thought they were a married couple and felt they were very inquisitive.
Initially, Maxwell and Epstein’s attention made her feel special. ‘I didn’t have much support or attention at home.’
When she visited Epstein’s Palm Beach house without her mother, she remembered seeing Ghislaine and another four women at the pool. They were all topless – and some of them were naked.
‘I was shocked. I hadn’t seen that before.’
Maxwell would ask her about boyfriends. Meanwhile, Epstein started to pay for her voice lessons, clothes, and things for school.
AUSA Maureen Comey: Did Ms. Maxwell give you some advice?
Jane: She said that if you fuck them [i.e. rich old guys], you can always fuck them, they’re sort of grandfathered in.
Jane said she laughed because she didn’t know what it meant. She testified that the house was decorated with creepy paintings and sculptures (naked women, creepy animals), and pictures of famous people.
A photograph of her as a 13-year-old is submitted under seal. This will let the jury see how she looked around the time when Maxwell was suggesting she ‘fuck, in order to grandfather’ old guys.
Jane recalls in detail one of the episodes of abuse: ‘Epstein took me into the pool house. He pulled his sweatpants down, pulled me on top of him. He then proceeded to masturbate on me. Then he went into the bathroom, cleaned himself and acted like nothing had happened. I was frozen in fear. I’d never seen a penis before.’
Comey: Did you keep spending time with them?
When he wanted to see her, Jeffrey Epstein used to send the chauffer to pick her up, since she did not have a driver’s license.
Jane recalled another instance of abuse: ‘Jeffrey proceeded to masturbate again. Ghislaine was rubbing on him, kissing on him.’
Comey: How old were you?
Comey: What was Ms. Maxwell’s demeanor like?
Jane: She was very casual, like this was all entirely normal. I was confused. When you are 14 you have no idea what is going on.
Comey: Did Jeffrey Epstein touch you?
Jane: Yes. Everywhere.
Comey: Did you touch Mr. Epstein?
Jane: [pause] Everywhere.
AUSA: I’m sorry to ask you this, but did he use sex toys?
Jane: Yes. Like those back massagers. They were painful. He did it anyway.
Comey: Did Maxwell touch your body?
This is the center of the whole case, right here. After targeting and grooming the victim, Maxwell not only fed her to what prosecutors called an ‘abuse pyramid’, but eventually would participate in the ‘festivities’.
Comey: How often did these things happen?
Jane: Every time I visited his house.
Comey: Did you travel to his other homes?
Comey: We’ll get back to that. When other people were present, how did incidents start?
Jane: Jeffrey would say to follow him.
Comey: Follow him where?
Jane: To his bedroom, or to the massage room. He would get on the massage table and it would sort of turn into this orgy.
Comey: How often was Maxwell present?
Jane: I can’t give a precise number.
Jane mentioned another instance when Epstein and Maxwell started to fondle each other and to giggle about it in front of her. She says she was 14 at the time.
She also said that Epstein liked to be massaged “hard” – having his nipples twisted hard, his feet rubbed hard.
Jane: It’s these mixed emotions. When you’re 14, you don’t know what is going on. He would touch my breasts. He would touch my vagina.
Comey: During the incident when you were 14, was Maxwell in the room?
Comey: When you were 14,15 and 16 how many times did you travel with them?
Jane: About ten times. To NYC, and New Mexico. On Jeffrey’s plane.
Comey: How did you feel, in the New York house?
Jane: Like someone was always watching you.
Comey: On the trip to New Mexico, where did you spend most of your time?
Jane: On the ranch. It was in the middle of nowhere.
AUSA: Did anyone come into your room?
Jane: Yes. Someone would come in and say ‘Jeffrey wants to see you’ and escort me to see him. (sobbing) I did not want to go see him.
Jane said that she had to fly back to Florida for school. She took a commercial flight. But since she was only 15 and didn’t have ID, she couldn’t board the plane. She said she ‘freaked out’, but that Maxwell helped solve it. ‘She talked to someone and I got on the plane.’
Jane testified that her family was losing their home, and had to move into a pool house. That difficult situation put her in a hard position since she now needed Epstein’s help more than ever.
She got emotional, and said: ‘I felt my heart sinking into my stomach because I didn’t want to see him.’
Jane testified that her mom was ‘enamored by the idea’ that affluent people were taking an interest in her. This prompted an objection by the defense, claiming it was ‘hearsay’.
Judge Nathan allowed the jury to hear what Jane’s mother said, ‘not offered for the truth of the matter asserted, but for the impact on the witness’.
Comey: What did your mother say?
Jane: That I should be grateful for their attention.
Jane testified that she didn’t tell her siblings about the abuse because she was ashamed, thought it was her fault, and was in a household when you didn’t speak unless spoken to. She felt she ‘had a manic-depressed mother who didn’t know how to cope. I was afraid that I would be in trouble if I said something.’
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe asked her if she considered self-harm. Jane replies yes, that things seemed hopeless.
Jane later spoke to a school guidance counselor about her sadness, and she said her mother slapped her, and admonished her that she shouldn’t tell anyone about her feelings ‘My mother told me, ‘You don’t talk about what happens at home and embarrass us’.’
The long-term impacts of her experiences with Epstein and Maxwell made Jane unable to navigate a healthy relationship ‘with a broken compass’. ‘I didn’t know what real love was supposed to look like. It ruined my self-esteem , my self-worth’.
She testified to be a working actress working in LA. She broke contact with Jeffrey Epstein in 2002.
Jane: Epstein kept calling me and saying he wanted to see me, that I needed to be grateful to him, that my mother was living in one of his apartments.
AUSA Alison Moe: Later did you tell the man I’ll call Matt about Epstein?
Jane: Yes. Not in detail, but I did. By then, you saw Epstein on the TV all the time, because he had been arrested.
Moe: Did the FBI interview you in September 2019?
Jane: May 2019.
Moe: Did you sue Ghislaine Maxwell?
Jane: Yes. In 2020.
Moe: And the Epstein Victims’ Fund?
Jane: Yes. They awarded me $5 million. Of that, I got approximately $2.9 million.
Moe: Would the verdict in this case impact that?
Judge Nathan: This is not a legal opinion.
Moe: Why do you want to be anonymous?
Jane: Because I work in Hollywood and victim shaming is still the norm.
AUSA: No further questions.
Laura Menninger cross-examined Jane for the defense. In all fairness, the only avenue left to the defense is blaming the victims and discrediting them. They are juggling with the crazy strategy of sometimes acknowledging that Epstein may have been a monster, but NOT while he was with Maxwell, because then he was ‘a 21-century James Bond’, and a ‘patron to the arts’.
Laura Menninger: You waited 20 years to complain, correct?
Menninger: Two full decades before your first report to the police. By then Mr. Epstein was dead, correct?
Menninger: And you had two personal injury attorneys with you. Mr. Glaxman and Mr. Workman. And AUSA Moe.
Menninger: In the 20 years, you spoke to several people close to you. To the person we’re referring to as Matt. You told one of your older sisters, right?
Menninger: But you didn’t mention Ghislaine Maxwell, correct?
Jane: I don’t know.
Menninger: I’d like to show the witness another sealed document.
Jane: I recognize my mother’s signature and mine. But I don’t recognize the document.
Menninger: Do you recognize the document?
Jane: I do. It’s the application for Interlochen camp.
Menninger: And is your signature on the 2d page?
Menninger: Before you met Jeffrey Epstein, right? Did you apply for financial aid or a scholarship?
Jane: I guess not. I was a child.
On the second day of cross-examination of Jane, Maxwell’s defense attorney Laura Menninger continued questioning about Interlochen, the arts camp where she met Epstein and Maxwell.
Menninger tries to challenge her account of a difficult family life through records at Interlochen, like an application describing her ‘loving family.’
The defense attorney said that Jane has given different accounts of meeting Epstein and Maxwell, following the defense strategy to question each victim’s memories of decades-old events.
Menninger presented Jane with ‘notes’ (presumably FBI 302s). ‘You testified yesterday your first has sex with Epstein in his pool house in Florida. But you told the government it was in New York.’
Jane: Those are not my notes. I did not write that down and it was not recorded.
She said repeatedly that that information was inaccurate. ‘This is just someone jotting down notes’.
Menninger: You told them you only remembered one incident in New York when Ghislaine was present.
Jane: I don’t recall.
A long discussion ensues about some memories she would have mentioned about going to see The Lion King. Judge Nathan calls for a break, saying that Jane needed a drink of water. Prosecution and defense are at each other’s throats.
Menninger: Let’s go to your conversation in Feb 2020 about The Lion King.
Moe: No objection
Menninger: I know Ms. Moe would like to come and do this for me.
Moe: I object to that.
Menninger asks about her trip to the New Mexico Zorro Ranch. ‘You weren’t asked to have sex with any of Epstein’s friends, were you?’
Menninger: Did Epstein introduce you to people in the arts?
Jane: Not really.
Menninger: To the Dean of Interlochen at a cocktail party?
Jane: I don’t recall.
Menninger tries to read from a document, sparking an objection. The prosecution objects to Menninger ‘testifying.’
Menninger: You said you met Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, before the pool house incident [with Epstein].
Jane: I don’t recall.
Menninger: In 2019, before Epstein was arrested, you were contacted by the government, right?
Menninger: But you said you were not interested in getting involved.
Menninger: You’ve talked to your ex-boyfriend Matt, right?
Menninger: When you were 15, did you take a trip to Italy for a singing competition?
Jane: I may have. I don’t remember. I was 15.
Menninger posited that Jane did not recall whether Maxwell ever touched her. ‘That’s not true’, she replied. Asked whether she told the government Maxwell had never watched her perform oral sex on Epstein, Jane agreed.
She also confirmed having told the government that Maxwell never used sex toys or a vibrator on her.
Menninger: So you went to a specialized entertainment school, right? And since then you’ve played roles like a cancer patient?
Menninger: You can cry on command?
Jane : No, not always. That’s not really how it works.
Menninger: Your accusations in this case include that you were 14 went you were abused, right?
Menninger: But you first told the government you were 13, right?
Jane: I might have said 13 going on 14. It’s a small technicality.
The prosecution moved on to redirect.
AUSA Alison Moe: Did any of us prosecutors ever tell you what to say at this trial?
Moe asks Jane what they told her to say. She replied: “Just tell the truth.”
Moe: You were asked about notes of meetings with the Government. Did you speak about everything all at once?
Jane: No. It was too difficult, emotionally, on every level. Because I was standing in a room full of strangers and telling them the most shameful, deepest secrets that I’ve been carrying around with me my whole life.
Moe: Then there were fewer of us In the room. Do you know why?
Jane: To make me more comfortable.
Moe: Why did you speak to the tabloid reporter?
Jane: He basically blackmailed me. He said he would publish unredacted documents.
Judge Nathan: This is not for the truth of the matter asserted, but impact on the listener.
Moe: Did you make an agreement with the reporter?
Jane: Yes. I’d talk about meeting Jeffrey Epstein, the reporter would keep my name out of it. I was working on a TV show.
Moe: Do you know the difference between acting on television and testifying in court?
Jane: Yes. This is real. I am seeking closure. I have been running from this my entire life. I want to help in whatever way I can and maybe find some healing.
By the end, Jane was reportedly sobbing.
Moe: Do you have any financial interest in this trial?
The prosecutor then asked about the defense bringing up the 5 million dollars settlement she got from the Epstein victims fund, of which she received roughly $2.9 million.
Moe: In your own words, can you tell the jury what that money meant to you?
She cried, wiping her eyes with a tissue. ‘I wish I never received that money in the first place, because of what happened”.
This series of articles would not be possible without the live-tweeting efforts of Inner City Press and Adam Klasfeld.
Stay tuned for more updates.