by Paul Serran
This is an ongoing series. To read the previous articles, click on the links below.
Victim Jane’s testimony opened the door for the inclusion of the testimony of her ex-boyfriend and also present work colleague. As the defense alleged that Jane changed her story because of the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund, the ex-boyfriend was called to testify that she told him the same story years before the Compensation Fund was created.
He was presented anonymously – naming him would effectively disclose her name – and is being called ‘Matt’.
It bears remembering that Jane had already testified that, when they were together, she confided in Matt that she had been abused by Epstein and Maxwell. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe started the questioning for the prosecution.
AUSA Alison Moe: How do you know Jane?
Matt: She’s my ex-girlfriend, we were together from 2006 to 2014.
Moe: Did you live together?
Matt: Yes. From 2007 to 2014.
Matt explained that they are still friends, and work on the same TV show. He testified to the jury that he’s been working as an actor for the past 15 years.
Moe: What did Jane tell you about her home life?
Defense lawyer: Objection. It’s hearsay.
Judge Nathan: Ms. Moe, I’ll ask you to narrow the question.
Moe: Did Jane speak about her family finances when she grew up?
Matt: Yes. That when her father got sick, they went broke. The mother was working a small job. They slept in the same bed.
Matt recounted how Jane told him she had a godfather, who helped pay her family’s bills and was ‘looking out for her family.’
Matt: Later, she told me it was Jeffrey Epstein. I said, ‘He helped pay your bills?’ She said ‘Yes’.
Moe: When did she tell you she met Epstein?
Maxwell’s Defense lawyer: Objection.
Judge Nathan: Ask more specific questions.
Moe: Did Jane tell you what happened between her and Jeffrey Epstein?
Matt: Not specifically.
Moe: Did she say why he gave her money?
Matt: She said, ‘It was not fucking free’. She never went into detail. She just said that it wasn’t pretty.
Moe: Did she ever use the word ‘massage’?
Nathan: Overruled. I’ll allow it.
Moe: Did Jane tell you about a woman, in the house, who was involved?
Moe: Did she tell you that the woman in the house made her feel comfortable?
Moe: Did she give the woman’s name?
Moe: What was her demeanor like when Jane told you about Jeffrey Epstein?
Moe: How did you learn Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested?
Matt: On the news. I asked Jane, ‘Is that the woman you told me about?’ And she said ‘Yes’.
Moe: No further questions.
[As a personal note, I think that the fact that Jane didn’t mention too many details to Matt, or even mention Maxwell’s name, adds credibility to the testimony. Given the relationship context, too perfect a tale coming from him would feel rigged.]
Rather surprisingly, Maxwell’s lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, declined to cross examine Matt. Either it is because they feel his testimony isn’t strong or else they don’t feel confident they could pierce it, I’m not sure. Maybe they are saving it for their round of witnesses.
Next witness to be called to a very brief, clerical testimony, was Daniel Vesselsen, Vice President of Finance of Interlochen Art Academy. He explains that Interlochen, Michigan is near Traverse City.
AUSA: How do you keep fundraising records?
Vesselsen: Sales Force.
A letter was introduced, sent to Epstein about the scholarship lodge, how much he’d donate. A photo of the lodge is also entered into evidence.
AUSA: What’s this?
Vesselsen: The lodge formerly known as the Jeffrey Epstein Scholarship Lodge.
Cross examination by Maxwell’s lawyer: You don’t have records for the individual and the individual’s siblings, correct?
Maxwell’s lawyer: Mr. Epstein certainly was a major donor, correct?
The following witness to be called was Paul Kane, of NYC’s Professional Children’s School.
The prosecutor shows him Government Exhibit 721. ‘Do you recognize it?’
Kane: An enrollment application for a student.
AUSA: Don’t say the name. Is it an accurate copy?
Maxwell’s lawyer: Objection – hearsay!
AUSA: It’s a business record.
Judge Nathan: Overruled.
Some form of Voir dire took place, with prosecutors and defense asking questions alternatively.
Maxwell’s lawyer: Can I question the witness?
Judge Nathan: Go ahead.
Maxwell’s lawyer: The Professional Children’s School doesn’t verify the accuracy of the info on the form, does it?
Kane: I think they do.
Maxwell’s lawyer. All of it?
Kane: That, I don’t know.
AUSA: Your Honor, may I?
Judge Nathan: You may.
AUSA: What happens to information coming in?
Kane: We contact the family by phone, then invite them to tour the school and have a conversation.
AUSA: Does the School rely on the form?
After sidebar/Voir dire, document was included.
AUSA: What grade was the person applying for?
Kane: 12th. Due to ‘move to New York.’
USA: Who’s listed as person of financial responsibility?
Jane: Mr. Jeffrey Epstein.
AUSA: Thanks. No further questions.
Cross-examination then took place.
Maxwell’s lawyer: You have no idea if Mr. Epstein actually paid.
Kane: I do not.
Maxwell’s lawyer: And for the mother, does it say unemployed [on the form]?
Kane: It says self-employed, as an interior decorator.
Maxwell’s lawyer: And who is the listed agent?
Judge Nathan: Just make the jurors look at it.
Maxwell’s lawyer: Look the name in the corner. And the name of the prior principal. You don’t have to say them for the record. No further questions.
Following that, the prosecution called Dr. Lisa Rocchio, who stated that she has a Masters and PhD from the University of Rhode Island.
AUSA: Did you interview anyone in this case?
AUSA: Does your pay [as an expert] depend on outcome of the trial?
AUSA: What is grooming?
Rocchio: Strategies to get children into sex.
Dr. Rocchio said that she had seen grooming in the Boy Scouts, introduced during a special camping trip. Or the giving of jewelry, anything to make the child feel that they are appreciated.
AUSA: How common is it for a child to be repeatedly abused by the same perp?
Rocchio: Very common. It’s by people who are close to the child.
AUSA: What is a ‘grooming environment’?
Rocchio: It’s when perp develops trust with people around the child, for example with the parents.
AUSA: Are victims of child sexual abuse likely to report it to the police?
Dr. Rocchio detailed the five steps in the sexual grooming of children.
- Selection and identification of victims.
- Obtaining access to victims.
- Lies, deception and manipulation.
- Desensitization to sexual content
- Maintaining control
AUSA: What is the long term impact?
Rocchio: They are at higher risk for adverse outcomes.
AUSA: Nothing further.
Cross-examination by the defense was (again) brief.
Maxwell’s lawyer: Doctor Rocchio, you have a $45,000 contract for this, correct?
Maxwell’s lawyer: If one had a brain injury, it might be hard to remember, right?
Judge Nathan: Sustained.
Maxwell’s lawyer: Alcohol would harm recall too. yes?
Judge Nathan: Sustained.
Maxwell’s lawyer: Are you familiar with confabulation?
Maxwell’s lawyer: It’s filling in the gaps.
Maxwell’s lawyer: My grandfather liked to take me to the Bronx Zoo. Was that grooming?
This series of articles would not have been possible without the outstanding live-tweeting work by Inner City Press and Adam Klasfeld.
Stay tuned for new updates.