A woman who has accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse testified Monday that Ghislaine Maxwell set up their meetings and spoke often about sexual topics – including Epstein’s carnal needs.
“She said that he needed to have sex about three times a day,” the woman told the court.
The woman, testifying under the pseudonym “Kate,” took the stand Monday morning to start the second week of Maxwell’s federal trial on charges including sex trafficking of minors. Kate is not considered a minor victim in the charges because she was over the age of consent at the time of the alleged abuse, but jurors were still allowed to consider her testimony, Judge Alison Nathan ruled.
Kate testified she first met Maxwell when she was 17 through her older boyfriend while on a trip to Paris. Maxwell invited her for tea at her London townhome a few weeks later and told Kate about her “philanthropist” boyfriend Epstein, who Maxwell thought would help Kate with her aspiring music career.
“I understood that her job was to take care of Jeffrey’s needs,” Kate said.
“I left there feeling exhilarated,” she said. “Like somebody wanted me.”
Weeks later, Maxwell invited Kate to the townhome again to meet Epstein, pushing her to accept the invitation with a sense of “urgency,” she recalled.
There, Maxwell told her to give Epstein’s foot a little “squeeze” to show him how strong she was despite her small frame, Kate testified. Epstein approved of the foot massage and also had her massage his shoulders.
A couple of weeks later, Maxwell called Kate to ask whether she would do her “a favor” and come give Epstein a massage with her “strong hands,” despite having no massage therapy experience. Maxwell led Kate upstairs in her townhome to a bedroom where Epstein stood in a robe, gave Kate massage oil, and closed the door behind her.
Kate testified Epstein disrobed and initiated a sex act with her. Shortly after this incident, Maxwell called her back to the house and told her it’s hard to keep up with his needs, Kate testified. “She said, ‘I’m so glad you’re here. You did such a good job last time (that) he wanted you to come back,’” Kate said.
This time Epstein was standing fully naked when Maxwell brought her to the same room and closed the door behind her. “Have a good time,” she recalled Maxwell saying as she left the room. Maxwell also asked her whether she’d “had fun” after both sexualized massage encounters, Kate said.
Maxwell’s trial, which began last week, has alternated between harrowing testimony from minor victims and illuminating testimony about some of Epstein’s connections to high-profile figures such as Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew. None are alleged to have committed wrongdoing in relation to the ongoing trial.
Indeed, Kate testified Monday that Maxwell would talk about her friends Prince Andrew and Trump around her.
Epstein, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to state prostitution charges, was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019 but died by suicide in prison a month later. Maxwell, Epstein’s confidante, was arrested a year afterward and has pleaded not guilty.
In opening statements of her trial, prosecutors said Maxwell and Epstein created a “pyramid scheme of abuse” to lure underage girls into sexual relationships with Epstein. Her defense, meanwhile, said she was a “scapegoat” for Epstein’s actions and attacked the memories and motivations of the women who say they were sexually abused.
Witness recalls photos of nude young girls in Epstein’s home
In her testimony, Kate testified she traveled at Epstein’s expense several times to New York; Palm Beach, Florida; and Little St. James in the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein had property. Maxwell would inform her of the travel arrangements, she said.
During a visit to the Palm Beach residence when she was about 18, she said, a “school girl” outfit – a pleated skirt, white panties, white socks and a shirt – was left on her bed. When she asked Maxwell what it was for, she recalled, Maxwell said, “I thought it would be fun for you to take Jeffrey his tea in this outfit.”
“I didn’t know how to say no,” she said. She thought she might be forced to leave if she said no, Kate testified.
She carried a tray while wearing the outfit to Epstein, who she recalled was working out with a trainer in the gym near the pool. Epstein initiated and engaged in a sex act with her there when the trainer left, she said.
Kate also recalled photos of nude young girls scattered throughout the Palm Beach home in almost every room. “I remember that they were shocking,” she recalled.
She testified that Maxwell invited her to Epstein’s private island to give him massages.
Maxwell spoke of sexual topics often with Kate, asking her whether she knew any other girls who could give Epstein oral sex.
“You know what he likes – cute, young, (and) pretty like you,” Maxwell told her, according to her testimony.
She never recruited other females of any age for Epstein despite the request, she testified. She did recall seeing a thin blonde girl who she thought was around her age, 17, on one of those occasions.
On redirect, she testified Maxwell was next to her the first time she saw Epstein naked.
“I remember it so clearly because I was terrified and frozen,” Kate testified. “Those events come back to me all the time. I have nightmares about them.”
Kate received $3.25 million from Epstein victim fund
In cross-examination, defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim worked to undermine her testimony by highlighting her ongoing contact with Epstein and questioning her motives.
Kate said she kept in contact with Epstein until around 2012. She was about 24 when she last traveled with Maxwell and Epstein, but she continued contact with Epstein through her early 30s, she testified.
She emailed with Epstein while he was in prison in 2008 about sending him photos of herself. She said she never sent him photos but did sign an email, “Best love always, ‘Kate.’” She also testified that she reached out to Epstein to stay with him at his Manhattan home in 2011, but he was in Paris at the time.
She described staying in contact with him as a mix of denial and fear.
“I did not want to admit what had happened to me and I felt that by ceasing communication I would have to acknowledge the events that had taken place and I would have to say something,” she said. “I was also fearful of disengaging because I had witnessed how connected they both were and I was fearful.”
Sternheim also attempted to discredit the witness by pointing out media interviews in which she spoke about her big ambitions, asking about her previous failed relationships and about her history with substance abuse.
Kate acknowledged in court she had a problem with cocaine, alcohol and sleeping pills in her late teens and early 20s. She testified the abuse has not affected her memory and that she was required not to take drugs or be drunk around Maxwell and Epstein.
Kate has been cooperating with law enforcement since they first contacted her in 2019, she said. She said she’s testifying under pseudonym despite making public appearances in the media previously because she has a child she doesn’t want to subject to the attention around the case.
“I have a huge amount of humiliation and shame around the events that took place,” she said.
She said she received a $3.25 million settlement with the Epstein Victim Compensation Program. The money, she said, validated her experiences with Epstein.
“What the money meant to me was recognition of my pain. What it meant to me was that my truth was important,” she said.
Kate acknowledged that she inquired with the prosecution about a special visa for victims who cooperate with law enforcement but said she was not motivated financially or otherwise to testify in this case.
“This is the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do and I’m here because I don’t think there’s anything more important, especially now that I’m a parent, than demonstrating to her that I can stand up for (myself) and demonstrating that the truth is important,” she said.