She described Maxwell, 59, as a central part of Epstein’s sexual abuse program, which prosecutors say has spanned more than a decade.
“She was in the game from the start. The accused and Epstein lured their victims with the promise of a bright future, only to sexually exploit them, ”Pomerantz said.
Maxwell “has been involved in every detail of Epstein’s life,” the prosecutor said. “The accused was the hostess.
Even after Maxwell and Epstein stopped being in love, the couple “remained best of friends,” Pomerantz said.
She said Maxwell “has helped normalize sexually abusive behavior” by making teens feel safe and taking them shopping and asking them about their lives, schools and families.
The prosecutor spoke from a closed plastic transparent box that allowed him to remove his mask as Maxwell, in a cream-colored sweater and black pants, occasionally wrote and forwarded notes to his lawyers.
When she finished, lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said her client was “the scapegoat for a man who behaved badly”. Maxwell, she said, was blamed for a man’s bad behavior as so many women have done before, since Adam and Eve.
“She’s not Jeffrey Epstein. She’s not like Jeffrey Epstein “or one of the powerful men and media moguls and giants who abuse women,” Sternheim said.
“It’s the proverbial elephant in the room. It is not visible, but it consumes this entire courtroom and overflows the courtrooms that other members of the public are watching, ”she said.
Sternheim said the four women who allegedly testified that Maxwell recruited them to be sexually assaulted suffered from quarter-century-old memories and the influence of lawyers who guided them to get money from a fund created by Epstein’s estate after his suicide in August 2019 at a Manhattan federal prison while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.
The lawyer said that “the accusers rocked the money tree and millions of dollars fell in their way.”
The openings took place in the afternoon, after morning hours were wasted on whether two would-be jurors could work during the expected six weeks of the trial.
During the morning, Maxwell frequently watched his sister, who was seated in the front row of a section of spectators reduced in space by the coronavirus restrictions.
A potential juror was fired after admitting he must have listened to someone he knew who was “passionate” about the case. Another juror’s job was in jeopardy until the judge contacted the employer to expedite the jury service approval process.
Maxwell – who once dated the financier – is accused of acting as Epstein’s main facilitator, recruiting and grooming young girls to abuse him. The charges against her stem from allegations by four women who say that she and Epstein victimized them as teenagers from 1994 to 2004.
Pomerantz said the abuse took place at Epstein’s home, including his Palm Beach, Florida property; his posh Manhattan townhouse; a ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico; a Parisian apartment; and a luxury estate in the Virgin Islands.
The first government witness was Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr., who worked for Epstein from the 1990s as a pilot on the private jets that commuted between Epstein, Maxwell and others between his various homes.
A Visoski attorney begins by describing the layout of the New York residence that he visits regularly to collect his luggage and do other household chores. He was due to return to the bar on Tuesday.
Authorities charged Maxwell in July 2020, arresting her after following her to a million-dollar New Hampshire estate where she had been locked up during the coronavirus pandemic.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty and vehemently denies any wrongdoing. She has been jailed in Brooklyn since her arrest, calling the complaints against her “absolute garbage.” Maxwell’s lawyers and family claim she was Epstein’s pawn, now paying “a blood price” to satisfy the public’s desire to see someone held accountable for his crimes.
Wealthy Oxford-educated Maxwell is the daughter of British press magnate Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 after falling from his yacht – named Lady Ghislaine – near the Canary Islands. Robert Maxwell, whose holdings at the time included the New York Daily News, was facing allegations he had illegally looted his companies’ pension funds.
Ghislaine Maxwell holds American, British and French nationalities and has been repeatedly denied bail ahead of her trial.