She described Maxwell, 59, as central to Epstein’s sex abuse plan, which prosecutors say lasted more than a decade.
“She was involved from the start. The defendant and Epstein lured their victims with a promise of a bright future, only to sexually exploit them,” Pomerantz said.
Maxwell “was involved in every detail of Epstein’s life,” the prosecutor said. “The defendant was the lady of the house.”
Even after Maxwell and Epstein stopped being romantically involved, “the couple remained best friends,” Pomerantz said.
She said Maxwell “helped normalize abusive sexual behavior” by making teens feel safe and by taking them on shopping trips and asking them about their lives, their schools, and their families.
The prosecutor spoke from a closed transparent plastic box that allowed her to take the mask off as Maxwell in a cream-colored sweater and black pants sometimes wrote and sent notes to his lawyers.
When she finished, attorney Bobbi Sternheim said her client was a “scapegoat for a man who behaved badly.” Maxwell, she said, was blamed for a man’s bad behavior, just as so many women have done before, all the way back to Adam and Eve.
“She’s not Jeffrey Epstein. She’s not like Jeffrey Epstein” or any of the powerful men, moguls and media giants who abuse women, “Sternheim said.
“He’s the legendary elephant in space. He’s not visible, but he occupies this entire courtroom and floats over courtrooms where other members of the public are watching,” she said.
Sternheim said the four women who would testify that Maxwell recruited them to be sexually abused suffered from quarter-century-old memories and the influence of lawyers who guided them to get money from a fund set up by Epstein’s property after his suicide in August 2019 in a federal jail in Manhattan while awaiting a sex trafficking lawsuit.
The lawyer said that “the accusers have shaken the money tree and millions of dollars have fallen their way.”
The openings came in the afternoon after hours in the morning had been lost due to questions about whether two potential jurors could work in the six weeks the trial is expected to last.
During the morning, Maxwell often looked at his sister, who was sitting in the front row of a spectator ward, shrunk in space by coronavirus restrictions.
A potential jury member was fired after admitting he had had to listen to someone he knew who was “passionate” about the case. The hiring of another jury was in jeopardy until the judge contacted the employer to expedite the approval process for the jury’s service.
Maxwell – who was once in love with the financier – is accused of acting as Epstein’s main enabler, recruit and care for young girls whom he may abuse. The charges against her stem from the allegations of four women who say she and Epstein made them victims as teenagers from 1994 to 2004.
Pomerantz said the abuse took place in Epstein’s home, including his property in Palm Beach, Florida; his upscale Manhattan townhouse; a ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico; a Paris apartment; and a luxury property in the Virgin Islands.
The government’s first witness was Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr., who worked for Epstein from the 1990s as a pilot on the private jets that transported Epstein, Maxwell and others between his various homes.
A prosecutor Visoski begins by describing the decor of the New York home he regularly visited to pick up luggage and perform other chores. He was to return to the booth on Tuesday.
Authorities charged Maxwell in July 2020 and arrested her after tracing her to a $ 1 million property in New Hampshire where she had been held during the coronavirus pandemic.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty and vehemently denies any wrongdoing. She has been incarcerated in Brooklyn since her arrest and calls the allegations against her “absolute nonsense.” Maxwell’s lawyers and the family says she was Epstein’s farmer, now paying “a blood price” to satisfy the public’s desire to see someone held accountable for their crimes.
The wealthy Oxford-educated Maxwell is the daughter of British newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 after falling off his yacht – named Lady Ghislaine – near the Canary Islands. Robert Maxwell, whose holdings at the time included the New York Daily News, faced accusations that he had illegally looted his companies’ pension funds.
Ghislaine Maxwell has US, British and French citizenship and was repeatedly denied bail prior to the trial.