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Live Updates: Witness Says Ghislaine Maxwell Recruited Her for Sexual Encounters With Epstein

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Credit…Stephanie Keith for The New York Times

A woman identified by the pseudonym “Kate” testified on Monday that Ghislaine Maxwell befriended her in London when she was 17 and recruited her to give Jeffrey Epstein massages, which led to years of sexual encounters with him.

The woman was the second of four accusers expected to appear as witnesses in Ms. Maxwell’s trial, now in its second week.

Kate told jurors that Ms. Maxwell played a direct role in arranging her encounters with Mr. Epstein, including by ushering her into massage rooms, coordinating her international travel and, in one case, giving her a “schoolgirl” outfit to wear as she served Mr. Epstein tea.

Kate testified that she met Ms. Maxwell in 1994 in Paris and found Ms. Maxwell to be “very sophisticated and very elegant.” She gave Ms. Maxwell her phone number, and when they were both back in London, Ms. Maxwell called and invited her to tea at her home.

“She seemed to be everything that I wanted to be,” Kate testified. At the time, Kate was caring for her ailing mother, and she was excited to have “a new friend” who in turn seemed excited to meet her.

Ms. Maxwell said she hoped to introduce Kate to her boyfriend, a “philanthropist” who liked to help young people, Kate told the jury.

Weeks later, Ms. Maxwell invited Kate to her home, where Mr. Epstein was sitting in the living room in sweatpants, Kate told the jury. She urged Kate to give Mr. Epstein’s foot “a little squeeze” to show him how strong she was, and Mr. Epstein said, “Oh, you can go ahead and do my shoulders.”

Soon after, Ms. Maxwell called Kate with an urgent request, Kate recalled: Mr. Epstein was there, and his masseuse had canceled — would she be able to fill in?

Kate went to Ms. Maxwell’s home, where Mr. Epstein was waiting in a dimly lit room. He initiated sexual contact with Kate and they engaged in a sex act during the massage, Kate testified.

Kate said she continued to see Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell several times a year. She stayed in touch with Ms. Maxwell on the phone, she said, and Ms. Maxwell often raised sexual topics, including how “demanding Jeffrey was.”

Once, Ms. Maxwell asked if she knew anyone who could come over to perform a sex act on Mr. Epstein, “because it was a lot for her to do,” Kate testified. Ghislaine also told her that Mr. Epstein liked “cute, young, pretty” girls like Kate, and that he “needed to have sex about three times a day.”

Kate told the jury she gave Mr. Epstein sexualized massages in London, Palm Beach and New York and on his island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, saying she traveled on commercial flights with tickets arranged for her by Ms. Maxwell. She said their contact ended when she was in her early 30s.

Once, when Kate was staying at Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach home, she found what she described as a “schoolgirl outfit” laid out on her guest room bed. When she asked Ms. Maxwell what it was for, Ms. Maxwell said, “I thought it would be fun for you to take Jeffrey his tea in this outfit.”

Kate put the outfit on, and Ms. Maxwell gave her a tray; she found Mr. Epstein by the pool. He initiated a sex act with her, she told the jury.

Prosecutor Lara Pomerantz asked Kate why she had put on the outfit.

“I didn’t know how to say no,” Kate said. “I had never been to Palm Beach or Florida before. I had no idea where the house was. And I wasn’t sure if I said no if I would have to leave, or what the consequence would be for not doing it.”

On cross-examination, a defense lawyer asked pointed questions suggesting that the witness had chosen to appear on behalf of the government to get help with a visa and that her history of alcohol and drug use had affected her memory.


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