Accuser testifies Jeffrey Epstein brought her to meet Donald Trump when she was 14; no wrongdoing alleged
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Accuser testifies Jeffrey Epstein brought her to meet Donald Trump when she was 14; no wrongdoing alleged

A woman who said she was sexually abused by Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein more than two decades ago testified in court Wednesday that she met Donald Trump when Epstein took her to Mar-a-Lago when she was 14 years old.

The woman, identified in court under the pseudonym “Jane,” also testified that she flew on Epstein’s private plane several times along with Prince Andrew, celebrity chef Adam Perry Lang and Epstein’s mother and brother.

She did not accuse the former president or any of the other plane passengers of wrongdoing. She also testified Epstein never asked her to recruit other girls or asked her to be involved in sex acts with anyone else. CNN has reached out to Trump for comment.

Her testimony came during Maxwell’s criminal trial on six federal charges, including sex trafficking of minors, in what prosecutors say was a scheme to lure and recruit underage girls for Epstein’s sexual purposes. The trial has already illuminated some of Epstein’s connections to high-profile figures like Trump, Bill Clinton, and Prince Andrew.

Maxwell, Epstein and Trump were part of similar social orbits, with both men maintaining residences in Palm Beach and in New York. And they were photographed together, sometimes with Trump’s then-girlfriend, Melania Knauss, several times throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

In 2002, Trump told New York Magazine, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” adding that Epstein had a reputation for young women.

Last year, Trump was asked about the charges against Maxwell and said he wishes her “well.” Trump has told reporters in recent years that he banned Epstein from his Mar-a-Lago estate, but has never explained why their friendship ended.

Epstein, who had pleaded guilty in 2008 to state prostitution charges, was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019. He was found dead in his prison cell a month afterward in what the medical examiner ruled a suicide. Maxwell, the British socialite and Epstein’s close confidante, was arrested a year later and has pleaded not guilty.

In opening statements Monday, 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.

Epstein’s private pilot was the prosecution’s first witness in the trial and testified that Maxwell was Epstein’s “go-to person” for non-business related issues. The pilot, Larry Visoski, name-dropped a series of powerful men who flew aboard the plane. Visoski also testified he never saw any sexual activity on board.

Defense challenges Jane on inconsistencies

Jane, the prosecution’s second witness, began her testimony Tuesday and said she first met Maxwell and Epstein in 1994 when she was 14. They spent time with her, asked about her family and interests and took her to do fun things, and for a time Maxwell felt like an older sister, she testified.

Then the abuse began, she said. She described incidents of sexual abuse with Epstein that Maxwell would at times join in on, both in Palm Beach, Florida, and Manhattan when she was 14, 15 and 16 years old. She testified that Epstein would masturbate on her and molest her, and Maxwell would sometimes be involved, touching her and Epstein. At least once, Maxwell “instructed” her how Epstein liked to be massaged while the three were in Epstein’s “massage room,” she testified.

In cross-examination on Wednesday, Jane named several women she recalled being involved in the group sexualized massages she categorized as “orgies.” She said she could likely recognize them if shown photos, but acknowledged that no law enforcement ever reviewed any photos with her to identify.

Defense attorney Laura Menninger spent significant time combing through previous statements Jane made in law enforcement interviews since 2019 showing potential inconsistencies with her testimony in court.

Menninger asked her a series of questions about statements in which Jane told law enforcement agents that she wasn’t sure if Maxwell ever touched her and she didn’t remember Maxwell ever being present for any sexual activity between her and Epstein. Jane repeatedly said she didn’t recall if she’d said that to investigators.

At other times Jane said while reviewing the law enforcement notes from those interviews on the witness stand that the notes were inaccurate, at times inconsistent with her timeline and not an accurate transcript of her statements which were not recorded.

The woman said she hired a lawyer around 2007 to help stop false press reports about her and Epstein and deal with people “harassing” her about her connection to Epstein. She acknowledged speaking to Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s attorney Brad Edwards, a plaintiff attorney for several Epstein accusers, when he contacted her, but also said she didn’t want anything to do with the prosecution of Epstein then and did not share her allegations with law enforcement at that time.

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