In Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, jurors heard about a possible motive for her to help Jeffrey Epstein recruit young girls for sexual abuse: money.
After the death of her financially challenged father, Robert Maxwell in 1991, Maxwell “downsized” to a Manhattan studio apartment, according to David Rodgers, a former pilot for Epstein. She was living in her own five-story Upper East Side townhouse of “maybe 7,000 square feet” in less than a decade.
Rodgers’ testimony came after that of “Kate,” the second of three victims who claim Maxwell lured them to have sex with Epstein. According to Kate, Maxwell claimed that “she owned her house in New York City, and that Jeffrey had got it for her”. Between 1999 and 2007, Epstein transferred $30.7 million to Maxwell, according to a JPMorgan Chase banker.
After Maxwell’s lawyers objected to Rodgers’ testimony on her real estate activities, prosecutor Maurene Comey said that “it goes to motive.” The judge allowed the pilot to continue, claiming that Maxwell’s decision to downsize was driven by her father’s death.
Maxwell has pled not guilty to sex-trafficking charges, claiming that she’s being scapegoated for the actions of Epstein, her former partner and boss, who committed suicide in 2019 while awaiting his own trial.
Money has also been mentioned by the defense as a reason for Maxwell’s accusers. Her lawyers have aggressively cross-examined them, implying that they are testifying for the government in order to increase the millions of dollars they have received from an Epstein victims’ fund. The accusers have all denied that their testimony was influenced by money.
He recognized Maxwell in the courtroom, saying that he was 29, “very energetic,” and had a “great personality” when they first met.
She lived near Columbus Circle at first, but following the death of Robert Maxwell, she relocated to a studio, according to Rodgers. However, she soon moved to a larger Upper East Side apartment, and then, in the late 1990s or early 2000s, to the townhouse.
Maxwell’s father, who was once one of the world’s wealthiest men, died in 1991 as his media empire, which included the New York Daily News, crumbled and he began to default on large obligations. Hundreds of millions of pounds were discovered to have been diverted from his firms’ pension funds after his death, forcing Maxwell’s older brother to declare the greatest personal bankruptcy in British history.
It’s been unclear for a long time if she received any significant inheritance, despite the fact that she claimed to have $20 million in assets at the time of her arrest in 2020.
In 2016, Maxwell sold a $15 million Manhattan townhouse. She still has a home in London and paid $1 million in cash for a country estate in New Hampshire where she hid from investigators for a year following Epstein’s arrest.
After the prosecution’s opening statements on Nov. 29, another Epstein pilot, Lawrence Visoski, was the first witness called by the prosecution. He highlighted Epstein’s jet-setting lifestyle, which included flying between his five properties, which included a Manhattan townhouse, a Palm Beach estate, and a private Caribbean island, with celebrities and politicians occasionally accompanying him. By the 2000s, Visoski recalled, Maxwell and Epstein’s romantic relationship seemed to have cooled.
Rodgers echoed that statement, tracing the couple’s relationship from 1991 to 2004. “Early on, they were romantically involved and, somewhere in between that time period, they weren’t romantically involved,” he said.
Nonetheless, Maxwell remained a significant player in Epstein’s world, according to Rodgers.
Rodgers also provided more information about flights on which underage girls may have been present. Citing his own record, Rodgers claimed Maxwell and Epstein traveled with “Jane,” who testified last week that Epstein began abusing her at the age of 14, and Virginia Giuffre, who has publicly accused Maxwell and Epstein of abusing her as a minor but is not appearing at the trial. The flights were to Epstein’s five properties as well as Canada, Morocco, and Spain, among other places.
The flight data supports one of Maxwell’s charges: that she helped in the transportation of minor girls across state lines for sexual conduct.
Rodgers, like Visoski, claimed he had no idea any of his unaccompanied female passengers were minors. He stated that he believed Jane and Giuffre were both at least 18 years old.