Salem Radio Network News Saturday, January 22, 2022

U.S.

Maxwell sex-abuse trial resumes with Epstein pilot’s testimony

By Luc Cohen and Karen Freifeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Ghislaine Maxwell’s criminal sex-abuse trial entered its second day on Tuesday, with prosecutors resuming their questioning of a longtime pilot of the deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell is accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls to give Epstein erotic massages a prosecutor described in her opening statement on Monday as a “ruse” for sex abuse.

A lawyer for Maxwell has said that the British socialite was being scapegoated for crimes Epstein committed. Epstein died in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-abuse charges.

Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of sex trafficking and other crimes, including two perjury charges that will be tried at a later date. She faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

The pilot, Lawrence Visoski, testified on Monday that Maxwell often contacted him to schedule flights for Epstein.

Visoski described Maxwell as an office assistant of Epstein’s who frequently flew on his private planes but also said their relationship appeared to be “more personal than business.”

“We interacted quite often,” Visoski said, referring to Maxwell.

Maxwell’s defense team is expected to cross-examine Visoski after prosecutors finish their questioning.

Visoski’s testimony has provided jurors with a sense of the lifestyle Epstein and Maxwell lived between 1994 and 2004, the period in which prosecutors say Maxwell lured four underage girls for Epstein to abuse.

The pilot said he frequently shuttled Epstein and guests between Epstein’s properties in New York, Florida, New Mexico, Paris and private islands in the Caribbean.

In her opening statement on Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz said prosecutors would present flight logs that included the names of Maxwell and some of the alleged victims.

“The defendant and Epstein made young girls believe that their dreams could come true,” Pomerantz said. “They were exploiting kids. They were trafficking kids for sex.”

Maxwell’s defense attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, on Monday said there was nothing inherently wrong with having private jets.

Epstein’s private planes “were used as commuter jets. Guy friends; past, present, and future girlfriends; and an array of other very interesting people – academics, politicians, scientists,” Sternheim said. “There were families on the flights and children on the flights.”

(Reporting by Luc Cohen and Karen Freifeld in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Sandra Maler and Mark Porter)

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