Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, points to a picture of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein
New York (AFP) - Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime pilot testified Tuesday at the sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell that he recalled flying Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump on the late financier’s private planes.
Lawrence Visoski, who worked for Epstein for nearly 30 years, said he was told when VIPs would be aboard because “you’d want to make sure the plane looked nice.”
Besides Clinton, Prince Andrew and Trump, Visoski said he also recalled flying the actor Kevin Spacey.
Maxwell, the 59-year-old daughter of the late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell, is accused of procuring underage girls who were sexually exploited by Epstein.
Epstein committed suicide in a New York prison in August 2019 while awaiting trial.
A protestor outside the court where Ghislaine Maxwell is standing trial on sex trafficking charges
The British jet-set socialite and heiress has pleaded not guilty to six counts of enticing and transporting minors for sex that could send her to prison for up to 80 years.
Epstein’s VIP passengers, including on flights to his luxury properties around the world, had been previously reported, but Visoski gave further details as the government’s first witness at the trial.
He said that he never saw any sexual activity on the planes, but that the cockpit door was always closed in flight.
“I certainly did not,” he said when asked if he witnessed sexual activity with minors.
- ‘Mature woman’ -
A combination of pictures shows Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein
Visoski, who worked as a pilot for Epstein from 1991 to 2019, was also asked about a key witness who is being identified only as “Jane” and is testifying against Maxwell.
Jurors were shown Jane’s birth certificate but it was not made public. Prosecutors said she was underage during her contact with Epstein.
Visoski said he would sometimes see passengers boarding but he did not recall ever seeing anyone who looked younger than 18 to 20 years old with the exception of girls traveling with their families.
He said he recalled Jane as a “mature woman, with piercing powder blue eyes.”
The pilot said he considered Maxwell as Epstein’s “number two” and she would often call to schedule his flights. The line of questioning was in the context of her role in organizing Epstein’s life.
Prosecutors said Monday at the opening day of Maxwell’s trial that she had provided underage girls to Epstein “to be sexually abused.”
Four women who allegedly suffered at the hands of the duo are key witnesses in the trial, which is taking place under intense media attention.
Prosecutors say Maxwell facilitated and took part in the abuse of the four unidentified women, befriending them with shopping and movie theater trips before coaxing them to engage in sex acts with Epstein, later giving them money.
Maxwell appeared in court on Tuesday masked and wearing similar beige sweater and black slacks that she wore the previous day.
Her defense attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, said Monday that her client was a “target” being blamed for the late Epstein’s crimes.
Epstein was a multi-million-dollar money manager who befriended countless celebrities and was accused of providing them with women, including minors.
No one has been charged in the case with the exception of Maxwell.
Her trial is expected to stretch over six weeks.