An accuser of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein told a New York court on Wednesday that he took her to the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to meet Donald Trump when she was 14 years old.
Now in her 40s, the accuser also told the court she later entered a teenage beauty pageant associated with the former US president.
The allegation that Epstein introduced the woman, whose anonymity is kept under the pseudonym “Jane”, was made on the second day of testimony in the criminal trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s close confidante, who faces sex trafficking charges.
“Mr Epstein introduced you to Donald Trump, correct?” Maxwell’s attorney Laura Menninger asked during a round of quick-fire questions, to which the woman replied “Yes”. The woman did not accuse Trump of any wrongdoing.
A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.
On Tuesday Jane told jurors that Epstein and Maxwell had touted their connections to well-known figures, including Trump and former US president Bill Clinton, as they asserted control over her and groomed her for abuse.
She could not recall whether the Trump meeting occurred before or after she claimed Epstein sexually assaulted her for the first time at his pool house in Palm Beach that same year.
Epstein hanged himself in a prison cell in August 2019, a month after being arrested for allegedly trafficking dozens of young girls for sexual abuse.
Maxwell, who was arrested a year later, has denied charges that she helped Epstein recruit girls for abuse. Her lawyers have accused Jane and other victims of altering their testimony in order to secure big pay-offs from a victims’ fund.
Maxwell faces more than 70 years in prison if convicted on all counts. The charges against her include sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and charges related to facilitating the travel of minors for sexual acts.
Like several other leading politicians and business leaders, Trump socialised with Epstein and Maxwell in Palm Beach.
In 2019, when Trump was president, he distanced himself from Epstein, saying: “I had a falling out with him a long time ago, I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn’t a fan.”
Trump told New York Magazine in 2002: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
During Wednesday’s testimony, Jane also told jurors she had flown on Epstein’s private jet with Britain’s Prince Andrew, whose ties to the convicted sex offender forced him to step back from public duties. She did not accuse the Duke of York of any wrongdoing.
The revelations came during a long day on the witness stand for Jane, now an actress, as Menninger scrutinised testimony that included details of meetings including sex toys used during the alleged abuse.
Menninger repeatedly pointed to apparent inconsistencies between Jane’s claims in court on Wednesday and previous accounts she had provided to prosecutors and the FBI.
In one case, Menninger said Jane had told the US government in December 2019 that she had “no specific memory” of Maxwell’s presence during her first sexualised massage with Epstein. But on Wednesday Jane recounted in detail how Epstein led them to his bedroom and the two removed their clothes before abusing her.
“You have come up with that memory in the last two years?” Menninger demanded.
“I don’t believe I came up with a memory, no,” Jane responded.
Later in the day, the mood turned sombre as Jane told the prosecution why she had agreed to testify against Maxwell, insisting it would not benefit her financially.
“I’m here today to hopefully, finally, find some closure to this. This is something I’ve been running from my entire life,” she said.
Business News Governmental News Finance News
Need Your Help Today. Your $1 can change life.