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Ghislaine Maxwell Trial: Accuser Disputes FBI Account of Alleged Abuse

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The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell continued on Wednesday in federal court in downtown Manhattan, where the British socialite is facing sex-trafficking charges for allegedly assisting her late associate, Jeffrey Epstein, in abusing underage girls. In todayxe2x80x99s testimony, the defense cross-examined the governmentxe2x80x99s first alleged-victim witness, who, to protect her privacy, is known simply as xe2x80x9cJane.xe2x80x9d (Her testimony began yesterday.) Citing notes from Janexe2x80x99s previous unrecorded interviews with the government, Maxwellxe2x80x99s attorney Laura Menninger pointed out apparent inconsistencies and implied Jane had changed her story over time. Jane largely refused to engage, repeating xe2x80x9cI donxe2x80x99t recallxe2x80x9d and suggesting multiple times that the FBIxe2x80x99s notes from her interview could have been wrong.xc2xa0

The defense questioned inconsistent statements on whether Epstein had approached her alone at Interlochen Performing Arts Camp when she was 14 or if a woman xe2x80x94 Maxwell xe2x80x94 had been with him. In 2019, the attorney pointed out, Jane told the government that Maxwell had walked by with her dog. On Tuesday, Jane testified that Maxwell and Epstein had approached her together. xe2x80x9cThe FBI got it wrong again?xe2x80x9d Menninger said. xe2x80x9cMaybe they typed it up wrong,xe2x80x9d Jane said.

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During yesterdayxe2x80x99s direct examination from the prosecution, Jane said shexe2x80x99d first seen Maxwell naked was on an occasion when Epstein and Maxwell had led her upstairs and began fondling each other and giggling, then told Jane to take her clothes off before Epstein began masturbating. On Wednesday, defense pointed to notes from a 2019 interview where Jane had reportedly said she did not have a specific memory of the first time she saw Maxwell nude. Asked if she remembered saying this in an interview with the government, Jane said, xe2x80x9cI donxe2x80x99t recall.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0xc2xa0

Defense brought up more instances where they claimed Jane had changed her story, trying to impeach her credibility as a witness. One was regarding the timing of when the alleged abuse started; whether shexe2x80x99d told the government that she wasnxe2x80x99t sure if Maxwell had touched her; whether shexe2x80x99d told the government she was unsure if Maxwell had ever seen her performing oral sex on Epstein; and whether shexe2x80x99d told the government her first trip to New York with Epstein had been free from abuse. In each instance, she answered xe2x80x9cI donxe2x80x99t knowxe2x80x9d or xe2x80x9cI donxe2x80x99t recall.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0

In excruciating back-and-forths, Jane would say she didnxe2x80x99t remember saying something, at which point Menninger would ask her to consult documentation of her conversations with the government. xe2x80x9cWith all due respect,xe2x80x9d Jane said during questioning about the timing of a trip to New York to see The Lion King on Broadway in the late 1990s. xe2x80x9cI didnxe2x80x99t write this and Ixe2x80x99ve never seen this document before.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0

At one point, Jane seemed to point to the vagaries of remembering traumatic events over time. Menninger pointed to a 2019 interview where shexe2x80x99d supposedly said she was not sure if Maxwell had ever called her house in Florida to arrange meetings with Epstein. This was in contrast to what shexe2x80x99d said on Tuesday xe2x80x94 that Maxwell or an assistant had called her house to arrange her visits. xe2x80x9cMemory is not linear,xe2x80x9d she said.

During the course of the cross-examination, Jane confirmed she had flown on Epsteinxe2x80x99s plane with Prince Andrew and celebrity chef Adam Perry Lang, and that Epstein had brought her to Mar-a-Lago, where he introduced her to Donald Trump, whom she did not accuse of any wrongdoing. She was 14 years old at the time.xc2xa0

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The defense homed in on Janexe2x80x99s acting career and a prior appearance on a reality TV show. Menninger asked if she could cry on command. xe2x80x9cThatxe2x80x99s not really how it works,xe2x80x9d Jane said. She said reality TV doesnxe2x80x99t represent reality and when the prosecution asked she said she understood the difference between acting on tv and testifying in court. xe2x80x9cActing on television is not real, and testifying in court is real xe2x80x94 is the truth,xe2x80x9d she said during redirect examination from prosecution.

On Tuesday afternoon, a former boyfriend of Janexe2x80x99s corroborated portions of Janexe2x80x99s testimony. The witness, whom the court is calling xe2x80x9cMatt,xe2x80x9d said he dated Jane between 2006 and 2014, that he remains friends with her, and that they work on the same soap opera. He said Jane told him about her familyxe2x80x98s money struggles, and said she had had a xe2x80x9crough, brutalxe2x80x9d relationship with her mother. He also said that she had told him about Epstein helping her family pay bills and that she had had to do things she didnxe2x80x99t want to do to get the money. When he had pressed for details, he told the jury shexe2x80x99d said, xe2x80x9cMatt, the money wasnxe2x80x99t fucking free.xe2x80x9d

A longtime vice president of finance at Interlochen also testified, sharing documentation of a lodge on the arts center property that Epstein had donated money to fund, as well as correspondence with Maxwell expressing gratitude for the donation and discussing plans for a future visit by Epstein to the campus.

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