The decade's most triggering comedy
NEW YORK – Another accuser of Ghislaine Maxwell broke down on the stand during an emotional roller coaster of a day 7 in her trial in lower Manhattan on Tuesday. The woman facing Maxwell from the witness box used only her first name, Carolyn, and wove a dark and disturbing tale of sexual abuse.
Carolyn, in her 30s and wearing a pink and black striped white sweater, was visibly uncomfortable from the moment she walked in the courtroom. With a quiet and shy tone, she told the jury that she had first met Epstein when she was a 14-year-old from a poor and broken family in West Palm Beach.
She said that a friend, Virginia Roberts, who was 18 at the time, invited her to come to Epstein’s estate to get some quick cash. Though not entirely sure what she would be doing there, Carolyn testified that “I went to Mr. Epstein’s house and made money that way.”
She quickly made clear exactly what she claims she was paid for. She said the first time Roberts brought her to the house they both went upstairs to the massage room. There she said, “Virginia had taken off her clothes and asked if I was comfortable doing that? I said I wanted to keep on my bra and underwear.”
Carolyn testified that the two girls massaged Epstein and then Roberts climbed atop Epstein. She recounted that “I was sitting on the couch in front of them” as they had sex. For this, the then middle schooler said she was paid $300 in hundred-dollar bills placed on the sink.
Soon, Carolyn claims, she was going on her own, more than 100 times between the ages of 14 and 18, saying that “Maxwell would call and set appointment times,” during the first year of her alleged abuse.
At one point, while still 14, the witness testified that Maxwell invited her to Epstein’s Caribbean island. Carolyn said, “I told her I was too young and there was no way in hell my mother would let me go.”
As the testimony grew more graphic Carolyn told the jury about a time that Epstein brought another girl into the massage room with them. She described what ensued, saying “Epstein penetrated me a few times, I told him I wasn’t comfortable.” At this point, she claims he stopped and moved on to having sex with the other girl.
When asked by U.S. Attorney Maureen Comey what she used the money she made from Epstein for, Carolyn finally broke down, weeping and wiping away tears she managed to utter, “To buy drugs.”
Meanwhile, Maxwell, at the defense table, was inscrutable as she took in the testimony, her black sweater and mask, along with her black hair left only her eyes and a small patch of forehead visible.
On cross-examination, the defense was successful in pointing to some discrepancies between Carolyn’s current testimony and her previous statements to the FBI and in depositions for a civil action. These had to do with where Roberts had first talked about Epstein, when exactly her relationship with him ended, and a slew of other details that seem to have changed in her account.
During the cross, defense attorney Jeff Pagliuca said Carolyn’s last name, not the first time he has broken this rule during the trial. Upon hearing it, prosecutor Comey jumped up like a power forward going after a rebound to stop the proceedings. As a sidebar occurred Carolyn once more broke into tears. For the rest of the day she seemed stunned and confused.
Prior to Carolyn taking the stand, the day began with some sparks. The defense sought to ban testimony from “Brian,” the brother of alleged victim “Jane,” who testified last week.
Apparently, Jane called Brian and discussed her testimony with him even though both are sequestered. This exchange between the siblings included her telling him that the defense attorney was, well, the way the attorney in question Laura Menninger put it was, “a word that rhymes with front.” The question of whether Brian will testify has yet to be settled.
Once the jury was brought in, Kimberly Meder resumed her testimony from late Monday afternoon. She took the jury through a series of photos from CDs seized from Epstein’s Upper East Side home.
Most were images of Maxwell and Epstein, wearing fur hats, in formal attire, on a motorbike, with a dog, all apparently taken over a number of years. Two telling photos showed Maxwell massaging Epstein’s feet on a private plane. It echoed testimony from “Kate” on Monday who said Maxwell urged her to give Epstein’s feet “a little squeeze” when they first met.
The other witness on Tuesday was FBI analyst Stephen Flatley who testified to the veracity of several emails and documents found on a hard drive registered to Maxwell.
These included emails about maintenance of the Palm Beach estate as well as a list of 16 shampoos and 13 massage products Epstein liked and a flyer that read, “Help Wanted. Are you a massage therapist? Work in a Palm Beach home. Excellent pay. Mostly weekends.” It included a phone number and instructions to leave a message.
But the day belonged to Carolyn. And it looked like a hard one for her. Very near the end, Comey on redirect asked her if she was doing this, testifying, for money. In a rare loud and defiant moment, while absolutely sobbing she replied, “Money will not ever fix what that woman has done to me. What she did was wrong.”