A longtime pilot for Jeffrey Epstein testified in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell Tuesday, saying that Maxwell was Epstein’s “Number 2” person.
Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr., a pilot on Epstein’s private jets who flew about 1,000 trips between 1991 and 2019, was the first witness to testify in the trial of Maxwell, the British socialite who is alleged to have recruited and groomed young girls for Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.
When asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey what Maxwell’s place was in Epstein’s hierarchy, Visoski responded that Maxwell “was the Number 2.” He added that “Epstein was the big Number 1,” the Associated Press reported. Visoski’s testimony seemed to coincide with the opening statements of prosecuting attorney Lara Pomerantz, who alleged that Epstein and Maxwell were “partners in crime.”
Visoski further testified that he piloted flights that had included former President Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew, former President Donald Trump, and the late John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth and former U.S. Senator from Ohio.
Visoski also testified that while he remained in the cockpit during most flights, he did occasionally leave to get coffee or use the restroom in the back of the airplane. He said that Epstein did not warn him to stay in the cockpit, and encouraged him to use the restroom on the plane, which required him to walk through the cabin.
Asked by defense lawyers whether he saw any sexual activity on the airplanes during his flights with various celebrities, academics, and politicians, Visoski said repeatedly that he did not see any sexual activity, nor did he see any sexual activity with minors. He further testified that he never saw any sex objects or used condoms while cleaning up the planes after flights. When asked about a teenage girl who was allegedly sexually abused by Epstein, Visoski said that when he met her, she was “mature,” the AP reported.
The trial of Maxwell, the 59-year-old longtime associate of Epstein, whose social circles put her in contact with prominent public figures, many of whom were associated with Epstein, began Monday with opening statements from both the prosecution and the defense. The Daily Wire reported:
Maxwell helped “normalize” Epstein’s “abusive sexual conduct,” the prosecution said. In the case of the 14-year-old, that meant “making it feel normal that a man in his 40s was naked and touching her body.” She “preyed on vulnerable young girls” and “served them up” for sexual abuse, Pomerantz said.
In addition, although Maxwell procured the minor girls for the well-connected wealthy financier, Maxwell herself participated personally in some of the sexual abuse, the prosecution said.
Meanwhile, Maxwell fostered a “culture of silence” working as his “lady of the house” and taking care of his multiple residences, making hiring and firing decisions regarding his staff, and laying down “strict” rules for them, prosecutors said.
The defense stressed repeatedly that Epstein is not on trial — Maxwell is.
“She is not Jeffrey Epstein,” Sternheim said. “He is consuming this entire courtroom.”
Sternheim said Epstein’s sudden death in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 left a “gaping hole” in the desire for justice and accused the alleged victims of making Maxwell the “scapegoat” for Epstein’s crimes, a remark that drew an objection from the prosecution.
Maxwell’s trial is about “memory, manipulation, and money,” the defense said.