There was a time when no one in the mainstream media was interested in the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein, so it was left to independent researchers like Pearse Redmond, host of Porkins Policy Radio, to pursue the story.
The second week of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial saw several new Epstein victims testify against Maxwell. "Carolyn" said she was abused by both Epstein and Maxwell when she was 14, while "Kate" was introduced to Epstein by Maxwell when she was 17. There was also Annie Farmer, who was 16 when (allegedly) abused by Maxwell and Epstein.
The only accuser not to use a pseudonym, Annie Farmer — along with her sister Maria Farmer, also an Epstein victim — went to the NYPD and FBI with their stories twenty-five years ago, but neither law enforcement agency took action.
On Friday the prosecution rested its case. The trial will pick back up on Thursday, December 16.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: It really seems like the defense has its work cut out for it. It will have to convince jurors that Maxwell either wasn't part of the abuse, or that she was somehow abused (and brainwashed) by Epstein, which judging by the testimony of the four victims, seems unlikely. We do know that they plan on using memory expert Elizabeth Loftus to poke holes in the claims that the victims.
PEARSE REDMOND: I think the defense's main argument will be that the prosecution is unfairly equating Maxwell with Epstein. The prosecution has stumbled a few times. For instance, they had a witness, a paralegal that worked for FedEx, testify. The prosecution had subpoenaed all these documents that this paralegal from FedEx was going to go through to prove that Maxwell and Epstein had sent underwear to one of these underage victims. When the paralegal takes the stand, she says no, it was just Epstein that sent it. Which is what the defense has been arguing, that the trial is not about Epstein, it's about Maxwell. And the prosecution is trying to equate the two.
The first time that Annie Farmer was ever touched inappropriately by Epstein was in a movie theater during a viewing of 12 Monkeys, although she recalled it as 5 Monkeys. They were with her sister Maria, who was an employee of Epstein's at the time. Annie didn't meet Ghislaine until another trip, to New Mexico. That was the first time she ever met Maxwell. During that encounter, Ghislaine is the one that abused her.
And Epstein told her to do it. Annie Farmer said she believed he was watching while Maxwell gave her a topless massage. She was 16 years old at the time.
Yeah, right. For the most part, it seems that Ghislaine was just sort of ignoring the abuse all around her. The attitude towards these girls was, "you're here, this is just what you're going to be doing." Farmer and the other witnesses testified as to the horrors of being around Epstein, and the prosecution has to make the case that Maxwell was deeply connected to all of this.
And not all the witnesses are as sympathetic as the four victims. For instance, there's Juan Alessi, the house manager at Epstein's estate in Palm Springs. People kind of describe him as like a butler, handyman, that kind of thing. He did all sorts of things, including driving around young girls for Epstein, washing sex toys. His job was to clean Epstein's massage room. He was the one that would pay some of these girls. Now he testifies about what a horrible person Epstein was, but at the time, he didn't say anything. His wife also ended up working for Epstein. I think he's just one of the more unreliable, dodgy witnesses.
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I guess the prosecution brought him because he could testify that Ghislaine was the one who was setting the standard for what was going on in the house. So she's the one orchestrating everything. I mean, I think he's just a piece of shit. Really, honestly. I don't think he actually cared what was going on. He didn't say anything at the time. I mean, this guy is cleaning up the vibrators and dildos left behind after high school girls were in Epstein's massage room, and he never thinks to go to the police.
And he was helping Maxwell (allegedly) procure the victims.
He's driving around with Maxwell, who would yell at him to stop the car so she could get out and talk to some teenager about coming over to give Epstein a massage.
Alessi also testified that he was involved with another woman, not sexually but involved in some other way. I don't even know what that means [laughs]. She needed money, so he ends up stealing $6,300 from Epstein. He also steals a gun. Epstein had cameras all over his house, actually had photos of Alessi going into the house and stealing all this stuff. But Epstein never presses charges, and ends up giving Alessi a loan. So again, to me that was very much the norm for many of these employees, where Epstein would kind of shower them with stuff, just trying to get something over on them. And now Alessi's changed his tune, portraying himself as somebody who's trying to do the right thing all these decades later. But his testimony is valuable because at least he’s an employee of Epstein’s that will go on the record with this stuff.
Talk to me about Sarah Kellen. I guess she's not going to testify, but she's come up a few times.
She seems to have been a high-ranking employee within Epstein's enterprise or whatever you want to call it. She's been photographed a lot with Maxwell, but also with Epstein. There are a lot of questions about her. She now goes by Sarah Vickers, she’s married to some NASCAR driver. She had a business, the address of which was in this infamous building where Jeffrey Epstein's brother Mark Epstein owns most of the units. This was also a place where a lot of these girls were being housed when he was moving them around. She is definitely a person that has interested me and many other people fascinated with the case, because she's never been formally charged with anything.
There have been different victims who've testified and have given depositions where they described Sarah Kellen as Epstein's scheduler, so she was scheduling when girls would come over for massages. She seemed to work closely with Maxwell. It's never been clear if Kellen was a victim who moved up the ladder and attained status within his trafficking enterprise and abuse network.
In the unpublished manuscript that Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre wrote, there's a reference at one point to someone named Sarah using coke which, you know, Epstein and Ghislaine hated drugs. If you read the manuscript, it almost seems like Epstein had this childlike understanding of drugs. I think he lived in such a weird bubble that he didn't even know what people on drugs acted like. Which is one thing I remember from her manuscript — Epstein was just like this man child who had this totally curated life. It was almost like he saw Reefer Madness and thought that's what drugs are like, you know? Like, that's what smoking weed is really all about.
Maxwell was with him from 1994 to 2000. Who was curating his life after that?
I don't know. I mean, it raises some important questions. Was it Sarah Kellen? Nada Marcinkova? Lesley Groff? I mean, I don't know. Those are certainly possibilities. Not to get full-on conspiracy theory, but the Daily Mail was posted up outside of Epstein's house for a while. You know, it was Steve Bannon, [former Israeli Prime Minister] Ehud Barak who were visiting Epstein. Michael Wolff. I mean, maybe these are the people helping to curate his life. They were certainly going in and out of his house all the time.
Again, that's one of the aspects of this particular trial that I think people are going to be bummed out about. We're not really learning too much new information. We're not really piecing together a broader picture of Ghislaine's life, let alone Epstein's.