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Duke of York dragged into Ghislaine Maxwell sex-trafficking trial

·3-min read

Watch: Maxwell, Epstein were 'partners in crime

The Duke of York has been dragged into the sex-trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell after being listed as a passenger on disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s private planes.

Jurors trying the case at the court in the Southern District of New York were told Andrew was one of a number of high-profile figures to fly on the aircraft, including former US presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton and actor Kevin Spacey.

British socialite Maxwell, who was described as “dangerous” during Monday’s proceedings, is accused of preying on vulnerable young girls and luring them to massage rooms to be molested by Epstein between 1994 and 2004.

On Tuesday, Epstein’s former pilot Larry Visoski told the court Maxwell was “number two” to her ex-partner, with the convicted sex offender “definitely the big number one”.

The witness also recalled meeting one of Epstein’s alleged victims, given the pseudonym “Jane”.

The Duke of York leaves a wedding with Ghislaine Maxwell (Chis Ison/PA) (PA Archive)
The Duke of York leaves a wedding with Ghislaine Maxwell (Chis Ison/PA) (PA Archive)

“Did anyone tell you how old Jane was when you met her?” assistant United States attorney Maurene Comey asked.

“No they didn’t no,” Mr Visoski responded.

“Mr Epstein brought her to the cockpit and introduced her to me.

“She was a mature woman with striking blue eyes.”

Mr Visoski also said he remembered meeting Andrew’s accuser Virginia Roberts in the mid to late 90s.

“She was a short woman with dirty blonde hair,” he said.

“Did anyone know how old Virginia Roberts was?” Ms Comey asked.

“No,” the witness replied.

Jurors were shown numerous photographs of Epstein’s properties, including a ranch in New Mexico, an apartment in Paris and his private island in the US Virgin Islands.

Photographs of Epstein’s private planes were also shown to the jury.

Under cross examination from defence counsel Christian Everdell, Mr Visoski was asked “Are you familiar with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York? He is the second son of the Queen. Did he ever fly on Epstein’s planes?”

“Yes, he did,” Mr Visoski replied.

The witness told jurors he could not recall the dates the duke flew.

Moving on to former president Trump, Mr Visoski said: “He flew on them a number of times.”

He told the court he could not remember any of Mr Trump’s family flying.

“The actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker?” Mr Everdell continued.

“Yes, I remember them as well,” Mr Visoski replied.

The pilot recalled how he would have to make the aircraft “look nice” for ex-president Bill Clinton when he flew on Epstein’s planes.

President Donald Trump (Alex Brandon/Archive/PA) (PA Archive)
President Donald Trump (Alex Brandon/Archive/PA) (PA Archive)

“You never saw any sexual activity on flights?” Mr Everdell asked.

“No,” Mr Visoski responded.

“You never saw anyone engage in sexual activity with young girls?

“Absolutely not.”

“If Mr Epstein was engaging in sex acts during the flight he probably would have told you not to leave the cockpit would he?”

“That’s correct.”

“You had no reason to believe that Epstein or anyone else was engaging in sex acts with underage girls on flights?”

“Absolutely not.”

Former US President Bill Clinton (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Archive)
Former US President Bill Clinton (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Archive)

During the trial on Tuesday, Maxwell was supported by her sister, Isabel, and the defendant nodded at her as she entered court.

Wearing a beige turtleneck jumper, she put on reading glasses and read notes on the desk in front of her, before the jury entered the courtroom.

Maxwell listened intently to the witness evidence and wrote a number of notes throughout.

The full indictment against the defendant lists six charges, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Maxwell is also accused of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, sex trafficking conspiracy, and sex trafficking of a minor.

The defendant is further alleged to have lied under oath by hiding her participation in Epstein’s offences during a separate civil case.

Maxwell, who has been held in a US jail since her arrest in July last year, denies all charges.

The trial continues.

Watch: Prince Andrew 'unequivocally' denies sex abuse

Read More

What the papers say – November 30

‘Dangerous’ Ghislaine Maxwell preyed on girls for Epstein to molest, court told

Ghislaine Maxwell preyed on young girls for abuse, prosecutor says

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