Ghislaine Maxwell trial: Prince Andrew travelled in Jeffrey Epstein's private jet, pilot tells court

Asia's Tech News Daily

Jeffrey Epstein‘s former pilot, Lawrence Visoski, arrives for Ghislaine Maxwell‘s sex trafficking trial in New York

    Jeffrey Epstein’s private pilot has described Ghislaine Maxwell as the “number two” in the hierarchy of the financier’s operations as he recalled flying politicians and royalty aboard his private jet.

    Lawrence Visoski, the first witness in the sex trafficking trial of the British socialite, told jurors Prince Andrew and former US presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump were among those who flew in what has become known as the ‘Lolita Express’.

    The pilot strenuously denied ever seeing any sexual activity involving underage girls aboard the peadophile's two jets he piloted for roughly 1,000 trips between 1991 and 2019.

    Mr Visoski said Epstein had hired Maxwell in the 1990s to manage his properties and other aspects of his personal life so he could focus on his businesses.

    During the second day of the trial, he told the court: “She was the one that pretty much handled most of the finance, my expenses, spending in the office.”

    Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of sex trafficking and other crimes, including two perjury charges that will be tried at a later date.

    She faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

    Lawyers for Maxwell have said that the British socialite was being scapegoated for crimes Epstein committed.

    07:03 PM

    Ghislaine was Maxwell's 'go to person' for non business related matters, says pilot

    Pilot Lawrence Visoski has told jurors: “He (Epstein) knew he was going to get busy so Ghislaine was his go-to person to handle everything that was not business related.”

    Maxwell and Epstein appeared to be a couple in the 1990s, but their relationship was purely based on business by the early 2000s, he added.

    Visoski pictured being cross examined by Maxwell’s defence lawyers – Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

    06:36 PM

    Prince Andrew, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton among those aboard Epstein's jet

    Jamie Johnson and Josie Ensor have the latest from New York.

    It didn't take long for the rich and famous to be dragged into Ghislaine Maxwell's trial.

    Under examination from the defence, Jeffrey Epstein's pilot of nearly 30 years, Lawrence Visoski detailed how he would fly celebrities, politicians and royalty around on a private Gulfstream jet.

    Epstein would instruct Visoski of his plans only a day in advance, and they would jet between Palm Beach, New York, New Mexico, the private Caribbean island of Little St James and Paris.

    When asked if he was familiar with Prince Andrew, Mr Visoski said: “Yes I am” and recognised that he was the son of Queen Elizabeth II.

    He also remembered the Duke of York on Epstein's jet, though could not recall exactly when and where he was heading.

    The first mention of the Duke has come on just the second morning of Maxwell's trial.

    He is alleged to have had sex with a 17-year-old Virginia Roberts, who claims she was trafficked by Epstein. The Duke strenuously denies the allegations and neither he nor Roberts form part of the indictments against Maxwell.

    But the Duke was not the only famous face on Epstein's jet. There were multiple mentions of former US president Bill Clinton, while Donald Trump also flew more than once, the pilot said. .

    06:24 PM

    Epstein gave pilot 40 acres of land and paid for daughter's college education, court hears

    Visoski told jurors Epstein gave him 40 acres of land to build a house on the financier's New Mexico property and paid for his daughters' college education.

    Epstein's plane was derisively nicknamed “The Lolita Express” by some in the media after allegations emerged he had used it to fly teenage girls to his private island, his New Mexico ranch and his New York City townhouse.

    Flight records, made public as part of civil litigation, also showed that Epstein had used the plane to fly celebrities, influential academics and politicians around the globe.

    Luminaries who flew with Epstein have had to beat back speculation that their presence on the flights meant they must have been aware of the millionaire's crimes.

    Clinton, like others who took rides from Epstein, has said he was unaware of any misconduct.

    Maxwell, 59, travelled for decades in circles that put her in contact with accomplished and wealthy people before her July 2020 arrest.

    06:15 PM

    Pilot claims he never found sex toys or used condoms while cleaning up Epstein's plane

    Visoski showed no hesitation when asked by Maxwell's attorney if he ever saw sexual activity when he went for coffee or found sex toys when he cleaned up.

    “Never,” the pilot answered to both questions. He said he never saw used condoms either.

    And when he was asked if he ever saw sex acts with underage females, he answered: “Absolutely not.”

    The pilot said Epstein never warned him to stay in the cockpit during flights and also encouraged him to use a bathroom near the rear of the plane that would require him to walk past the plane's couches.

    Defence attorney Christian Everdell cross examines Lawrence Visoski – Elizabeth Williams

    He said he never saw any children on his planes who were not accompanied by their parents.

    When Everdell asked him about a teenager who prosecutors say was sexually abused by Epstein before she became an adult, Visoski said he believed she was “mature” when he was introduced to her.

    05:53 PM

    Epstein's pilot says he saw no sexual activity on planes while transporting US presidents during flights

    Epstein's private pilot has said he never saw evidence of sexual activity on planes as he shuttled his boss and others including ex-Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump to destinations for nearly three decades

    Lawrence Visoski, the trial's first witness, was responding to questions by Maxwell's defence lawyer when he acknowledged that he never encountered sexual activity aboard two jets he piloted for roughly 1,000 trips between 1991 and 2019.

    He said he stayed in the cockpit for the majority of flights, but would sometimes emerge to go to the bathroom or get coffee.

    Although he was called as a witness by the government, Visoski's testimony seemed to aid the defence of Maxwell as he answered questions posed by Maxwell's attorney Christian Everdell about what he saw when he straightened up the aircraft after a flight.

    04:14 PM

    Maxwell pictured conferring with defence attorney as pilot's testimony continues

    A courtroom artist has pictured Maxwell conferring with her defence team as the testimony of Epstein's pilot continues into its second day.

    Maxwell, wearing a mask and a beige top, is pictured conferring with her defence team at New York Court – Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

    04:05 PM

    Photos of Epstein's home and properties shown during pilot's testimony

    Prosecutors have shown jurors photographs of Epstein's homes and properties during Lawrence Vivoski's testimony.

    Epstein killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.

    Maxwell has been held without bail since her arrest on charges alleging she recruited teenage girls for Epstein to abuse from 1994 to 1997.

    Earlier this year, the indictment against her was expanded to accuse her of continuing to aid Epstein's sexual abuse of teenagers from 1997 to 2004.

    Maxwell watches on as the jurors are shown pictures of Epstein and his private island – Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

    03:45 PM

    Judge excuses juror from case after spouse surprises him with Christmas holiday

    US District Judge Alison Nathan said she had excused one juror from the case because his spouse had surprised him with a planned trip around the Christmas holiday.

    As a result, 12 jurors and five alternates, instead of six, will continue hearing testimony from pilot Lawrence Visoski, in the expected six-week trial, which began on Monday.

    Visoski's testimony is providing the remaining jurors with a sense of the lifestyle Epstein and Maxwell lived between 1994 and 2004, the period in which prosecutors say Maxwell lured four underage girls for Epstein to abuse.

    03:23 PM

    Maxwell was 'number two' in hierarchy of Epstein's operations, says pilot

    Lawrence Visoski, the first witness in the sex trafficking trial of Maxwell, has described the British socialite as the 'number two' in the hierarchy of Epstein's operations.

    Resuming his testimony on Tuesday afternoon, the former pilot for Epstein was asked where Maxwell stood in the hierarchy of Epstein's world.

    Visoski said Maxwell “was the number two” and added that “Epstein was the big number one.”

    “She was the one that pretty much handled most of the finance, my expenses, spending in the office.”

    The testimony supports what Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz told jurors in her opening statement Monday when she said Epstein and Maxwell were “partners in crime.”

    Pomerantz said Maxwell recruited and groomed girls for Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to at least 2004.

    03:14 PM

    Maxwell's sister arrives

    Isabel Maxwell, Ghislaine's sister, has also now arrived at the courthouse.

    On Tuesday Isabel, was the sole member of the Maxwell clan to turn out in support.

    Even Ghislaine's husband, American entrepreneur Scott Borgerson, was notably absent.

    Isabel Maxwell arrives for her sister’s trial – Jeenah Moon/Reuters

    03:00 PM

    Pictured: Pilot Lawrence Visoski arrives at court

    Lawrence Visoski, Jeffrey Epstein's private pilot has been pictured arriving at the courthouse for the trial for Ghislaine Maxwell.

    Mr Visoki testified on Monday that Maxwell often contacted him to schedule flights for Epstein.

    Maxwell's defence team will cross-examine Visoski after prosecutors finish their questioning today.

    Jeffrey Epstein’s former pilot, Lawrence Visoski, – Jeenah Moon/Reuters

    02:47 PM

    Maxwell a 'bullseye' for anger from victims, defence attorney claimed

    Maxwell's legal team is aiming to spear accusers' stories as “thin,” and their memories as “unreliable.”

    In opening statements on Monday, defence attorney Bobbi Sternheim argued their recollections have faded or been “corrupted” by forces including media attention and the prospect of “a big jackpot of money” in potential civil suits against Epstein's estate.

    Sternheim had cast Maxwell as a “target” being blamed for the late Epstein's crimes.

    The lawyer dubbed Maxwell a “bullseye” for “anger from women who were or who believe they were victimized by Epstein,” whose death left “a gaping hole in the pursuit of justice.”

    Maxwell is “filling that hole,” Sternheim said.

    02:33 PM

    Prosecutors to present flight logs showing names of Maxwell and alleged victims

    In her opening statement on Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz said prosecutors would present flight logs that included the names of Maxwell and some of the alleged victims.

    “The defendant and Epstein made young girls believe that their dreams could come true,” Pomerantz said.

    “They were exploiting kids. They were trafficking kids for sex.”

    Maxwell's defense attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, said on Monday there was nothing inherently wrong with having private jets.

    Sternheim reminded jurors that during jury selection, they had indicated to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan that they “would not be biased by affluence or opulence.”

    Epstein's private planes “were used as commuter jets. Guy friends; past, present, and future girlfriends; and an array of other very interesting people – academics, politicians, scientists,” Sternheim said. “

    There were families on the flights and children on the flights.”

    02:31 PM

    'We interacted quite often,' says pilot

    Lawrence Visoski told the court on Monday afternoon that Maxwell often contacted him to schedule flights for Epstein.

    Visoski described Maxwell as an office assistant of Epstein's who frequently flew on his private planes, but also said their relationship appeared to be “more personal than business.”

    “We interacted quite often,” Visoski said of himself and Maxwell.

    Visoski's testimony provides jurors with a sense of the lifestyle that Epstein and Maxwell lived between 1994 and 2004, the period in which prosecutors say she lured four underage girls to Epstein.

    Visoski said he frequently shuttled Epstein and guests between Epstein's properties in New York, Florida, New Mexico, Paris and private islands in the Caribbean.

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