Immediately after dramatic and emotional testimony, the ex-boyfriend of Ghislaine Maxwell’s star accuser took the witness stand on Wednesday to tell a jury that he heard key aspects of “Jane’s” testimony. “Matt” told a jury that “Jane” told him Jeffrey Epstein was her “godfather.” The witness said “Jane” exploded when he pressed her about the financial support the now-deceased financier gave her.
“‘Matt,’ the money wasn’t fucking free,” “Matt” recounted “Jane” saying.
The government called “Matt”—who is testifying under an assumed name to protect the identity of his pseudonymous ex-girlfriend—immediately after two days of harrowing testimony by “Jane” that Maxwell and Epstein sexually abused her when she was 14 years old.
“The Most Shameful, Deepest Secrets”
On her first day of testimony on Tuesday, “Jane” claimed that Maxwell fondled her breast. She also said that Epstein masturbated on her, subjected her to “painful” abuse with sex toys, and forced her to perform various sex acts. She also testified that an “orgy” took place on multiple occasions with Maxwell, Epstein and others in the massage room.
Maxwell’s attorney Laura Menninger grilled “Jane” on what she described on her shifting memories of those alleged incidents on Wednesday, comparing what she said with the government’s notes of their interviews. The witness pushed back occasionally at what the defense attorney described as inconsistencies and conceded other discrepancies between her testimony and what she initially told prosecutors.
“It is true that you do not recall Ghislaine ever touching you?” Menninger asked.
“That’s not true,” she replied.
Asked whether she told the government she was not sure Maxwell ever kissed her, she replied: “I don’t recall.”
“You told the government that Ghislaine never saw you perform oral sex on Epstein, correct?” Menninger asked.
“That’s correct,” she replied.
During other portions of cross-examination, Menninger pressed “Jane” on comments to law enforcement that Maxwell took her to see “The Lion King” on Broadway in New York City and celebrated the late journalist Mike Wallace’s 80th birthday. The timeline of these events did not align with “Jane’s” story, Menninger suggested.
The defense attorney also tried to undermine “Jane’s” testimony that she had a difficult family life and focused on her career as a soap opera actress to suggest that she was experienced in creating “melodrama.”
On redirect, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe prompted “Jane” to explain why she may have been reluctant to tell prosecutors every detail of her story during their first meeting.
Her voice cracking, “Jane” answered: “Because I was sitting in a room full of strangers and telling them the most shameful, deepest secrets that I’d been carrying around with me my whole life.”
“How Do You Think I Got The Money, Mom?”
Seeking to bolster the claims of a star witness, prosecutors called “Matt,” a fellow TV actor who lived with her for years, to back up key aspects of “Jane’s” difficult family life. “Jane” previously told jurors that “Matt” was one of the few people she confided in about Epstein.
“While you were together, did you ever tell Matt that you’d been sexually abused by Maxwell and Epstein?” “Jane” was asked on Tuesday.
“Yes,” she responded.
“Matt” said that he remembered “Jane” telling him about her father’s death, their financial troubles, and her accusatory comments to her mother.
“How do you think I got the money, mom?” he recalled her saying.
His brief testimony, lasting only a matter of minutes, alluded to sexual abuse only indirectly, with Maxwell’s attorneys steadily firing off hearsay objections.
“Did she ever use the word ‘massage’?” a prosecutor asked.
After presiding U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan overruled a leading objection by the defense, “Matt” responded: “Yes.”
Numerous Epstein victims have alleged a scheme in which young girls would be recruited to perform massages on him, which would escalate to sexual assault.
“Matt” testified that “Jane” told him about Maxwell after accused sex trafficker’s arrest.
“When you learned that Maxwell had been arrested, did you contact Jane?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
“What did you ask her?” the prosecutor said.
“I just said, ‘Is this the woman that you were referring to when you told me?’ And she said yes,” he replied.
Mitchell Epner, a former federal prosecutor who led intake on sex-trafficking cases in the District of New Jersey in 2003 and 2004, told Law&Crime that Maxwell’s lawyers seemed to have “opened the door” to testimony that otherwise would have been inadmissible.
“The Maxwell defense opened the door to Matt’s testimony about prior statements by ‘Jane’ (his ex-girlfriend) to him about her abuse at the hands of Epstein & Maxwell,” texted Epner, who is now of counsel with Rottenberg Lipman Rich PC.
“Ordinarily, this would be inadmissible hearsay. In this trial, it is admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(1) as a ‘prior consistent statement’ that is offered to be rebut the accusation of ‘recent fabrication’ because it was made before the existence of the thing that is alleged to have created the incentive to lie,” Epner noted. “Specifically here, the defense has alleged that ‘Jane’ was motivated to change her story by the creation of the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund, and ‘Matt’ is testifying that she told him the same story years before the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund was created.”
“The Beginning of When My Life Would Change Forever”
“Jane” acknowledged having received a $5 million settlement. After legal fees and expenses, approximately $2.9 million went to her, she testified.
Seeking to undermine that attack, Assistant U.S. Attorney Moe asked on redirect examination: “‘Jane,’ in your own words, can you tell the jury what that money meant to you?”
“Jane” broke down crying at that question, wiping her eyes with a tissue on the witness stand.
“I wish I never received that money in the first place because of what happened,” she said. “You know, when you’re seeking some sort of closure, and I guess in, you know, laws in this country, compensation is the only thing you can get to try to move on with your life and for the, you know, pain and abuse and suffering that I received, and all the out-of-pocket money I paid to try to make this go away and to try to fix myself.”
Asked earlier why she remembers the first time she says Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused her more clearly than other events, she responded: “Because it’s the beginning of when my life would change forever.”
Maxwell’s defense team declined to cross-examine “Matt,” whose testimony was over in minutes.
Proceedings ended with a final witness called to corroborate portions of “Jane’s” testimony: Daniel Besselsen, who is now assistant vice president of finance at Interlochen, the prestigious Michigan arts academy where “Jane” said she met Epstein and Maxwell. Besselsen confirmed that Epstein was a heavy donor and sought to have a “Jeffrey Epstein Scholarship Lodge” built.
Prosecutors entered a photograph of the structure into evidence.
Update—Dec. 2 at 9:13 a.m.: This story has been updated to add more details from “Jane” and “Matt’s” testimony.
(Photos via DOJ)
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