The former housekeeper of Jeffrey Epstein has told a court he drove two underage girls to the disgraced financier’s house, under instructions from Ghislaine Maxwell. Juan Patricio Alessi said on Thursday that he picked up one of Maxwell’s alleged victims, who gave evidence under the pseudonym Jane, to bring to Epstein’s Palm Beach estate.
He said Jane appeared to be around 14-15 years old at the time. He also said he had driven the Duke of York’s accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Mr Allesi said Ms Giuffre visited “very often".
Prince Andrew was friends with Ghislaine Maxwell for many years and he also had a friendship with Epstein that he terminated in 2010.
The Duke of York has always categorically denied any wrongdoing and claims made by Ms Giuffre, who says she was trafficked to London to have sex with the prince.
ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy rounds up Thursday's evidence
'Underage teenagers were taken to Maxwell'
Mr Alessi said he sometimes picked up Ms Giuffre and Jane from their homes, on instructions from Maxwell or Epstein, and would bring the visitors her at her desk. After that, it was “not my job to see where they were,” he said. One time, Ms Giuffre brought her boyfriend into the house with her, he said, and Maxwell said the man needed to leave and wait in the car.
The 72-year-old witness told jurors he saw Jane’s contact details in Epstein’s telephone directory listed under masseuses.
Mr Alessi said while at the Palm Beach house, Jane would spend her time with either Epstein or Ms Maxwell.
Mr Alessi said he also saw “many, many, many” young adult female visitors, often lounging topless by the pool, during a dozen years of working at Epstein’s sprawling home.
Mr Alessi said they appeared to be in their late 20s.
What has the court heard so far during the trial?
Jane, Maxwell's youngest alleged victim, said she flew with Prince Andrew on Epstein's private jet when she was a teenager
Jane also claimed she had repeated sexual contact with Epstein when she was 14 and that Maxwell was there when it happened
Prosecutor Lara Pomerantz branded Maxwell and Epstein "partners in crime" who lured teenage girls into a decade-long sex abuse scheme
A long-time pilot for Epstein told the trial he had never seen evidence of sexual activity while flying planes for the financier. The pilot did, however, name some of the famous guests to have flown on board - including Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump
Epstein killed himself in jail in 2019, while charged with sex trafficking counts that alleged he abused dozens of underage girls.
The case against Maxwell stems from four now-adult women who said she helped Epstein victimise them. Ms Giuffre's allegations, which include claims that Epstein trafficked her to other prominent men who have denied it, are not part of the case. Maxwell, 59, denies the allegations against her, and her lawyers say prosecutors are going after her because they can’t try Epstein.
Maxwell, a British socialite, was Epstein’s onetime girlfriend and, later, employee.
Prosecutors said she took the girls on shopping trips and movie outings, talked to them about their lives and encouraged them to accept financial help from him. The government also says she also helped to create a sexualised atmosphere by talking with the girls about sex and encouraging them to give Epstein massages.
The woman identified as Jane testified this week that she had sexual interactions with Epstein at age 14 with Maxwell in the room and sometimes participating. Maxwell’s lawyers pointed to FBI documents that said she gave the government a different account in 2019; she questioned the documents’ accuracy.
Staff told to 'hear nothing, say nothing'
Mr Alessi portrayed an imperious Maxwell letting it be known that she should be treated as “the lady of the house” and handing out a 58-page booklet with rules for staff on everything from how to address the pair to what types of notepads to put on their desks.
“Checklists will assist you in making sure every task has been completed and not even the smallest detail has been overlooked,” the book said, instructing employees to “try to anticipate” Epstein and Maxwell's needs and to “hear nothing, say nothing” except when spoken to.
“I was supposed to be blind, deaf and dumb and say nothing of their lives," Mr Alessi said. Staffers had to “run the house like a five-star hotel,” keep Epstein’s cars washed and stocked with $100 bills in them for his weekend visits. They also weren’t supposed to look him in the eye.
Maxwell said he didn’t like such eye contact, according to Mr Alessi, who said he began working at the house as a renovation subcontractor and eventually managed it. He left in 2002.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the charges facing her and one of her lawyers said in an opening statement on Monday that she’s being made a scapegoat for Epstein.
The trial continues.