Jane appeared to be “probably 18” when she met her, Espinosa said, and Jane’s mother told employees that Jane was Epstein’s goddaughter. Espinosa testified that Epstein treated Jane nicely, as far as she could see.
Jane testified earlier in the trial Epstein sexually abused her — and that Maxwell at times joined in on the abuse — both in Palm Beach, Florida, and Manhattan when Jane was 14, 15 and 16 years old.
Espinosa also testified that Maxwell and Epstein were a “little flirty” and appeared to be in a romantic relationship. In the early 2000s, though, she believed they had stopped dating and were no longer traveling to and from the office together.
The assistant said she respected Maxwell, who treated her fairly and nicely, and she praised Epstein as generous. She said she’d never seen anything to suggest Maxwell or Epstein ever behaved inappropriately with underaged girls.
Prosecutors also introduced photos of Maxwell and Epstein embracing and smiling for the camera over the years, including several showing her massaging his foot. The defense objected to showing the jury these photos, but the prosecution insisted their close relationship was central to the case, and the judge agreed.
“Their relevance is self-apparent, given the contents of the photographs,” prosecutor Alison Moe said. “The relationship between Maxwell and Epstein is central to this case.”
Defense attorneys have argued Maxwell is being scapegoated for Epstein’s actions and have attacked the memories and motivations of the women who say they were abused.
Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to six federal charges: sex trafficking of minors, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and three counts of conspiracy.
Doctor explains science of memory
Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist and professor at the University of California Irvine, testified about false memories as part of the defense’s attempt to broadly undermine the truth of the accusers’ testimony. She testified Thursday that humans can be exposed to misinformation about an event after the fact and incorporate it into their memory, making it inaccurate.
“Even traumatic experiences can be subjected to post-event suggestion that can exaggerate, distort or change the memory,” Loftus said.
She said that external factors like substance abuse, marijuana or otherwise have been found in studies to impair a person’s ability to create a memory at the time of an event.
She also testified that false memories can be expressed with a high degree of confidence and emotion is not necessarily an indicator of credibility. “Emotion is no guarantee that you’re dealing with an authentic memory,” she said.
On cross-examination Thursday, she at times became a little flustered when questioned about her motives and the suggestion that she was profiting off criminal defendants. She turned her head and spoke directly to the jury when asked if her work and the media attention she received from testifying for famous and high-profile defendants raised her profile. She looked at the jury and said, “I wouldn’t put it that way.”
Judge rejects anonymous defense witnesses
Three potential defense witnesses who wished to testify anonymously will not be allowed to do so, Judge Alison Nathan ruled Thursday.
CNN’s Kara Scannell contributed to this report.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense opens its case with testimony from former assistant and memory expert