Ex-Staffer Says Epstein, Maxwell Told Him to 'Say Nothing' to Others About Their Lives

A former house manager employed by accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein testified that he was not allowed to say anything about the lives of his employer and his alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, the Associated Press reported.

Juan Patricio Alessi took the stand Wednesday during Maxwell's trial in New York City. He testified that he had seen young girls, now accusing the British socialite of sex trafficking, as they entered and left Epstein's Palm Beach, Florida, mansion. He specifically cited seeing "Jane," one accuser who is testifying under a pseudonym, enter the house several times. Alessi also was told to pick up her and Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who is accusing Prince Andrew and other associates of Epstein of rape, from their homes multiple times.

Alessi said that the girls would go to the movies with the duo, as well as take a plane trip with them and their guests. However, he was told that it was "not [his] job to see where they were" after they left.

"I was supposed to be blind, deaf, and dumb and say nothing of their lives," he said, referring to Epstein and Maxwell.

Alessi also said that Maxwell demanded to be treated as "the lady of the house," giving him a 58-page booklet consisting of rules that he and other staff members had to follow. These rules, according to the AP, included "everything from how to address [Epstein and Maxwell] to how to dress to what types of notepads to put on their desks."

Epstein committed suicide while in jail in 2019. He was accused of abusing dozens of underage girls and was charged with multiple sex trafficking counts. Maxwell is also charged with sex trafficking. She has denied all allegations and has pleaded not guilty. Her trial is expected to continue in the coming days.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Alessi and Maxwell Sketch
This courtroom sketch shows Juan Patricio Alessi, right, Jeffrey Epstein's former house manager; Judge Alison Nathan; and Ghislaine Maxwell during the latter's sex trafficking trial on Wednesday. Photo by Jane Rosenberg/AFP via Getty Images

One time, Giuffre brought her boyfriend into the house with her, he said, and Maxwell said the man needed to leave and wait in the car.

Alessi said he saw also "many, many, many" young adult female visitors, often lounging topless by the pool, during a dozen years of working at Epstein's sprawling home. Alessi said they appeared to be in their late 20s.

Giuffre's allegations are not part of the case.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they decide to tell their stories publicly, as Giuffre has done.

Maxwell 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 sexualized atmosphere by talking with the girls about sex and encouraging them to give Epstein massages, and 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, and she questioned the documents' accuracy.

"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.

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—and weren't supposed to look him in the eye. Maxwell said he didn't like such eye contact, according to Alessi, who said he began working at the house as a renovation subcontractor and eventually managed it. He left in 2002.

Earlier Thursday, psychologist Lisa Rocchio testified that child sexual abusers often groom their victims in a progression that includes giving presents, building a sense of trust and gradually introducing more sexualized talk and touching. Victims often don't come forward right away, she said.

Before the trial, Maxwell's lawyers tried unsuccessfully to block Rocchio's testimony, saying it didn't have enough scientific grounding.

After she took the stand, defense lawyer Jeffrey Pagliuca suggested that some things she described as grooming—such as giving gifts, taking children to special places or paying them attention—could also be innocuous.

He recalled, for example, his grandfather taking him to the Bronx Zoo as a child. "I'm assuming he wasn't taking you there for sexual abuse," Rocchio retorted.

Simply being nice to someone isn't grooming, she said, "in the context of a healthy and normal relationship."

Edwards and Henderson
Attorneys Bradley Edwards, right, and Brittany Henderson, who represent two of Jeffrey Epstein's victims, leave the federal courthouse following testimony in the sex trafficking trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell on Wednesday. AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura