Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Testimonies Portray Damaging Picture of Grooming Behavior

The testimonies of all four women in Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial paint a damaging picture of the British socialite's alleged grooming behavior, experts say.

Prosecutors in the case against Maxwell, who is accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls for the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, rested their case on Friday after a fourth and final accuser named Annie Farmer took to the stand.

Earlier, three other women testified against Maxwell, 59, a longtime associate of Epstein who faces six counts of sex trafficking.

The first accuser, using the pseudonym Jane, wrapped up the first week of the trial, while the second woman, testifying under the pseudonym Kate, took the witness stand on Monday. Jurors heard from Maxwell's third accuser, who testified under her first name, Carolyn, on Tuesday.

Maxwell has maintained her innocence in the case and has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

As Maxwell prepares to mount a defense in the trial, with proceedings set to resume on Dec. 16, experts say all four testifying victims portray a consistent account of grooming conduct—something that will lend credibility to their claims.

"Jurors often have a where there is smoke, there is fire view of sexual misconduct allegations," Jill Huntley Taylor, CEO of Taylor Trial Consulting told Newsweek.

Victim 1: Jane

The first victim to take the stand, Jane, from Florida, testified on November 30 that the abuse she suffered during multiple encounters with Epstein, beginning at the age of 14, made "my heart sink into my stomach."

She said she was sitting at a picnic table with friends at a summer arts camp in Michigan, when a "tall, thin woman" with a "cute little Yorkie" walked past her. She suffered years of sexual abuse after her encounter with Maxwell in 1994, she told the court.

Jane, now in her early 40s, testified that both Epstein and Maxwell would lead her to a massage table, and Maxwell would instruct her to touch Epstein in a sexual manner.

Speaking with Newsweek, Dr. Ziv Cohen, founder and medical director of Principium Psychiatry in New York City, said Jane "describes a process of grooming in which Ghislaine Maxwell played an integral role," particularly as Maxwell allegedly approached Jane first.

Cohen is a board-certified forensic and clinical psychiatrist who consults on high-profile criminal cases and has advised the Department of Justice.

"As a woman who could be Jane's mother, Maxwell would have led Jane to drop her guard and place herself in vulnerable situations with a strange adult male," said Cohen, noting that Maxwell's alleged grooming behavior became "intense" when she took Jane shopping for clothes and to the movies.

"Jane describes Maxwell pushing boundaries, a classic example of grooming, by buying her not only clothes, but underwear from Victoria's secret," said Cohen. "Maxwell then allegedly escalated and began talking with Jane about sex."

The pattern of behavior that Jane describes suggests that Maxwell was skilled and experienced at grooming, Cohen said.

Maxwell allegedly being present or even participating in the sexual activity that was initiated was Epstein, coupled with the young age of the victim, all create a "credible and damaging" picture of Maxwell, Cohen added.

Victim 2: Kate

The second woman, Kate, took the witness stand on December 6, saying that she was 17 and an aspiring musician when she first met Maxwell, who told her that her boyfriend could help boost her career.

"I left there feeling exhilarated and like somebody wanted to be my friend," Kate, now 44, testified, recalling a meeting with Maxwell in 1994 at her London townhouse.

When she returned weeks later, Epstein was present and Maxwell instructed her to give him a massage, Kate told the court. Weeks later, Epstein wore a bathrobe and a sexual encounter occurred when Maxwell closed the door, Kate testified.

Cohen told Newsweek that although Kate didn't testify to sexual acts that occurred between her and Epstein when she was a minor, she describes a similar pattern of recruitment by Maxwell into Epstein's circle, leading to sexual encounters with Epstein.

Details that could be extremely damaging include Maxwell providing her with a "school girl" outfit to serve Epstein a meal, which allegedly led to a sexual encounter.

"It shows Maxwell as at the service of Epstein's sexual desires, knowing intimately his fantasies, and procuring girls to satisfy them," said Cohen.

Cohen pointed out a flaw in Maxwell's attorneys' argument that their client is only being prosecuted because Epstein is no longer alive.

"A weakness in that argument is that if Epstein did indeed commit crimes, and according to the testimony of the victims Maxwell was present or participated, then she would also bear responsibility," he explained.

"The power of Jane and Kate's testimony is that they support the central contention that although primarily Epstein assaulted them sexually, Maxwell was complicit and active in this behavior," Cohen added.

Victim 3: Carolyn

Carolyn, the third of four women cited in a 2021 indictment of Maxwell, took the stand on December 7, alleging that the British socialite preyed on her when she was a minor.

With an alcoholic mother and a victim of rape and molestation at the hands of her own grandfather since the age of 4, Carolyn was vulnerable, the court heard. She alleged Maxwell initiated massages that turned sexual starting when she was just 14. Maxwell at one point allegedly touched her breast and examined her naked body.

Carolyn said she visited Epstein's home "over 100 times" between the ages of 14 and 18, until Epstein told her she was "too old."

Speaking to Newsweek, Taylor, who has evaluated thousands of jurors in the courtroom and in mock trials, said Carolyn gave a "powerful and emotional" testimony which supports a similar pattern of conduct as described by both Jane and Kate.

The victims described Maxwell showing the girls what Epstein "liked," setting up "appointments," being in the room and even touching and commenting on their bodies, she said, noting that this pattern lends credibility to the allegations.

"Carolyn's story was less one of opportunity and more one of desperation," she said.

Taylor noted however that while her testimony about coming back to Epstein at 18 and being "too old" is damning to Epstein, jurors may question to what extent Carolyn will be seen as a victim of Maxwell.

"Complicating this further is the fact that Carolyn brought a civil suit against Epstein and [Sarah] Kellan but did not name Maxwell in that suit," she added. "The failure to mention Maxwell may bode well for Maxwell and was an area her attorneys were aiming to exploit in their cross of Carolyn."

Victim 4: Annie Farmer

Annie Farmer, Maxwell's fourth and final accuser, testified on December 10 using her real name. She testified that the 59-year-old set her up for a sexual encounter with Epstein when she was 16.

During a visit to Epstein's New Mexico ranch in 1996, Farmer told the court that Maxwell touched her breasts while giving her a massage.

"Like most, Annie Farmer initially felt more comfortable with Ghislaine around," Taylor said: "This trust and sense that a sophisticated older woman would be safe, seems key to the grooming allegations and may be a compelling narrative to the jury."

Key to the allegations of Maxwell's grooming behavior is the fact that all of the victims have discussed the front of "massage," and Ghislaine introducing them to "massage," and teaching them what Epstein liked, she said.

"She [Maxwell] lured them in with trust and minimized or altered the true nature of what they would be doing. Massages quickly turned to sex, rapes and orgies," Taylor said.

The victims also discussed Maxwell as the individual who set up "appointments," introduced them to Epstein, bought them gifts, told them what to do and where to go.

"Jurors typically view such consistencies between the accounts of multiple victims aslending credibility to the claims," Taylor added.

The trial is expected to last into January.

Courtroom sketch shows Ghislaine Maxwell
This courtroom sketch shows Juan Alessi (R), Epstein's house manager, Judge Alison Nathan and Ghislaine Maxwell (L) during her trial on charges of sex trafficking, in New York City, on December 1, 2021. The 59-year-old daughter of late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison. JANE ROSENBERG/AFP/Getty Images