The first week of testimony in Ghislaine Maxwell’s child-sex trafficking trial has provided an extensive look into Jeffrey Epstein’s life of luxury, from jaw-dropping details on residences that rival royals’ estates, to his jet setting schedule. So curated was Epstein’s ostentation, he even demanded theater-quality audio for his workout music.
The emergence of this information suggests that this trial might reveal previously unknown details about Epstein’s world, despite the disgraced financier’s suicide. At the very least, trial proceedings might contextualize how Epstein’s display of wealth so impressed people that it intimidated them.
Maxwell, 59 and the daughter of the deceased British press baron Robert Maxwell, was arrested in July 2020 at a sprawling New Hampshire estate in relation to Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls as young as 14.
Epstein, a convicted sex offender whose high-profile acquaintances included Britain’s Prince Andrew and former US presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, killed himself at a New York City jail in August 2019, while he was jailed pending his own sex-trafficking trial.
In a week of testimony, multiple witnesses spoke of the immense wealth that Epstein displayed and luxury that he enjoyed in properties that spanned the globe – as well as the private jet on which he traveled between them. Their testimony suggested too how that display of riches attracted the powerful social set in which he moved – as well as enabled him to prey on his victims.
Epstein’s longtime pilot, Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr, gave a thorough accounting of the late financier’s expansive homes in New Mexico, Palm Beach, New York City, US Virgin Islands and Paris. Epstein’s private island, Little St James, was encircled by topaz-blue waters, and boasted unimaginable amenities: a library, a gym and a helipad, as well as multiple large swimming pools.
“The house was quite unique. It was pretty much a home that was exploded out, that each building was a room of a house; that guest bedrooms were their own bungalows,” Visoski said.
“So the kitchen was its own building, the living room was its own building, the master bedroom was its own building. So in order to walk from one to another, you actually walked outside.”
With Epstein’s seven-story townhouse in Manhattan’s Upper East Side neighborhood, guests entered through a 15ft door. The residence featured a towering spiral staircase that ascended four floors, Visoski said. The entire second floor was “pretty much a living room”. A dumbwaiter could bring food prepared in the basement-level chef’s kitchen upstairs.
Visoski said that the main house on Epstein’s 10,000-acre New Mexico property boasted a living room that was 200ft by 50ft, with an “extremely large picture window” overlooking a ravine. The dining room was converted to a movie theater .
In fact all Epstein’s residences were equipped with top-notch entertainment systems. “He was an audiophile, so he liked very high-quality music,” Visoski said. Epstein’s gym on his private island “had a tremendous audio system for working out”, he said.
These tony tastes also extended to Epstein’s aircraft.
“It wasn’t like a typical airliner would look,” Visoski said of Epstein’s Boeing 727. “As soon as you got to the first compartment, there was like a large living room that had one, two, three – it had three couches or divans. And then it had several captain chairs inside there.”
As one continued walking through the aircraft, there was a kitchen “like you would find in a home. It was a full decked-out kitchen.” In the middle of the aircraft was the “round room”, with a curved sofa. Next came the “red room”, which had Epstein’s office, as well as a desk and red couch. At the rear of Epstein’s aircraft was the “master bedroom that had a queen-sized bed” and two captain’s chairs, followed by the master lavatory.
With Epstein’s flashy wealth came powerful associates. Prince Andrew and Trump were among the high-profile passengers on his plane, Visoski said.
The first accuser to testify against Maxwell, “Jane”, said this social circle came up in the months before sexual abuse.
“From the very beginning, there was a lot of bragging about how they were friends with essentially everyone, and they knew everyone. And they would sort of name-drop or sometimes put people on speakerphone whose voices I didn’t know and then say, ‘Oh, well, this is so-and-so and so-and-so’, and just, you know, say that they were very well-connected and affluent,” Jane said.
“I guess it made me feel slightly intimidated, but it was overwhelming.”
Jane, whose family was enduring financial hardship when she and her mother went for tea at Epstein’s Palm Beach home, immediately saw immense richesse. Epstein sent a chauffeur to pick them up and drive them to his house.
“It was enormous,” Jane said. “It was this giant, like, beach-looking house with a big white fence around it. And these giant gates opened up, and the car pulled in. And it was just this, you know, big beautiful house … And there was a lot of like, memorabilia and pictures, and pictures with famous people and presidents,” Jane said.
Maxwell’s lead attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, also discussed Epstein’s life in her opening statement. He was a man who “compartmentalized, had eccentricities, very specific requirements about his diet, his daily physical regime, he demanded perfection, he demanded solitude and silence; but he also surrounded himself with people and traveled at times with an entourage”, Sternheim said.
Sternheim had her own take on Epstein’s wealth, arguing that some aspects of his largesse weren’t all that odd.
“Now, you heard about the private jets … They were used as commuter jets for Epstein to travel with family and friends, guy friends, past, present and future girlfriends, and an array of other very, very interesting people, academics, politicians, scientists, musicians, celebrities, even a former astronaut who became a senator,” Sternheim said.
“And there were families on the flights and children on the flights, high-style commuting. But it was a way of getting back and forth from his properties and taking others along for the ride at times, for them to go to their own homes or to other destinations that were on the way.”
Despite downplaying the private planes, Sternheim also argued that Epstein’s ability to manipulate Maxwell and others stemmed, in part, from the fantasy his wealth helped project.
“Now, I said before that Epstein was a manipulator. He had the money and the means to create an exceptional world: beautiful homes, beautiful surroundings, beautiful people,” Sternheim said. “But he also was a mysterious man without attachment. He had no wife, he had no children, he had no boss, yet he attracted all these rich, powerful, famous people before and after his fall from grace back in around 2008.”