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 tell.
Jane testified earlier in the trial that Epstein sexually abused her — and that Maxwell sometimes participated in the abuse — 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. However, in the early 2000s, she believed they were no longer in a relationship and 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 being generous. She said she had never seen anything to indicate that Maxwell or Epstein had ever behaved inappropriately towards underage girls.
Judge Alison Nathan said she expects closing arguments to take place Monday, after which the case will go to jury.
This would give the jury two full days to deliberate ahead of the Christmas break.
Prosecutors introduced photos of Maxwell and Epstein hugging and smiling for the camera over the years, including several on which she massaged his foot. The defense objected to showing these photos to the jury, but the prosecution insisted that their close relationship was central to the case, and the judge agreed.
“Their relevance is clear, given the content of the photos,” said prosecutor Alison Moe. “The relationship between Maxwell and Epstein is central to this case.”
Defense attorneys have argued that Maxwell is being seen as a scapegoat for Epstein’s actions and have attacked the memories and motivations of the women who say they have been abused.
Maxwell, 59, pleaded not guilty to six federal charges: trafficking minors, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and three conspiracy charges. .
Doctor explains the 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 prosecution’s testimony. She testified on Thursday that people can be exposed to misinformation about an event afterwards and record it in their memory, making it inaccurate.
“Even traumatic experiences can be subject to suggestion after an event that can exaggerate, distort or alter the memory,” Loftus said.
She said external factors, such as drug 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 testified that false memories can be expressed with a high degree of confidence and that emotion is not necessarily an indicator of credibility. “Emotion is not a guarantee that you are dealing with an authentic memory,” she said.
During Thursday’s cross-examination, she sometimes became a little nervous when questioned about her motives and the suggestion that she was taking advantage of criminal suspects. She turned her head and spoke directly to the jury when asked whether her work and the media exposure she received from testifying for famous and high-profile suspects raised her profile. She looked at the jury and said, “I wouldn’t put it that way.”
Loftus said she has testified for the prosecution’s side only once in the 300 or so times she has given expert testimony since the 1970s.
During a cross-examination, prosecutor Lara Pomerantz asked Loftus about a book she wrote called “Witness for the Defense.”
Pomerantz read out a short excerpt from the book that said, “Should psychologists act in court as defense advocates or as impartial educators? My answer to that question, if I’m being completely honest, is both.”
Loftus said the quote was out of context and there were no further questions on the subject.
Judge rejects anonymous defense witnesses
Three potential defense witnesses who wished to testify anonymously are not allowed to do so, the judge ruled on Thursday.
Judge Nathan declined that request. She said a warrant on that ruling will be published later in the day.
DailyExpertNews’s Kara Scannell contributed to this report.