Ghislaine Maxwell warned Epstein’s house manager not to ‘look at his eyes’, court hears

The former house manager of Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach home said Thursday that Ghislaine Maxwell warned that he should “never look” his boss in the eyes.

Juan Alessi, who worked at Epstein’s Florida residence fromabout 1990 to 2002, made the startling statement during his testimony at Maxwell’s child sex-trafficking trial in Manhattan federal court.

Epstein, a mega-rich financier who counted Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton among his associates, killed himself at a New York City jail in August 2019, pending trial. Maxwell, 59 and the daughter of the deceased British publishing titan Robert Maxwell, was arrested in July 2020 at a sizable New Hampshire estate.

The former British socialite is now on trial on charges related to her alleged participation in Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls, some as young as 14. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Maurene Comey’s questioning of Alessi sought to bolster the government’s position that Maxwell was deeply involved in all aspects of Epstein’s life. Prosecutors have alleged that Maxwell was Epstein’s “best friend and right hand” – and that they were “partners in crime”.

“Other than Mr Epstein, who else, if anyone, gave you instructions about your job responsibilities during your employment?” Comey asked.

“Ms Maxwell,” said Alessi, 71.

Alessi said that when he first met Maxwell, she was a “pretty girl, a tall brunette”.

“Ms Maxwell was the girlfriend of Mr Epstein, I understand she was the lady of the house,” Alessi recounted. “From the day she came to the house, she right away took over, and she mentioned to me she was going to be the lady of the house. Also, she was in charge of other homes, other properties.”

Epstein – who had hired Alessi full-time after convincing him to leave his other clients – started acting differently toward him.

“It changed gradually from being cordial to more just, uh, professional,” he recalled. “Our conversations with him were less and less.”

“What, if anything, did Ms Maxwell tell you about whether you could speak directly with Mr Epstein?” Comey asked.

“Only I was supposed to speak with Mr Epstein when he asked me questions.

“At the end of my stay, there was a time when she says: ‘Jeffrey doesn’t like to be looked at [in] his eyes.’”

Maxwell allegedly told him: “‘You should never look at his eyes. Just look at another part of the room and answer to him,’” Alessi said.

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