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button up Jeffrey Epstein’s staff were ordered: ‘See nothing, hear nothing, say nothing’, trial told

Demand one of many in 58-page manual Ghislaine Maxwell wrote for billionaire’s employees, says witness

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Juan Alessi, Jeffrey Epstein's former house manager, departs from court during the fifth day of the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell yesterday in New York. Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Juan Alessi, Jeffrey Epstein's former house manager, departs from court during the fifth day of the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell yesterday in New York. Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Juan Alessi, Jeffrey Epstein's former house manager, departs from court during the fifth day of the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell yesterday in New York. Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Ghislaine Maxwell told staff to “see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing” in a painstakingly detailed household manual for employees at Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion, a New York court has heard.

The 58-page document written by the British socialite told employees to respond to compliments by saying they “enjoy doing it”, to anticipate Ms Maxwell and Epstein’s needs, and to never speak to guests at the financier’s six-bedroom home unless addressed first.

It also included guidelines around how full tubes of toothpaste should be kept, what temperature the bathroom should be, and where in a bedroom a gun should be stored.

“There were many, many, many rules,” said Juan Alessi, a 71-year-old former house manager who worked for Epstein for more than 10 years, during his testimony for the prosecution during Ms Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial. He described the orders as “degrading” and, in court yesterday, likened his 18-hour days to “slavery”.

In the manual, excerpts of which were read in court, Ms Maxwell wrote that staff were not to speak to Epstein’s guests, “except to answer a question directed at you”. “Respect their privacy,” it added. “Remember that you see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing.”

One-and-a-half pages were dedicated to “proper language”, with employees ordered not to use slang, such as “yeah”, “you bet”, “gotcha”, and “I dunno” when speaking to guests.

If they received a compliment, the manual stated, they should reply: “Thank you, Ms ___. I enjoy doing it.” Or alternatively, “You are very kind.”

Upon entering a room, they were told they should “provide your service, then ask: ‘Is there anything else I might do for you?’, and if not, leave the room”.

At all times, workers should “try to anticipate the needs of Mr Epstein, Ms Maxwell and their guests”.

Employees were also ordered “never” to disclose the “activities or whereabouts” of Epstein or Ms Maxwell “to anyone” who called at the house.

Other parts of the document detail how the mansion should be maintained, with meticulous checklists for luxury products to be kept at all times in various bathrooms.

Ms Maxwell’s toothpaste had to be replaced once half had been used, and tissues when more than two thirds had been used. She always had to have a supply of Kiehl’s cucumber toner and cleansing moisturiser. In the master bedroom, the manual said, a gun should always be placed in the bedside table drawer.

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The guide also laid out exactly how Epstein and Ms Maxwell liked their breakfast – Weetabix with banana slices, sugar and milk and Maxwell House instant coffee – and the temperature she liked her bathroom: 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16C).

Epstein’s cars should all be left with a $100 bill in the glove box or centre console, it added.

“They run the house like a five-star hotel,” Mr Alessi said during his testimony on Thursday.

He added that the demands of work meant he had to work from 5am until 9pm or 10pm most days. He eventually quit in 2002, citing extreme stress and ill-health.

Earlier, Mr Alessi told the court that Prince Andrew’s accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, had come to the mansion at Ms Maxwell’s invitation. Ms Giuffre has brought a civil lawsuit against the British royal in New York for sexual abuse and battery. He denies the allegations.

Ms Maxwell’s defence team wanted to stop the manual from being presented at trial. In a court filing weeks ago, they said the document “reflects a lifestyle that many jurors may find offensive”.

During jury selection, each prospective juror was asked if they held any bias towards wealthy people who had “luxurious lifestyles”. None answered yes.

Yesterday, before proceedings began at the federal court in Manhattan, Ms Maxwell’s lawyers unsuccessfully tried to have images of partially clothed pre-pubescent girls found by police at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion struck off the evidence list. The paedophile financier could be seen pulling down the underwear of a young girl in one photograph and pretending to “bite her bottom”.

Ms Maxwell is accused of crimes including luring girls as young as 14 to be sexually abused by Epstein. She denies the charges. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd, 2021)

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Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]


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