NEW YORK — FBI agents found a cache of thick black binders — all labeled with names — that contain hundreds of naked or semi-naked photographs on CDs that Epstein stored in various places inside his 40-room Manhattan townhouse.
The labels on the binders were redacted from photos shown in court because prosecutors said they were names of “third parties” who are not relevant to the sex-trafficking case they are mounting against Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, in a New York City courtroom.
Never-before-seen photographs taken by the FBI during a search following the financier’s July 6, 2019, arrest show several areas of Epstein’s gilded eight-story mansion, including the massage room where he allegedly sexually abused girls and young women.
A large safe containing more binders of CDs, cash, computer hard drives, diamonds and passports — was found. FBI agents left the house to obtain a warrant for the safe, but when they returned four days later everything from the safe was gone.
One of Epstein’s lawyers, Richard Kahn, later returned the items in two suitcases, according to FBI special agent Kelly Maguire, who supervised the raid. Maguire, a member of the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, told the jury that agents searched overnight, into the next day before finding the safe buried in a closet in a third-floor dressing room.
They also found a drawer full of computer hard drives in a ground-floor office. Curiously, she noted that the hard drives they found were already marked with FBI evidence tape — indicating perhaps that they had already been used as evidence in another case.
In 2005, police in Florida raided Epstein’s Palm Beach, Florida, home after several girls from a local high school reported that they were molested by Epstein. Police, however, found that the hard drives for his computers had been hastily removed prior to their arrival — suggesting he had been tipped off about the search. The FBI later learned that the drives were removed by one of Epstein’s assistants, and it’s never been clear whether the agency ever obtained or reviewed them.
Maguire told the jury that the drives were analyzed but she did not testify as to what, if anything, was found on them.
She did, however, look at some of the CDs in the binders at the top of a closet, all neatly lined up in a row. Inside were thumbnail photos of the actual photographs contained in plastic sleeves in the binders.
The jury was then excused for the day, and the defense and prosecution argued about which of the photographs would be shown to the jury. Some of them purportedly show Epstein and Maxwell together; at least two of them are semi-naked images of subjects that prosecutors said were victims.
One victim in a topless photo is Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has claimed she was sexually abused by Epstein and Maxwell when she was 17. Defense attorneys noted that the photo shouldn’t be admitted because prosecutors don’t plan to call Giuffre as a witness in the case.
“They aren’t calling her because they know she has credibility problems,’’ Maxwell attorney Laura Menninger told the judge.
Giuffre, who lives in Australia, successfully sued Maxwell in 2016, and she is now suing Prince Andrew, alleging that he sexually abused her at Maxwell’s London townhouse when she was 17, which is above the age of consent in Britain.
To this day, Maxwell maintains that she never had sex with Giuffre — or anyone — without their consent. She contends that she also never saw Epstein have sex with any minors.
Prosecutors allege that Maxwell, 59, helped facilitate Epstein’s abuse of minors — and that she sometimes participated in the abuse.
Also on Monday, prosecutors showed bank statements indicating that Epstein sent wire transfers in excess of $30 million to bank accounts that belonged to Maxwell. The transfers occurred in 1999 and 2007. Documents showed that $7.3 million was used to purchase a helicopter for Maxwell.
In July 2019, after the Miami Herald published a series of stories on Epstein’s alleged abuse of girls and young women, "Perversion of Justice," the financier was indicted on sex-trafficking charges in the Southern District of New York. He was found dead a month later. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging.
Prosecutors then turned their attention to Maxwell, a once-prominent British socialite who had long been accused of coordinating Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation.