Ghislaine Maxwell’s handbook for Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion revealed by prosecutors

·5 min read

NEW YORK — Tissues. Check. Flashlight with new batteries. Check. Gun in bedside table drawer. Check.

Disgraced billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein was a convicted sex offender who hanged himself in jail under the weight of sex trafficking and child molestation charges.

He was also a stickler for detail, and relied on his ex-girlfriend/caretaker/alleged co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, to make sure everything was in place, his former house manager testified in Manhattan federal court.

The household ran with laserlike precision, in stringent order that belied the depravity and abuse that was at the center of Epstein’s life inside the gated house of horrors.

From the brand of canned tomatoes in the kitchen pantry of Epstein’s Palm Beach, Florida, mansion, to the level of fuel in all the compound’s vehicles, to the temperature of the water in the palm tree-surrounded swimming pool (82 to 88 degrees), Maxwell was allegedly the get-it-done maven of the manor, guided by a hellish handbook.

Among the many details to surface last week in Maxwell’s federal trial — from the wicker basket of hand washed sex toys in her bathroom, to the heads of state Epstein entertained as guests — was the use of a 58-page handbook given to staff to make the $18.5 million, 14,000-square-foot mansion sparkle “like a five-star hotel.”

The handbook, detailed by a witness who was Epstein’s house manager for more than a decade, was a step-by-step guide to catering to the proclivities of Epstein and Maxwell and the needs of their important guests.

“It was extensive preparations. It was very hectic, very — a lot of work, a lot of work,” said the house manager, Juan Alessi.

“From cleanliness of the house, to make the — change the sheets in his room, to change the sheets in all the guest rooms, prepare the guest rooms, prepare food, do the shopping, and the cars, taking care of the cars. Make sure the cars were clean. Make sure the cars have money — $100 bills in the car, in every car. The cars, they have to be immaculate. The house needs to be — he run the house like a five-star hotel.”

The manual he worked from and described was meticulous about household details. Epstein’s bathroom was to be stocked with drugstore toiletries like White Rain Shampoo and Secret women’s deodorant. A hand towel had to be at the ready to use in the massage room, the book detailed.

The staff was given very specific instructions about how to clean the bathroom, “Place the dirty bathmat in the tub or shower stall and stand on the mat while cleaning. ... Rinse s bower (sic) stall with hot water after removing the bathmat. Dry shower walls, floor and door. Wipe down shower curtain. Place bottom of curtain outside of tub. Arrange curtain in pleats,” the guide read.

On the shopping list were latex gloves, exactly six bananas, eight ripe tomatoes, Cheetos, chunky peanut butter and an assortment of Barilla pasta.

And there was a lot of waste: Toothpaste in the master bedroom needed to be replaced if half the tube was empty. Boxes of tissues were to be discarded if they were less than a third full.

“Regardless of quantity used, all open packets must be replaced after each visit,” Alessi said.

But even more important, Alessi and others said, was discretion. And there was much to be discreet about.

Alessi said it was not uncommon to see photos of “topless” women around the property, or actual “topless” women hanging around the pool. He said at least two of the women appeared to be minors.

Then, there were the sex toys that he was instructed to wash by hand.

“I remember finding a large dildo,” the longtime housekeeper recalled in testimony. “I just put my gloves on, put it in the sink, run it under water, and put the dildo in Ms. Maxwell’s closet in the basket.”

The basket’s contents were in line with testimony from a woman who said Epstein and Maxwell started sexually abusing her when she was 14.

The witness, who testified under the pseudonym Jane, noted that the abuse often involved sex toys and “really painful” massage devices.

Prosecutor Alison Moe called Epstein’s daily “massages” a ruse.

“You see, Epstein’s Palm Beach villa and his Manhattan mansion each had a room used for massage, massage rooms filled with photographs of naked females,” Moe said in her opening statement. “Epstein brought girls into his massage room every single day. But what was happening inside those massage rooms was not a massage — it was sexual abuse. Calling it a massage was a ruse, a ruse designed to get young girls to touch Epstein, an excuse for Epstein to touch the girls.”

The handbook also insisted on discretion about the privacy of Epstein, Maxwell and their guests, as detailed on Page 9:

— Unless otherwise instructed, NEVER disclose Mr Epstein or Ms Maxwell’s activities or whereabouts to anyone. If the caller is insistent, you simply ask to take: a message, a time and a number, where the caller can be reached. Do not be bullied and do not show any reaction or impatience, simply be firm.

— Advise Ms Maxwell of any strange telephone calls or enquiries.

— Advise Ms Maxwell of any unusual behavior, such as strangers lurking around the vicinity of the property.

— Entrance gates to the property must remain closed when Mr Epstein is not in residence.

— The security of the house and of Mr Epstein, Ms Maxwell and their guests, is your first consideration and should be uppermost in your consciousness.

Prosecutors alleged that the handbook and various rules were used to establish a climate of silence and secrecy. Alessi said as much when Maureen Comey, an assistant U.S. attorney, questioned him on the stand.

“Mr. Alessi, when Ms. Maxwell gave you this booklet, what did you understand this rule to mean?” Comey asked.

“It means a kind of warning that I was supposed to be blind, deaf and dumb to say nothing of their lies,” Alessi said. “I’m sorry to say, but it was very degrading to me. Most of the pages, they were just unbelievable to me.”

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