The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell began in New York on Monday.
The 59-year-old, who is the former girlfriend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, faces six counts of enticing minors and sex trafficking over a 10-year period.
The British socialite could be sentenced to 80 years in prison if found guilty of all counts.
Twelve jurors and six alternates were sworn in after being selected to hear the case, which is expected to last six weeks.
In her opening statement, US prosecutor Lara Pomerantz accused Ghislaine of targeting young girls for sexual abuse by Jeffrey.
She told jurors: “She preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them, and served them up to be sexually abused.”
Ms Pomerantz also said Ghislaine and Jeffrey “were dangerous predators who sexually exploited and abused” children for a decade.
She described Ghislaine as “essential” to Jeffrey’s abuse of the girls, in a bid to undermine the defense’s expected argument that she was not aware of his crimes.
Ms Pomerantz said: “Sometimes, she was even in the room for the massages herself, and sometimes she touched the girls’ bodies. And even when she was not in the room, make no mistake: she knew exactly what Epstein was going to do with those children when she sent them to him inside the massage rooms.”
“She was in on it from the start. The defendant and Epstein lured their victims with a promise of a bright future, only to sexually exploit them.”
— Agent A (@REBELTROOP) November 29, 2021
In her opening statement, defense lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said: “Ever since Eve has been blamed for tempting Adam with an apple, women have been blamed for things men have done.”
She said that Ghislaine is “not anything like Jeffrey Epstein”, adding that he was the “proverbial elephant in the room”.
Ms Sternheim told jurors: “Yes, Jeffrey Epstein manipulated the world around him and the people around him, including Ghislaine. Ghislaine Maxwell is on trial as a scapegoat for Epstein.”
She said the case was about “memory, manipulation and money”, and argued that the four alleged victims of Jeffrey Epstein have received multimillion-dollar payments from a settlement fund set up by his estate, and have also changed their stories over the years.
The former long-time pilots of Jeffrey Epstein’s jets Larry Visoski has been called by prosecutors to the stand as their first witness in the case.
Mr Visoski testified that Ghislaine sometimes notified him about Jeffrey’s upcoming travel plans, and described Ghislaine as “one of the assistants in the office for Mr Epstein”.
The charges involve four alleged underage victims over multiple locations from 1994 until 2004, with the youngest victim said to have been 14 years old at the time of the alleged abuse.
According to a 2021 indictment, US prosecutors allege that Ghislaine gained the girls’ trust by taking them to the cinema, sending them gifts such as lingerie, and discussing sexual topics.
Prosecutors have also said that Ghislaine encouraged the girls to massage Jeffrey while fully or partially nude.
Ghislaine also faces two counts of perjury which will be tried separately, and she has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Her lawyers claim that prosecutors are using her as a scapegoat after being unable to convict Jeffrey.
Jeffrey Epstein commit suicide in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, and was being held without bail.