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Jeffrey Epstein pilot says he never saw sex acts on flights

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Jeffrey Epstein pilot says he never saw sex acts on flights

By LARRY NEUMEISTER and TOM HAYS

NEW YORK (AP) — A longtime pilot for Jeffrey Epstein told a jury Tuesday at Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial that he never saw evidence of sexual activity on planes as he flew his boss and others — including a prince and ex-presidents — for nearly three decades.

Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr., the trial’s first witness, was responding to questions by a defense lawyer when he acknowledged that he never encountered sexual activity aboard two jets he piloted for roughly 1,000 trips between 1991 and 2019.

He said he stayed in the cockpit for the majority of flights, but would sometimes emerge to go to the bathroom or get coffee.

Although he was called as a witness by the government, Visoski’s testimony seemed to aid the defense of Maxwell as he answered questions posed by Maxwell attorney Christian Everdell about what he saw when he straightened up the aircraft after a flight.

Visoski didn’t hesitate when Everdell asked him if he ever saw sexual activity when he went for coffee or found sex toys when he cleaned up.

“Never,” the pilot answered to both questions. He said he never saw used condoms either.

And when he was asked if he ever saw sex acts with underage females, he answered: “Absolutely not.”

The pilot said Epstein never warned him to stay in the cockpit during flights and also encouraged him to use a bathroom near the rear of the plane that would require him to walk past the plane’s couches.

He said he never saw any children on his planes who were not accompanied by their parents.

When Everdell asked him about a teenager who prosecutors say was sexually abused by Epstein before she became an adult, Visoski said he believed she was “mature” when he was introduced to her.

He also acknowledged that Clinton was a passenger on a few flights in the 2000s and he had piloted planes with Britain’s Prince Andrew, the late U.S. Sen. John Glenn of Ohio — the first American to orbit Earth — and former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, “more than once.”

Visoski said Epstein gave him 40 acres of land to build a house on the financier’s New Mexico property and paid for his daughters’ college education.

Epstein’s plane was derisively nicknamed “The Lolita Express” by some in the media after allegations emerged that he had used it to fly teenage girls to his private island, his New Mexico ranch and his New York City townhouse.

Flight records, made public as part of civil litigation, also showed that Epstein had used the plane to fly celebrities, influential academics and politicians around the globe.

Luminaries who flew with Epstein have had to beat back speculation that their presence on the flights meant they must have been aware of the millionaire’s crimes. Clinton, like others who took rides from Epstein, has said he was unaware of any misconduct.

Maxwell, 59, traveled for decades in circles that put her in contact with accomplished and wealthy people before her July 2020 arrest.

Asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey where Maxwell stood in the hierarchy of Epstein’s world, Visoski said Maxwell “was the Number 2.” He added that “Epstein was the big Number 1.”

The testimony supports what Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz told jurors in her opening statement Monday when she said Epstein and Maxwell were “partners in crime.”

Pomerantz said Maxwell recruited and groomed girls for Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to at least 2004.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty and one of her lawyers said in an opening statement Monday that she’s being made a scapegoat for Epstein, who killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell at age 66 in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.

Visoski testified briefly on Monday before beginning Tuesday on the witness stand.

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Water cannon, tear gas used on vaccine protesters in Brussels

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Water cannon, tear gas used on vaccine protesters in Brussels

BRUSSELS  — Police fired water cannons and thick clouds of tear gas Sunday in Brussels to disperse people protesting COVID-19 vaccinations and government restrictions that aim to curb the fast-spreading omicron variant.

Police said the protest in the Belgian capital drew an estimated 50,000 people, some traveling from France, Germany and other countries to take part.

Protesters yelled “Liberty!” as they marched and some had violent confrontations with police. Video showed black-clad protesters attacking a building used by the European Union’s diplomatic service, hurling projectiles at its entrance and smashing windows.

A much smaller number of anti-vaccination demonstrators marched in Barcelona.

The protests followed demonstrations in other European capitals on Saturday against vaccine passports and other requirements that European governments have imposed as daily infections and hospitalizations have surged due to the omicron variant.

In Brussels, white-helmeted police riot officers repeatedly charged after protesters who ignored instructions to disperse. Police water cannon trucks fired powerful jets and snaking trails of gas filled the air.

A protest leader broadcasting over a loudspeaker yelled, “Come on people! Don’t let them take away your rights!” as police officers faced off against demonstrators who hurled projectiles and insults. “Go to hell!” shouted one protester wearing a fake knight’s helmet with a colorful quiff.

Brussels police said 70 people were detained and three officers and 12 demonstrators required hospital treatment.

Nearly 77% of Belgium’s population has been fully vaccinated, and 53% have had a booster dose, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Belgium has seen more than 28,700 virus deaths overall.

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Massachusetts to go on temperature rollercoaster, forecasters monitor ‘potential coastal storm’

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Massachusetts to go on temperature rollercoaster, forecasters monitor ‘potential coastal storm’

The Bay State is set to go on a temperature roller coaster ride this week, as arctic air will yet again blast the region.

Local meteorologists are also monitoring a “potential coastal storm” that could hit late in the week.

Most of the week ahead should be dry and quiet, according to the National Weather Service, but a fast-moving clipper system is expected to bring a period of minor light snow Monday night into early Tuesday.

“Up to an inch of snowfall accumulation is expected, and the risk is greatest across the interior,” said Bill Leatham, meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Boston office. “The Boston metro area could also see some snowfall.”

Temps on Monday should be in the low 30s before they jump close to 40 degrees on Tuesday. Those milder than normal temps won’t last long, however, as the arctic cold returns Wednesday with very low wind chills Wednesday night.

High temps on Wednesday and Thursday will be in the 20s, and low temps should only reach the single digits.

“Folks will definitely want to bundle up,” Leatham said.

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Keeler: DeMarcus Cousins gives Nuggets toughness. Grit. Attitude. And a break for MVP Nikola Jokic.

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Keeler: DeMarcus Cousins gives Nuggets toughness. Grit. Attitude. And a break for MVP Nikola Jokic.

The screens are worth the price of admission alone. DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t move guys. Dude pancakes them.

Hey, if this 10-day contract with the Nuggets doesn’t work out for Cousins, George Paton could do a lot worse at offensive tackle for the Broncos than a 6-foot-10, 270-pound road-grader with a chip on his shoulder.

“He gives us grit,” Nuggets guard Austin Rivers said of Cousins, who made his Denver debut during a 117-111 win over the Detroit Pistons.

“Everybody knows he’s an enforcer … he’s still got to get his legs back, but he’s going to be big for this team. Especially with that second unit. He’s going to be a problem.”

A good one, you hope. If Sunday night was a harbinger of what’s to come, Boogie gives the Nuggets two things they haven’t had since Mason Plumlee left town two summers ago: One, a true center to spell Nikola Jokic, the reigning NBA MVP; and two, a physical presence who won’t take guff from anybody.

“I’ve been around the block,” Cousins said with a grin after putting up 12 minutes, one bucket, one airball, six misses, six boards and one technical foul.

At one point, Cousins even followed coach Michael Malone out to midcourt when his boss was protesting a call against Aaron Gordon.

“We were just laughing about that,” Malone, the Boogie Whisperer, said of his new center, whom he coached in Sacramento. “He was like, ‘Coach, man, I gotta calm you down.’”

Boogie turns 32 next summer. It’s not about the numbers. It’s about toughness. Intangibles. Wisdom. And keeping Joker’s legs fresh for the stretch run.

“I felt like I had two cement blocks on my feet,” Cousins said after misfiring on 6 of 7 attempts from the floor. “But I made a couple plays … the ultimate thing (was) we got a win. And I look forward to the rest.”

The Nuggets’ bench outscored the Pistons’, 41-37. Denver came in averaging 33 points from its second unit, with a collective plus/minus of -2.7.

“That’s the mentality that group needs,” Malone said of that Cousins grit. “They’ve got to have toughness. You’re not just going to come out and run your offense and be all pretty. We’ve got to disrupt that, be physical. And if they can do that, (that unit) can help our team a lot.”

When he entered the game with 2:17 left in the first quarter to spell Jokic, Ball Arena cheered him like an old friend.

“Get it, Boogie!” somebody cried from Section 130 as the Nuggets’ new big man went through warm-ups.

Fourteen seconds later, the big man air-balled a jumper in the paint. With 1:26 to go, he bricked a couple free-throw attempts, then promptly got whistled for a shooting foul on the other end of the floor. His first 3-pointer caromed hard off the iron.

But he’s also a willing passer who still sets killer screens, one of which helped free up fellow newbie Bryn Forbes to drain a silky jumper about 25 seconds into the second frame.

Boogie saved the fun stuff for the third quarter. With 1:49 to go in the stanza, he drew a charge on Rodney McGruder, the Almost-Nugget. Boogie finally got on the board as a Nugget with a spin move, miss, and putback with 1:33 left in the quarter.

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