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Prosecution rests in Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking trial

“I think this was all about a pattern of confusing my boundaries,” Annie Farmer said of Jeffrey Epstein and his former girlfriend Maxwell, accused of helping the multimillionaire sexually abuse girls.

MANHATTAN (CN) — After calling the last of four accusers to testify about sexual abuse in Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, prosecutors rested their case nearly a month ahead of schedule. 

Annie Farmer was 16 years old when Maxwell gave her a nude massage at Jeffrey Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, Farmer testified on Friday. 

After showing Farmer how to give Epstein a foot massage — each massaging one foot, and then Farmer continuing on her own while Epstein “groaned” — Maxwell told Farmer what a “lovely experience” it was to have a massage, and encouraged her to try it out. Then she told the teenager to get undressed and lie under a sheet on a massage table. 

“She started rubbing my body and rubbing my back and my legs,” Farmer, now 42, testified. “At some point in the massage she had me roll over so I was laying on my back. … She pulled the sheet down and exposed my breasts and started rubbing on my chest and on my upper breasts.” 

“I just wanted so badly to get off the table and have this massage be done,” Farmer said. The door to the room was open. “I was fearful that Epstein — I just had this sense that he could see me.” 

The next morning, Epstein opened the door to the bedroom where Farmer was staying, and came “bounding into my room,” saying he wanted to cuddle, Farmer recalled. He climbed into the bed, got behind her and “pressed his body into me.” 

Farmer said she didn’t want to be in bed with Epstein, but didn’t say no. 

“I was very aware at that time that I was very isolated” on the ranch, she said, with “no one safe for a great difference. She wanted to “get through this and move on.” 

Maxwell is accused of grooming victims for sexual abuse, and is charged with six sex trafficking and conspiracy counts, and two counts of perjury, in the Southern District of New York. Her trial began November 29, and was initially expected to extend into January. Earlier this week, prosecutors said they had slashed their witness list and would wrap up early. 

Farmer’s testimony followed women who testified under the pseudonyms “Jane” and “Kate,” and one who testified using her first name, Carolyn. They described being recruited to give Epstein sexual massages, sometimes with Maxwell’s participation, during which Epstein would masturbate or use sex toys on the minors — who were as young as 14 years old

The teenage girls were paid in cash.

“I was young and $300 was a lot of money,” Carolyn said on Tuesday. When she was around 16, she said she was paid $600 after she recruited three other teenage friends from West Palm Beach, Florida, to come over to Epstein’s mansion in the more moneyed Palm Beach for paid sexual massages.

It wasn’t the first time Farmer, the only accuser to testify using her full name, had spoken publicly in the criminal prosecution against Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime employee of the deceased multimillionaire Epstein. 

During a 2020 bail hearing, Farmer called Maxwell a “sexual predator,” and said she never showed remorse for “heinous crimes” or the devastating long-term effects of her actions. Maxwell has been held in custody since her July 2020 arrest

Farmer spoke on Friday about first meeting Epstein — who was her sister Maria’s boss at the time — in New York City in late 1995, during the holiday school break. 

Like other victims, Farmer’s family was tight on money — she was raised by a single mother of three, without child support — and Epstein offered support. 

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In New York, he served Maria and her sister champagne, and talked about Farmer’s college prospects. He suggested she take an international trip between her junior and senior years of high school, to boost her application. 

During the same trip, Epstein bought tickets for Farmer and her sister to see Phantom of the Opera, and took both sisters to see a movie. He sat in between them, Farmer recalled. 

“At some point he reaches over, and puts his hand sort of on the arm rest between our seats,” Farmer said. Then, Epstein held her hand, and caressed her arm, foot and leg. 

In an ornate Manhattan courtroom, Maxwell, 59, took notes while Farmer recalled those details. 

“I was very surprised. I was very nervous and anxious. I felt sick to my stomach, it was nothing I was at all expecting,” said Farmer, who didn’t tell her sister about the encounter because she was afraid it would be bad for her career. 

However, Farmer wrote about Epstein in her journal when she returned from the trip in January of 1996. Some memories were happy: She wrote that the trip made her feel more independent, like she belonged in the city. She mused about visiting Africa in the future.

“I got an amazing dress for prom,” the teenager wrote in the journal. “It’s from the ’50s. Lace, with pink flowers w/ rhinestones in the middle all over it. It is my dream dress.” 

Then she described Epstein’s behavior at the movies. 

“It was a little weird,” Farmer wrote. “One of those things that is hard to explain.” 

Farmer, who is now a psychologist, mostly spoke in a calm and even tone. Her voice broke up only slightly as she read out the journal entry, which wavered between her discomfort in the situation, and believing that it “wasn’t that weird and probably normal.” 

“I think he is just a relaxed guy and likes to flirt, or was being fatherly or something,” Farmer wrote. “I think this sounds like me trying to justify him doing something weird, but it isn’t.”

It was the following spring, around April of 1996, that Farmer met Maxwell at Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico. Epstein paid for her flight from Arizona. 

According to testimony from her mother and former boyfriend, Farmer thought she was attending a retreat with dozens of other students her age. But when she arrived, it was just herself, Epstein and Maxwell. 

The British former socialite’s presence made Farmer more comfortable, she said.

“After what happened in the movie theater in New York, I did not want to be alone with him,” Farmer said.

Epstein and Maxwell brought Farmer on a shopping trip, bought her a pair of black cowboy boots and took her horseback riding on the ranch. They also took her to the movies, where Epstein again caressed Farmer, and the contact later escalated with the sexual massage by Maxwell. 

“I think this was all about a pattern of confusing my boundaries,” Farmer said, “questioning myself about what was right and not right, with the ultimate goal of sexually abusing me.” 

On cross-examination, defense attorneys noted that Farmer did not write in her journal about the New Mexico trip. They asked if entries about the New York trip had helped to refresh her memory 25 years later — Farmer said yes — and if the New Mexico experience had colored her memory of the prior trip. 

“I’m sure in some ways it does,” Farmer said. 

“What may not have seemed weird in one moment, it happened again, may become weirder, right?” asked defense attorney Laura Menninger of Haddon, Morgan and Foreman P.C. in Denver. Farmer agreed. 

Menninger presented Farmer with the boots that Epstein and Maxwell bought her in 1996. Opening a paper bag, Farmer held up one of the pair. The heels were worn, and toes “pretty scuffed,” Menninger pointed out. 

“You went dancing in the boots that Mr. Epstein bought for you?”

“That’s correct,” said Farmer, who earlier testified that she relocated the boots around late 2006 when she was interviewed by FBI agents. When she wasn’t asked to send them to investigators, Farmer decided to wear them. 

“It was something that obviously was a dark memory. I felt so taken advantage of by them both,” Farmer explained. “By using the boots, it was somehow changing that, reclaiming it in some way.” 

Trial will resume on Dec. 16. 

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