Maxwell's Fourth Accuser-Day 10
Annie Farmer Claims Ghislaine Maxwell Massaged Her and Rubbed Her Breasts at Jeffrey Epstein's Ranch. Maxwell's fourth accuser said the tycoon got into her bed to hug her and rub her body against her when she was just 16.
by Maibort Petit
During the tenth day of Ghislaine Maxwell's trial accused of sex trafficking charges in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York,
the fourth of her accusers, Annie Farmer, described how the defendant from the first day she met her, maintained a sexual harassment attitude against her.
Friday's day in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York began with the prosecutor's call to the woman to tell the jury the details of her experience with the defendant and Jeffrey Epstein.
She is the only one of the alleged accusing victims of Maxwell and the late Jeffrey Epstein who assumes her identity in this trial.
"Do you see anyone in this courtroom who has ever given you a massage?"
asked prosecutor Lara Pomerantz.
- "Yes, I do," Farmer replied,
- "She's wearing a brown sweater and sitting across the room, on the right.
"Let the record reflect that the witness has identified the accused," Pomerantz said.
How old were you when Mrs. Maxwell gave you a massage?
- I was 16 years old.
Prior to Farmer's rise to testify, Judge Alison Nathan told jurors that the prosecution witness is expected to tell her experience of sexual contact with Epstein and Maxwell in New Mexico. He warned them not to consider contact in New Mexico as "illegal sexual activity," as established by the laws of that entity.
The prosecution witness, who is now 42 years old and works as a psychologist, began her statements by presenting herself to the jury and the court:
- "My name is Annie Farmer," she told the courtroom as she took the stand and then, in detail, spelled her name aloud for the purpose of recording the hearing.
She said she met Epstein and Maxwell when she was 16, in the spring of 1996, when she believed the financial tycoon could help her pay for her college education. She explained that she met him through his sister Maria in New York, where she worked as an artist and graduate student and worked for the financier. The meeting was at an art exhibition during which the tycoon expressed interest in one of her works. Epstein after this first meeting, would have offered to help Annie Farmer enter college.
Did there come a time when you met Epstein on that trip? Prosecutor Lara Pomerantz asked.
- "Yes," replied Annie Farmer.
How many times did you see Epstein on that trip? —the prosecutor asked again.
- Two different times I remember.
The events in New Mexico, at the ranch owned by Epstein, were extremely uncomfortable, she said, because already on a previous occasion in New York, when they were in a movie theater, Jeffrey Epstein had taken her hand — the tycoon sat between the two sisters — and had caressed it against her will and without Maria Farmer noticing.
- I sat next to Epstein... [my sister] was sitting on the other side," the accusing witness explained.
The prosecutor asked her to explain what happened next.
- "The lights went out and at some point and he came over and put his hand on the armrest on the seat and began to take my hand and caress it."
- "He was holding my hand and intertwining his hand with mine," she said,
- "He was rubbing the sole of my shoe and rubbing the sole of my foot and leg. I was very surprised and very nervous."
She explained that she noticed that's when Epstein interacted with her sister and she assumed another behavior, but as soon as he stopped talking to Maria, he touched her again.
Asked why she didn't tell her sister anything about what happened, she said that because
- "I was very confused by what had happened and I knew she was very protective,
and if he had done something that made me uncomfortable ...
he was her boss,
she could lose her job
and it would be bad for her."
Then came the trip to New Mexico, when Epstein paid for her ticket on a commercial flight. - - She said he did not want to go given his previous experience,
but reasoned at the time that the tycoon would surely not dare do anything because Ghislaine Maxwell, the financier's romantic partner, would also be on the ranch.
Therefore, she agreed to travel to the ranch.
In addition, it was supposed to be an activity of an educational program that other young women would attend.
But when she arrived, she realized that she was the only one who had attended.
They took her shopping and gave her cowboy boots of more than USD 100. She was also invited to the cinema and although she did not want to go at first, she agreed given Maxwell's presence.
But things did not happen like she assumpted.
- "It was very similar to the first time I went to the movies with Epstein," she said.
"He immediately started taking my hand and stroking it and rubbing my foot and arm.
When the witness was asked to describe what happened next, she said
- "I would say it was very similar, but I would say it was more brazen, he didn't stop."
- "We went back to the residence and it was decided that I would give Epstein a foot massage."
- "Maxwell wanted to show me how to rub her foot, because that was something she thought she should learn to do. I felt very uncomfortable, I didn't want to touch her foot. I wanted to stop and hoped it would end quickly," she said.
Afterwards, Ghislaine Maxwell asked her to let herself give a massage and to undress before it. Then, during the massage, Maxwell asked her to turn and began rubbing her breasts.
The events would have occurred as follows:
- She pulled down the sheet and exposed my breasts. She started rubbing my chest and upper arms," she explained.
Did Maxwell give you a massage? Pomerantz asked.
- Yes. She put a table in the room where I was staying. It was a standard massage table that was portable, can be extended and has a pattern on top.
What were you wearing? The prosecutor asked.
- "Nothing," Farmer replied.
Why didn't you wear anything?
- She told me to undress.
What happened during the massage?
- "She started rubbing my body and rubbing my back and legs and she was talking trivially, and at some point during the massage she made me turn around to lie on my back," the accusing witness explained.
- " She pulled down my sheet, exposed my chest, and rubbed my chest and the top of my breasts. When she pulled down the sheet, I felt a little frozen, as it didn't make sense to me for that to happen. I was surprised."
- She said that although Epstein was not at the scene, she felt like he was there and watching.
- The next day Jeffrey Epstein opened the door to the room and, "jokingly," told her that he wanted a "hug." Then, the tycoon got into his bed and "pressed his body on me."
The prosecution witness told the jury that while this was happening, she felt "frozen from fear."
To evade the situation, he said he had to use the bathroom to get away from Epstein.
- "I wanted to be there long enough that hopefully this whole situation would end."
- I just wanted the weekend to end.
- "I thought they had brought me there for a number of reasons: I thought they were both interested in me as a student and all these experiences made me feel like they had very different interests in me and I was disoriented and wanted to end that," she told the jury.
The defense attacks
Defense attorney Laura Menninger questioned Annie Farmer about her memories of her time in New Mexico with Epstein and Maxwell in 1996. The defense has at all times tried to show that the memories of the accusers have been corrupted over the years and by various interests.
The lawyer referred to the diary that Farmer kept as a teenager and in which she referred to her trip to New York, when she met Jeffrey Epstein, but noted that in that diary there is no mention of her trip to New Mexico.
He took the questioning in the direction of Farmer repeatedly telling the jury that, during the woman's first encounter with Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell had not been present.
Laura Menninger questioned Annie Farmer about whether her account of the trip to New Mexico was not more of a "reconstructed memory," to which the woman acknowledged that she had indeed searched the Internet several times and talked to friends about other events that occurred at the time of her trip in order to refresh her memory about exactly when the trip took place.
The defense has insisted that the four women's allegations against their client have been motivated by money from a compensation fund for Epstein's victims. Annie Farmer received $1.5 million, she told prosecutors.
The prosecution also called Annie Farmer's mother and her ex-boyfriend to testify at the high school in order to corroborate the testimony of the accuser. - Janice Swain, the mother, said she spoke with Jeffrey Epstein before her daughter went on a trip and he assured her that about two dozen students would visit her ranch on that occasion. - She added that Epstein told her that his "wife," Ghislaine Maxwell, would be present and accompany the young women who attended. - David Mulligan, the ex-boyfriend, recalled that Annie Farmer told him about her trip to New Mexico and when Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly touched her breasts during a massage at the age of 16. After these testimonies that occurred in the morning hours, the prosecution announced a break for 10 days. Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded had not guilty to eight counts against her. For the past two weeks, prosecutors tried to present her as an accomplice to Epstein, a sex offender, calling them
"partners in the crime" who had built "a pyramid scheme of abuse." Epstein was convicted of state sex crimes in Florida in 2008, but committed suicide in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maibort Petit is a writer, researcher and political scientist specializing in Transnational Organized Crime. Based in New York, she works for several Hispanic media outlets and as a consultant for several firms in New York and Washington D.C.
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Why this article is important
Speaking for those who can not speak for themselves. There are few more vulnerable than children. This trial is about sex trafficking of minors and for whom we must all raise our voices and protect.