Final Epstein accuser testifies in Ghislaine Maxwell sex-trafficking trial

On Friday, the prosecution rested in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell following the testimony of Annie Farmer, the fourth and final accuser who said she was abused by the deceased billionaire Jeffrey Epstein when she was a minor.

In this July 15, 2019 photo, Annie Farmer, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers who spoke at his bail hearing, attends a news conference outside federal court in New York [Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File]

Farmer, 42, who is the only victim to use her real name during the trial, told the Manhattan jury about several sexual encounters with Epstein when she was 16. She said she met him in New York City in late 1995 or early 1996 when she traveled there to visit her sister Maria, who was 25 years old and an employee of the billionaire financier and socialite.

Farmer said Epstein paid for her flight from her home in Phoenix, Arizona, and she wanted to meet him because he was interested in helping her go to college. During the trip, Epstein took the sisters to a movie and sat between them. Annie Farmer stated that Epstein started caressing her arm during the movie. “I felt sick to my stomach,” she said.

The prosecutor asked Farmer to read entries from her journal that were made shortly after her trip to New York City and backed up her story of meeting Epstein, who was more than twice her age, and how he caressed her arm during the movie.

The following spring, Farmer said she went on a weekend trip to Epstein’s ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and met Ghislaine Maxwell for the first time. At the billionaire’s 26,700 square foot Zorro Ranch, Farmer testified, she was directed to undress for a massage by Maxwell, who then “started rubbing on my chest and on my upper breasts.”

The witness also described an incident in the morning when Epstein entered the room in which she was staying and got into bed with her, saying, “he wanted to cuddle,” and he “pressed his body into me.” Farmer also said, “All these experiences made me feel they had a very different interest in me.” She said she excused herself to use the bathroom in order to get away from him.

Before Farmer testified, District Judge Alison Nathan instructed the jury that any physical contact with Maxwell and Epstein was not illegal sexual activity in New Mexico since a 16 year old is not considered a minor under New Mexico state law. Judge Nathan allowed Farmer’s testimony and told jurors to consider it if it is relevant to the issues in the trial.

The four Epstein accusers—the others remaining anonymous and going by the first names “Jane,” “Carolyn” and “Kate”—were called to testify by the prosecution in order to prove that Maxwell, the confidante and sometimes lover of Epstein, was a willing accomplice in his sexual abuse and trafficking of numerous underage girls for nearly two decades.

Maxwell was arrested at her remote residence in Bradford, New Hampshire, on July 2, 2020, and pleaded not guilty at her arraignment twelve days later to all counts, including enticement of minors and sex trafficking of children. She was denied bail a month ago by Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of New York prior to the start of the trial, held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, because she was considered an “extreme flight risk.”

It took prosecutors approximately one year to arrest Maxwell after Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. As the ninth and youngest child of the British media baron Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell was born in France and was part of the financial elite. According to one report, she met Epstein sometime in the early 1990s at a New York City social gathering.

While Epstein brought his contacts from the Wall Street financial world to the relationship, Maxwell brought her connections among the European and global elite. According to many sources, the two developed a long list of prominent individuals from elite circles in politics, academia, business, law and royalty with whom they invited to lavish events at their residences in London, New York, Palm Beach, Paris, New Mexico and a private island owned by Epstein in the US Virgin Islands.

These social gatherings often involved sexual relations between his guests and underage teens, many of whom were working class girls from West Palm Beach who were recruited and groomed by Maxwell from Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion. Even though the sex trafficking ring was widely known within ruling circles and even within the criminal justice system, Epstein and Maxwell were repeatedly protected from prosecution.

In one instance in 2006, after 34 confirmed minors alleged sexual abuse in Palm Beach and a 53-page indictment was prepared by the FBI, US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Alex Acosta intervened and agreed to a “non-prosecution agreement” that allowed Epstein to plead guilty to a state charge of procuring for prostitution a girl under the age of 18. Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in prison and housed in the Palm Beach County Stockade where he was permitted to come and go as he pleased on a “work release” program.

As described in her testimony, Farmer’s sexual contact with Epstein and Maxwell were of a pattern with the descriptions of the other witnesses. In cross examination, Maxwell’s lawyer attempted to undermine Farmer’s credibility by pointing to specific details in her recollection that appeared to be inconsistent with previous public accounts of the experiences that took place twenty-five years ago.

The prosecution called two additional witnesses on Friday to substantiate Farmer’s accusations against Epstein and Maxwell. Farmer’s high school boyfriend, David Mulligan, said she had told him at the time about her encounters with the two adults. Farmer’s mother, Janice Swain, also confirmed her daughter’s recollection of the trips to New York and New Mexico. Swain said that when her daughter returned from Zorro Ranch in New Mexico, she was “withdrawn” and did not want to talk about what happened there.

In previous civil filings, Epstein and Maxwell were alleged to have sexually assaulted Annie Farmer’s sister Maria at the suburban Columbus, Ohio, compound of Victoria Secret CEO Les Wexner, one month after the episode in New Mexico.

Shortly after the prosecution rested, Maxwell’s lawyers made a motion to dismiss the indictment or direct an acquittal before the case goes to the jury, a routine move in criminal trials. After hearing arguments on the motion, Judge Nathan denied it and said the trial will resume Thursday with the defense presenting its case.