- The fourth and final accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell’s child-sex-trafficking trial took the stand Friday.
- Annie Farmer testified about Maxwell fondling her breasts during a visit to Epstein’s New Mexico ranch when she was 16.
- The government rested their case after Farmer’s mother and ex-boyfriend offered corroboration of her story.
The fourth and final accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell’s child-sex-trafficking trial told her story on Friday, testifying that Maxwell massaged her after instructing her to take off her top during a visit to Jeffrey Epstein’s vast New Mexico ranch in 1996.
The woman, Annie Farmer, is the only accuser in the trial to testify under her full name. Another, Carolyn, testified using her first name, and two other accusers testified earlier in the trial under the pseudonyms “Jane” and “Kate.”
Prosecutors rested their case Friday afternoon following Annie’s testimony. But before she took the stand, US District Judge Alison Nathan told the jury that Annie’s testimony should not be considered evidence of “illegal sexual activity” as prosecutors had alleged in the original indictment. Nathan gave similar instructions regarding Carolyn’s testimony earlier in the trial.
Farmer has told her story publicly before, to media outlets and in filings for civil lawsuits. She first met Epstein at the age of 16, when she flew from her home in Arizona to New York City to visit her older sister, Maria Farmer, at the end of 1995 and beginning of 1996. Maria Farmer, then 25 years old, lived in a 500-square-foot apartment in Manhattan’s West Village and had been hired by Epstein, then a wealthy financier, for art commissions.
In a journal entry Annie wrote before the trip, which was shown in the courtroom Friday, she said she hoped Epstein — who had expressed interest in giving children a good education — would help her get into colleges and obtain scholarships. Annie was a junior in high school at the time, and testified that money had been tight in her mother’s household after her parents got divorced.
Annie’s first meeting with Epstein was at his Upper East Side mansion, where she testified that Epstein asked about her college plans and recommended she travel internationally to help with college applications. Epstein then dispatched his driver to bring the Farmer sisters to the theater district for a performance of “Phantom of the Opera,” Annie said.
Annie had another interaction with Epstein on that trip. She, Maria, and Epstein all watched “12 Monkeys” at a movie theater. Maria and Annie were seated on either side of Epstein, Annie testified, and throughout the movie he caressed her hands, feet, and arms. Annie said she felt “sick to my stomach” over her interactions with Epstein.
In another journal entry shown in court, dated January 7, 1996, the same day Annie returned to Arizona, she expressed ambivalence about the movie-theater caresses. On the page, she wrote that although she was “weirded out” by Epstein’s touch, she didn’t want to jeopardize her sister’s employment and opted not to tell anyone about what happened. (Maria has leveled her own misconduct allegations against Epstein and his associates, but is not being called as a witness in Maxwell’s criminal trial.)
“I was trying to come up with excuses to make it seem OK,” Annie told the jury Friday.
Annie said Maxwell persuaded her to accept a topless massage
Annie didn’t meet Maxwell in New York. She testified that she met Maxwell on another trip in April 1996, after flying to Epstein’s massive Zorro ranch in New Mexico, which sprawls over thousands of acres. Epstein had spoken to Annie at least twice over the phone in the months since the New York trip, she testified, and appeared interested in helping her get into a good college.
Annie said she was nervous to go on the weekend-long trip, but felt calmed because she believed Maxwell would be at the ranch. She testified that she didn’t think Epstein would make advances on her because she thought Maxwell was his girlfriend. Later, when Annie’s mother, Janice Swain, was called to the stand to corroborate her daughter’s story, Swain said that Epstein had told her that his wife, Maxwell, would be chaperoning Annie on the trip.
When she got to the ranch, Annie learned that Epstein, Maxwell, and herself would be staying in the same house, she testified. She said they were the only ones there overnight, as Epstein’s ranch staffers slept in other buildings.
“It seemed unusual, seeing how I was a teenager,” she said Friday.
Annie, who is now a therapist, identified Maxwell for the jury by her light brown sweater. Maxwell, who has generally sat unmoving through witness testimony in the trial, appeared to visibly gulp in response, and later seemed to leer at Farmer.
Prosecutors have accused Maxwell of procuring girls for Epstein, grooming them for sexual abuse, participating in that sexual abuse, and lying about her actions in a deposition. They’ve said that Maxwell and Epstein often sexually abused girls through the guise of massages. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In New Mexico, Epstein and Maxwell took Annie to watch a movie, she testified. Annie said they watched “Primal Fear,” which involves a pedophile priest and the sexual abuse of an altar boy and a teenage girl.
The movie theater Maxwell and Epstein took Annie to was located in a mall, and she noted that Epstein and Maxwell behaved immaturely there. The two adults were joking around, and Maxwell at one point pulled Epstein’s pants down, which Annie testified that she found “odd.”
Annie said she had hoped watching the movie in New Mexico would be different than her outing with Epstein in New York, because Maxwell was around. But she testified that Epstein touched her throughout the film, grabbing her hand and caressing her arm and leg.
When they returned to the ranch after the movie, Maxwell told Annie to massage Epstein’s feet, and she testified that she complied even though she felt “uncomfortable.” Afterward, Annie said, Maxwell told her that she’d personally give Farmer a massage.
Maxwell set up a massage table in the bedroom where Annie was staying and told her to fully undress under a sheet on top of the table, Annie testified. Partway through the masssage, Maxwell told her to flip over and lie on her back, at which point Maxwell pulled down the sheet and touched her breasts, Annie said.
“When she pulled down the sheet, I was kind of frozen,” she testified. “I wanted so badly for the massage to end.”
Annie said she believed Maxwell left the door open during the massage, and that Epstein would be able to see her topless.
“He said he wanted to cuddle”
The morning after the massage, Annie said, Epstein “bounded into the room” as she woke up.
“He said he wanted to cuddle,” she testified. “So he got into bed with me.”
Epstein caressed Annie and put his arms around her, she said. Her voice cracking on the witness stand, Annie said she told Epstein that she needed to go to the bathroom and slipped out of bed. She said that, aware she was alone in a house with two people who were essentially strangers, she waited in the bathroom until Epstein was gone.
“I just wanted the week to be gone,” Annie said.
Maxwell’s and Epstein’s behavior towards Annie was part of a “pattern of them confusing my boundaries,” she told the jury. The pair made her question what she believed “was right or not right,” with the “ultimate goal of sexually abusing me,” she testified.
When she returned to Arizona after the New Mexico trip, Annie didn’t write anything about the weekend in her journal.
“I just really wanted to get it out of my mind,” Annie testified.
Her mother also testified that when she picked Annie up from the airport after the trip, her daughter was “very quiet” and “withdrawn.” Swain said she tried to talk to her daughter later about what happened on the trip, but Annie repeatedly said she didn’t want to get into it.
“She always said, ‘I’m just not going to let it ruin my life,'” Swain testified.
Annie said that she accepted funding from Epstein to go on a cultural service trip to Vietnam and Thailand that summer, which she thought would help with college applications. But she did not see Epstein or Maxwell at any point after accepting the funding, she testified.
She said she didn’t tell anyone about her experience in New Mexico until the fall, when she disclosed some information to a boyfriend, David Mulligan, who also took the witness stand Friday.
Mulligan told the court that Annie told him about what happened on the New Mexico trip after they started dating. Annie described Maxwell as a “very charming and pretty” person who greeted her and took her shopping, Mulligan said. But he said Maxwell’s massage left his former girlfriend feeling “fearful, awkward, and helpless.”
Annie told the jury that her experiences with Maxwell and Epstein were “very upsetting and confusing,” and that for a long time she “didn’t want to think about it,” but it kept “coming up again and again.”
“At a certain point, I felt compelled,” Annie said. “Because if I could help with accountability, or if these people could be stopped, it would be worth it in some way.”
“I’m here hoping Ghislaine Maxwell is held accountable for the harm she’s caused,” she added.
During her testimony, Annie talked about how she kept a pair of $100 cowboy boots Epstein purchased for her while she was shopping with Maxwell. In opening statements at the beginning of the trial, Maxwell’s attorney, Bobbi C. Sternheim, said the fact she kept the boots proved that Annie wasn’t “scarred by what happened.”
Annie said she shoved the boots into the back of her closet when she returned to Arizona, but dusted them off some years later and began wearing them.
“It was a dark memory. I had been taken advantage of,” she said, adding: “By using the boots, I was somehow changing that. Reclaiming it in some way.”