Ghislaine Maxwell accuser says she felt ‘frozen’ while being groped by socialite during massage at Epstein ranch aged 16

Annie Farmer says she was lured with promises of paying for her college but then sexually assaulted

Bevan Hurley
Thurgood Marshall US Courthouse, New York
Friday 10 December 2021 22:28 GMT
Ghislaine Maxwell accuser left Epstein’s home with $100 bills, says ex-boyfriend

Ghislaine Maxwell groped a 16-year-old’s breasts during a sexualised massage at Jeffrey Epstein’s New Mexico ranch, a jury heard on Friday.

Annie Farmer, the only accuser to testify under her real name, alleged she was pressured to accept a massage from Ms Maxwell and was also subjected to unwanted sexual touching by Epstein while staying at the sprawling Santa Fe property.

The pair lured her to come alone by feigning interest in her studies and on the promise of funding her college fees, and lavished expensive gifts of tickets to Broadway shows, international flights and cowboy boots, she said.

Ms Maxwell faces six charges: one each of enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in illegal sex acts, sex trafficking of a minor, and three counts of conspiracy related to the other counts.

She has denied all the charges. Epstein died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial.

Taking the witness box a day later than had been scheduled after a prosecution attorney fell ill on Thursday, Ms Farmer described a trip to New York in late 1995 to visit her sister Maria and meet her boss, Epstein.

“She had said that Epstein was interested in possibly helping me with my education and this was one of the reasons that he was purchasing the ticket,” Ms Farmer said.

Under questioning from prosecutor Lara Pomerantz, she described visiting Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, him buying her tickets to see Phantom of the Opera, and being impressed with how “down to earth” he was.

But during a trip to the movies, she said she became anxious and nervous after Epstein began caressing her arms and rubbing her feet and legs.

Reading from a journal she wrote at the time, Ms Farmer said she was conflicted about how to feel about the encounter, and tried to brush it off as she didn’t want to upset her sister.

In April 1996, Epstein invited Ms Farmer to his “Zorro” ranch near Santa Fe claiming he wanted to pay for her college study and future overseas travel, she said.

Ms Farmer said she still felt awkward towards Epstein but was comforted by the fact Ms Maxwell would also be there.

They took her shopping for cowboy boots and and to see the movie Primal Fear, and Ms Farmer said Epstein touched her without her consent throughout the movie.

When they returned to the ranch, she said Ms Maxwell began showing her how to massage Epstein’s feet.

Ms Maxwell encouraged her to accept a massage, and took her into a room where a massage table was set up and told her to take off her clothes.

“She pulled the sheet down and exposed my breasts and started rubbing on my breasts,” Ms Farmer told the jury.

“Once she pulled down the sheet I felt kind of frozen. It didn’t make sense to me that that would happen.

“I so badly wanted to get off the table and have the massage be done.”

Ms Farmer, now 42, said the door was open and she was fearful that Epstein was nearby.

The next morning she said Epstein “bounded” into her room and got into bed next to her and asked if she wanted to cuddle.

She said Epstein pressed up against her, and she again felt “kind of frozen”.

She said she got up to go to the bathroom and closed the door behind her, and waited until Epstein left.

That day Ms Maxwell appeared disinterested in talking about her academic studies, she testified.

She said she had been left emotionally scarred by the experience, and hadn’t written anything about the New Mexico trip into her journal.

She sued Ms Maxwell and Epstein in 2019, and received $1.5m from a victim compensation fund set up by Epstein’s estate after his death, she said.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (US District Attorney’s Office)

During cross examination from defence attorney Laura Menninger, Ms Farmer was asked if it was harder to remember what had taken place in New Mexico because she hadn’t written about it in her journal.

Ms Menninger also asked about alleged inconsistencies between Ms Farmer’s direct evidence and what she had said in interviews with media outlets and with the government.

Ms Farmer was also asked if telling her story of abuse publicly had helped her credibility as a psychologist.

Ms Farmer’s former boyfriend David Muligan, 42, testified that she had told him about being massaged by Ms Maxwell and Epstein getting into bed with her.

Her mother Janice Swain also testified late on Friday afternoon that she had spoken to Epstein by telephone about the New Mexico trip and had been told there would be 25-30 gifted students attending.

She said after her daughter returned to Phoenix after the weekend, she was tired and withdrawn, and didn’t want to talk about what had happened.

“She was always evasive and just didn’t want to discuss it,” Ms Swain said.

After the prosecution rested its case, defence counsel Christian Everdell made a motion to dismiss all six counts against Ms Maxwell.

The motion was denied by Judge Alison Nathan.

The defence will open its case when the trial resumes on Thursday.

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