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Annie Farmer, the Only Ghislaine Maxwell Accusing Witness to Go Public, Testifies Against Her in Sex Trafficking Trial

Annie Farmer

Lawyers David Boies (L) and Brad Edwards (R) speak to the press along with alleged victim Annie Farmer after a bail hearing in US financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking case on July 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)

Ghislaine Maxwell’s only alleged victim to identify herself to the press and in court documents under her real name told a federal jury on Thursday that Jeffrey Epstein abused her when she was 16 years old — with Maxwell’s help luring her to his ranch.

One of the two siblings described by the New York Times as “The Sisters Who First Tried to Take Down Jeffrey Epstein,” Annie Farmer testified that she was subjected to a topless massage in Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico in 1996.

“Can you see anyone in this courtroom who has ever given you a massage?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Elizabeth Pomerantz asked.

Farmer identified Maxwell in the courtroom.

“I Felt Sick to My Stomach”

Jeffrey Epstein stands in front of his Gulfstream

The government entered this photograph of Jeffrey Epstein standing in front of his Gulfstream airplane into evidence during his ex-pilot’s testimony during the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell. (Photo via DOJ)

The now-42-year-old witness also recounted Epstein taking her and her older sister Maria Farmer to see the play “Phantom of the Opera” and then a movie, where the younger sister said Epstein sat between the two siblings. Annie Farmer recalled Epstein first “caressed” her hand, before moving onto her arm, shoe, foot and leg.

“I felt sick to my stomach. It wasn’t something that I was at all expecting,” Farmer recounted.

An Ivy-educated psychologist, Annie Farmer stood out from Maxwell’s other accusing witnesses not only in her decision to testify under her real name. Other witnesses testifying under pseudonyms or their first name, like “Jane,” “Kate,” and Carolyn got audibly and visibly emotional on the witness stand and frustrated at questioning by Maxwell’s lawyers. Annie Farmer maintained poise and composure throughout hours of testimony, cross examination and redirect.

With professional poise, she inspected entries from her journal at the time. The first glossed over the movie theater and gave a rave review of the play.

“I bawled. It was fantastic,” a then-teenage Annie Farmer wrote, referring to the play.

Annie Farmer returned to the movie theater in a separate entry, writing that she wanted to add about “a couple of quick details about New York that I didn’t mention earlier.”

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

At one point, she wrote that Epstein “caressed, rubbed” her arm, shoe and foot. The journal entry played down the incident.

“I couldn’t tell anyone else because it is not a big deal and I didn’t want to portray him in a bad light. I really don’t think it is a big deal,” a teenage Annie Farmer wrote. “I think he is just a relaxed guy and likes to flirt or was being fatherly or something. I know this sounds like me trying to justify him doing something weird, but it isn’t.”

Reflecting on what she wrote now, Annie Farmer testified: “I was trying to come up with excuses or justifications in my mind to make it try to feel okay.”

“She Told Me to Get Undressed”

It was in New Mexico where Annie Farmer recalled first meeting with Maxwell.

“She was a trim, attractive woman,” Farmer said. “Well dressed, dark hair.”

She recalled Maxwell having dark hair, speaking a British accent, and being “well spoken” and “articulate.”

Recalling being less than eager to meeting with Epstein again after New York, Farmer testified that her mother told her Maxwell would be her, which made her feel more comfortable. Annie Farmer’s mother, Janice Swain, corroborated aspects of Farmer’s account later in the day. So did Farmer’s ex-boyfriend David Mulligan.

“I thought that they were romantic partners,” she said, adding that they appeared intimate with each other.

Then came another trip to the movies: Annie Farmer said that she, Maxwell and Epstein went to see “Primal Fear.”

“He right away tried to hold my hand and caress and hold my foot and my arm,” Annie Farmer said, referring to Epstein.

Back at Epstein’s ranch in Santa Fe, Annie Farmer said, Ghislaine Maxwell “instructed” her to massage Epstein’s feet. She says that Maxwell massaged one of Epstein’s feet and gave the other to her.

Ghislaine Maxwell appears to be giving Jeffrey Epstein a foot massage (2)

Photo courtesy DOJ

“I felt very uncomfortable,” Annie Farmer said, of the massage. “I wanted to stop, and I was hoping it’d be over quickly.”

Later, Annie Farmer said, Maxwell gave her a massage.

“What were you wearing during the massage?” the prosecutor asked.

“Nothing,” she replied.

Asked why she disrobed, Farmer said she she was following Maxwell’s direction: “She told me to get undressed.” (During cross-examination, Maxwell’s attorney Laura Menninger indicated that Farmer had previously told the New York Times that she had her underwear on at the time.)

Farmer told the jury that once she was lying on her back, Maxwell pulled the sheet down, exposed her breasts and touched them. She said that Epstein later went into her room and cuddled with her, and she recalled that though she didn’t say anything at the time, she did not want to cuddle with Epstein.

Well after her trip in the summer of 1996, Annie Farmer said, she recalled: “I told my mom I was not raped, and I didn’t want to talk about it.”

Annie Farmer said she also kept the cowboy boots that she says Epstein bought her on the trip, while Maxwell was present. The witness testified that she stuffed them in the back of her closet at first, before being questioned about them by federal agents and wearing them in order to “reclaim” them. Prosecutors have told jurors that Epstein and Maxwell sometimes gave their alleged victims presents in order to “groom” them for sexual abuse.

Maxwell’s attorney Menninger downplayed the allegations on cross-examination, eliciting testimony that Maxwell did not touch Farmer’s nipples. Annie Farmer agreed that Epstein did not touch her “private body parts,” nor did she touch his.

But Farmer rejected the suggestion by Maxwell’s attorney that she thought the conduct was not “sexualized.”

“I think this was all a pattern of them working on confusing my boundaries, making me question myself about what was right and what was not right and with the ultimate goal of sexually abusing me,” she said.

“To the Extreme Detriment of Maria and Annie”

Maria Farmer also alleged that Epstein and Maxwell abused her at Victoria’s Secret billionaire Les Wexner’s Ohio estate, on which Epstein owned a guest house, in an incident the elder Farmer says she reported to the New York City Police Department and the FBI.

Much of their story was previously public, including in a lawsuit filed in 2019.

“To the extreme detriment of Maria and Annie—and also countless other victims who came after them—authorities ignored Maria’s reporting efforts and took no action,” alleged their complaint, which latter reached a $1.5 million settlement.

During opening statements, Maxwell’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim contended that “nothing criminal” happened in New Mexico, a state where Farmer had reached the age of consent.

Citing the state’s law, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan announced before proceedings began on Wednesday that she would instruct the jury that the alleged conduct in New Mexico was “not ‘illegal sexual activity’” as charged in the government’s superseding indictment. She added, however, that Farmer is one of Maxwell’s alleged victims, as prosecutors claim that Maxwell lured her from jurisdictions where she was a minor.

That ruling was a more modest setback for the government than Judge Nathan’s ruling regarding “Kate,” a 17-year-old who had reached the age of consent.

“I instruct you that this witness is not a victim of the crimes charged of the indictment,” Judge Nathan told the jury of “Kate” on Monday.

“Kate” testified that Maxwell groomed her to provide Epstein with massages that escalated into sexual contact and asked her to get friends to provide Epstein with oral sex. Two other accusers have testified against Maxwell: the first, under the pseudonym “Jane,” and the second only known as Carolyn, her real name.

Maxwell’s lawyer Jeffrey Pagliuci disclosed “Jane” and Carolyn’s real names in court and was admonished by the judge the first time he did so. Law&Crime does not publish the names of those requesting privacy to describe allegations they they were sexually abused.

Prosecutors estimate that the government may rest its case as soon as Thursday. The defense will begin calling witnesses after, and proceedings will draw to a close with summations. If convicted, Maxwell faces what is a maximum term of 70 years imprisonment, effectively a life sentence for the 59-year-old.

The government rested its case after testimony by Farmer, her ex-boyfriend and her mother. Maxwell’s defense team unsuccessfully sought a motion for acquittal for all counts, which Judge Nathan promptly rejected. The defense’s case will begin on Thursday.

Update—Dec. 10 at 10:27 p.m.: This story has been updated to add details from the afternoon session.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."