The highly anticipated testimony of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffry Epstein accuser Annie Farmer took place Friday morning in Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial in lower Manhattan. On the stand, she described inappropriate behavior from the powerful pair that she alleges took place when she was just 16, in 1996. The testimony was compelling but offered few details about Maxwell’s involvement in Epstein’s abuse of young girls.
Farmer, 42, with long blonde hair and glasses, wore a smart black-and-white checked blouse, her demeanor was calm and collected, and unlike previous witnesses, at no point did she appear even close to breaking down. She is the only accuser in the trial to use her actual full name.
Her account opened with a trip to New York City in 1995 to visit her sister, Maria Farmer, an aspiring painter and employee of Epstein. It was a trip allegedly paid for by the multi-millionaire.
During that trip, she described attending the movie “ Monkeys” with Epstein and her sister. During the film, Farmer claimed, “at some point he [Epstein] reaches over, starts to reach for my hand … interlocking his hand in mine.” She said she had her legs crossed and that Epstein “began rubbing my foot and leg.”
Farmer claims that she did not tell her sister about the incident, but she did write about it in a journal entry dated January 7th, 1996. In the journal she wrote, “It was one of those things that gave me a weird feeling, but it wasn’t that weird and was probably normal.”
The teenage Farmer went on to write in that entry that “I think he’s a relaxed guy who likes to flirt, or was being fatherly or something.”
She testified that during the trip, she and Epstein discussed her college plans and a potential summer trip abroad to beef up her resume. Epstein, she claimed, eventually paid for her journey to Thailand and Vietnam in July of that year.
The first substantial mention of Maxwell during the government’s direct examination of Farmer centered on a trip she took alone to Epstein’s New Mexico ranch in April of 1996.
There, she claims she went to another movie, “Primal Fear,” this time with Epstein and Maxwell, and went on to say that similar touching by Epstein occurred, “Right away he took my hand and started to caress it,” she said.
In a particularly creepy moment, Farmer testified that while she was at the ranch in New Mexico, “it was decided that I learn how to give Epstein a foot massage.” Maxwell was her tutor in this lesson, Farmer claimed, saying, “She [Maxwell] had one of his feet in her hands and instructed me to hold the other one and showed me how to rub it.” Of Epstein, she added, “He seemed to be enjoying it; he made groaning noises.”
This echoed testimony this week by another accuser, who went by “Jane,” who also said that Maxwell told her to massage Epstein’s feet, as well as photos put in evidence Tuesday of Maxwell herself giving him a foot massage on a private plane.
Farmer, in the most damning testimony regarding Maxwell, detailed an alleged massage given to her by the defendant while Farmer was naked. At one point during the massage, she alleged that “she [Maxwell] pulled down the sheet and exposed my breasts … started rubbing on my chest and upper breasts.” Farmer recalled that she “wanted so badly to get off that table” but also noted Maxwell did not touch her nipples.
Finally, Farmer said that while at the ranch, in bed in the morning, Epstein came in and “said he wanted to cuddle and so he climbed into bed with me,” adding that, “he pressed his body against me.”
On cross examination, defense attorney Laura Menninger focused, rather effectively, on just how little of Farmer’s account had anything to do with Maxwell. Farmer acknowledged that Maxwell had not even been present in New York during her trip there when she met Epstein.
Further, she never spoke to Maxwell before the New Mexico trip, offered no evidence that Maxwell had anything to do with arranging the trip, and admitted that Maxwell appears nowhere in the journal she kept at the time.
The next witness was David Mulligan, Farmer’s high school boyfriend. He testified that they began dating in the fall of 1996 and that Farmer had recounted to him the alleged abuse at the hands of Epstein and Maxwell in both New York and New Mexico.
This corroborated Farmer’s testimony, except for one detail. While Mulligan recalled that Epstein followed Farmer from the alleged massage with Maxwell into her room for the cuddle session, Farmer had said it happened as she was waking up in the morning.
The final witness was Farmer’s mother, Janice Swain. She testified that she gave permission for both the New York and New Mexico trips, as well as the summer abroad. But she also admitted that she never spoke with Maxwell, and all of her conversations were with Epstein himself.
And she also contradicted an important detail laid out by her daughter. Swain claimed that Maxwell had picked up Farmer from the airport in New Mexico; Farmer testified that it was a driver.
After Swain’s testimony, the government rested.
In some sense, Friday was a microcosm of the entire government case. The testimony made Epstein look absolutely awful, but connections to Maxwell were tenuous, few, and far between. Throughout the last two weeks, the prosecution has laid out a damning, open and shut case against the wealthy man with friends in high places, who took his own life, but against Maxwell, their case seems far shakier. And after all, it is Maxwell, not Epstein, who is on trial here.
Next week, court will not be in session Monday through Wednesday; on Thursday, the defense is scheduled to begin presenting its case.
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