Prosecutors Rest Case Against Ghislaine Maxwell After Accuser Annie Farmer Takes Stand

The prosecution in Ghislaine Maxwell's trial concluded its case with testimony from Annie Farmer, who told the jury Friday that Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein forced themselves on her when she was 16 years old.

Farmer, now 42, is the only one of the four accusers to use her real full name. Her testimony capped off the second week of the trial. The 59-year-old Maxwell is charged with grooming and trafficking underage girls to have sex with Epstein.

Farmer told the court she met Epstein on a 1996 trip to New York City to visit her sister, who was working for the billionaire. After meeting him, the two went to a movie together, where she recounted feeling sick to her stomach as he caressed her leg and held her hand.

Later that year, Farmer accepted a plane ticket from Epstein to travel to his New Mexico ranch, being under the impression that he and Maxwell were going to help her with her academic goals.

Farmer didn't want to be alone with Epstein after the movie theater incident. She said she felt more comfortable having Maxwell there until Maxwell insisted on giving her a "massage," which, she said, ended up being an excuse to fondle her breasts.

"It didn't make sense to me that would happen," Farmer said. "I so badly wanted to get off the table and have the massage be done."

The judge said the jury will return Thursday December 16 to hear the defense case, adding that closing arguments could take place as early as December 20 depending on how long the defense case lasts.

Annie Farmer, Ghislaine Maxwell, trial
The prosecution in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial rested its case Friday. The jury will return on Thursday to hear the defense case. Above, in this courtroom sketch, Annie Farmer testifies on the witness stand during Friday, Dec. 10, in New York. Elizabeth Williams via AP

Farmer recalled the unwanted physical contact making her feel like she "just wanted the weekend to be over.… I wanted to be done with it."

She added: "All these experiences made me feel like they had a very different interest in me."

Asked by a prosecutor at the start of her testimony if she saw anyone in the courtroom who had ever given her a massage, Farmer identified Maxwell, who was sitting at the defense table.

The three others claimed Maxwell recruited them to give Epstein massages meant as a ruse for sexually abusing teens. Two said they were just 14 when the abuse started and that Maxwell sometimes participated in the encounters.

Maxwell has denied charges she groomed underage girls for Epstein, who killed himself in jail in 2019. Her lawyers say the government is making her a scapegoat for alleged sex crimes committed by her onetime boyfriend.

Farmer said after she arrived at the ranch, Maxwell and Epstein took her to the movies, and Epstein "right away began to hold my hand" and rub her foot and arm throughout the film.

Once home, Maxwell insisted on giving Farmer a massage and told her to take off her clothes, Farmer testified. Maxwell "pulled down the sheet and exposed my breasts and starting rubbing on my breasts," Farmer said.

The next morning, she said, Epstein came into her bedroom and told her he wanted to cuddle. After he climbed into bed, she froze, thinking: I just have to get through this.

He pressed his body against her, she said.

She finally made up an excuse to go to the bathroom: "I wanted to be in there long enough that this situation would be over," she said.

Farmer accepted $1.5 million from a fund set up to compensate Epstein victims, she testified.

The encounters occurred in New Mexico, which did not have a specific age of consent statute, although its laws criminalized all sexual contact of a minor under the age of 13 when coercion or force is involved.

On cross examination, a defense lawyer repeatedly emphasized through her questions that Maxwell was not involved in the most egregious behavior described by Farmer and elicited that Farmer was not sure she was naked during her massage, although she was certain that her breasts were exposed.

The Associated Press does not identify people who say they were victims of sexual abuse unless they come forward publicly. Although Farmer was not identified by name in court documents, she has been outspoken in describing her experiences in interviews with ABC and The New York Times. When Maxwell sought bail, Farmer asked the judge to deny it, calling her a "psychopath."

Maxwell has been jailed since she was arrested in New Hampshire in July of the following year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Update 12/10/2021 5:13 p.m.: This story was updated to reflected that the prosecution has rested its case and to include further information about Farmer's testimony.

Ghislaine Maxwell, trial, sketch
Annie Farmer testified Friday that Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein inappropriately touched her when she was 16. Above, this courtroom sketch shows Maxwell, left, conferring with her defense attorney Bobbi Sternheim before the start of her sex abuse trial on December 9 in New York. Elizabeth Williams/AP Photo