Crime

‘I just need to get through this:’ Ghislaine Maxwell accuser testifies

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A fourth Ghislaine Maxwell accuser testified at the British socialite’s sex abuse trial on Friday, saying Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein both touched her at the late financier’s New Mexico ranch when the witness was 16.

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“I just need to get through this,” Annie Farmer recalled thinking to herself when Epstein crawled into her bed and pressed his body against her.

Farmer’s testimony comes as the prosecution has said it could rest its case by the end of the week. Maxwell, 59, faces eight counts of sex trafficking and other charges for her alleged role in recruiting and grooming four teenagers for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004.

The daughter of late British media baron Robert Maxwell has pleaded not guilty. Her attorneys say she is being scapegoated because Epstein is no longer alive. The financier killed himself at age 66 in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges.

Farmer, now 42, said she felt uncomfortable going to Epstein’s ranch because he had held her hand and caressed her in a movie theater during an earlier meeting in New York. But she testified that she didn’t believe Epstein would touch her at the ranch with Maxwell present.

She believed Epstein would help pay for her college education, Farmer said.

While at the ranch, Farmer agreed to receive a massage from Maxwell, who touched her breasts during the massage, Farmer said.

The door was open, and while she did not see Epstein during the encounter, she said she thought he was nearby.

“I just had this sense that he could see me,” Farmer said. “I just wanted so badly to get off the table and have this massage be done.”

Under cross-examination by Maxwell attorney Laura Menninger, Farmer confirmed several times that Maxwell had not been present during the teenager’s initial meeting with Epstein in New York.

Menninger also asked Farmer if her account of the New Mexico trip was a “reconstructed memory.” Farmer acknowledged that she had conducted internet searches and spoken with friends about other events that happened around the time of her trip to refresh her memory on exactly when the trip took place.

Maxwell’s attorneys have argued that the accusers’ memories have been corrupted in the decades since the alleged abuse occurs. They have also said the women have an incentive to cooperate with the government and implicate Maxwell because they received money from a compensation fund for Epstein’s victims.

Farmer received $1.5 million from the fund, she said under questioning from prosecutors.

Before Farmer’s testimony, jurors had heard from three women who said they were teenagers when Maxwell set them up for sexual abuse by Epstein. Those witnesses said Maxwell encouraged them to give Epstein massages that would escalate into sexual encounters.

Farmer, the only one of the four to testify under her full name, said she had no further contact with Epstein or Maxwell after the New Mexico trip.

US District Judge Alison Nathan instructed jurors that any physical contact Farmer had with Epstein was not “illegal sexual activity” under New Mexico’s laws. Nathan had given a similar instruction before the testimony of one of the other alleged victims, Kate.

She gave no such instruction before the testimonies of the two other women, Jane and Carolyn, who said they were 14 when Epstein began abusing them in Florida.

Read more:

Trial of Epstein associated Maxwell set to begin

Epstein’s former girlfriend Maxwell charged with sex trafficking a 14-year-old

Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell jailed in ‘degrading’ conditions, says brother

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