During a trip to Jeffrey Epstein’s New Mexico ranch, Annie Farmer was frozen in fear.
It was spring of 1996, and Epstein and his alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, aged 43 and 35 respectively, had chosen to spend a weekend with a teenage girl—alone.
Farmer, then 16, says she agreed to let Maxwell give her a massage in the middle of what quickly was becoming a weekend in hell, and that the British socialite groped her breasts without warning. The next day, Epstein crawled into the girl’s bed and demanded to cuddle.
Farmer said she knew Epstein’s Zorro Ranch was isolated and she felt she couldn’t speak out or fight back; she didn’t feel safe. “I thought I just needed to get through this and I would be fine,” Farmer testified, tearing up on the stand.
Farmer is the fourth and final victim to take the stand in Manhattan federal prosecutors’ case against Maxwell. The 59-year-old heiress is on trial for grooming underage girls for Epstein, her former boyfriend, from 1994 to 2004, and of abusing them herself.
Throughout her testimony Friday morning, Farmer read aloud excerpts from her teenage diary and was questioned by a defense lawyer, Laura Menninger, who suggested her memories were “reconstructed.”
The government rested its case in the afternoon, after Farmer’s former boyfriend and mother testified in support of her accusations.
Farmer testified that Maxwell asked her if she’d ever had a professional massage before, and she answered no. “She said she wanted me to have this experience,” Farmer, now 42, testified, “and [that] she would be happy to give me a massage.”
According to Farmer, she and Maxwell went into a room with a massage table. The door was left open and Farmer believed Epstein could see what was happening. “She told me to get undressed,” said Farmer, who recalled then lying naked and face down under a white sheet.
Maxwell made small talk while rubbing the teen’s back and legs, Farmer testified, then instructed her to roll over and pulled the sheet down.
“Once she pulled down the sheet, I felt frozen,” Farmer testified, adding that she “wanted so badly to get off the table” and for the massage to be over.
The next morning as Farmer lay in bed, Epstein allegedly entered her room and announced he wanted to cuddle with her. Farmer testified that he wrapped his arms around her and pressed his body against hers.
She recalled thinking of an excuse to get out of Epstein’s creepy embrace: she went to the bathroom and closed the door. “I wanted to be in there long enough that this whole situation would be over,” Farmer told jurors.
Farmer and her older sister, Maria, have both come forward in recent years to say Epstein and Maxwell sexually assaulted them. (Maria, who was in her 20s when the couple allegedly abused her, is not expected to testify at Maxwell’s criminal trial.)
Now a therapist living in Texas, Farmer described how she met Epstein through Maria, who worked briefly for the perverted financier in New York in the 1990s.
Farmer testified that she and a younger sister lived with a single mom and money was hard to come by; she wasn’t able to visit Maria until Epstein bought her a plane ticket.
On her trip to the Big Apple, Epstein treated Maria and Annie to tickets to The Phantom of the Opera and asked Annie questions about her dreams for college. Annie said she hoped the wealthy man she knew as her sister’s boss could pay for her schooling.
In court, assistant U.S. attorney Lara Pomerantz showed the jury a photograph of the teenage Annie, followed by an image of the much-older Epstein.
Pomerantz asked Farmer about her first impressions of Epstein, and Farmer answered that he seemed “very friendly and down to earth.” The sisters visited Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, where he served them champagne before their jaunt to the theater.
Farmer said Epstein suggested she go to UCLA for college and that he had connections there, and that Epstein discussed funding an international summer trip that would look good on Farmer’s college applications.
Later during Farmer’s visit, Epstein took the sisters to see the movie 12 Monkeys and sat between them. “When the lights went down … at one point he reached over and caressed my hand and interlocked his hand in mine,” Farmer testified of Epstein. “I felt sick to my stomach. It was not something I was at all expecting.” Epstein also touched her leg but let go of her when speaking to Maria, as if to hide his conduct, she recalled.
Farmer said she didn’t tell anyone what happened at the time because she was confused, knew her sister would be upset and didn’t want her to lose her job.
In a January 1996 journal entry, Farmer described feeling conflicted about Epstein touching her hand and wrote that maybe he “likes to flirt or being fatherly.”
“I was very conflicted because I knew what happened in the movie theater wasn’t normal or right,” Farmer told the jury, adding that she was trying to come up with “justifications” for his behavior.
Farmer would reunite with Epstein months later in spring of 1996 in New Mexico. While Farmer couldn’t recall how the trip was planned, she testified that she didn’t want to be alone with Epstein because of the movie theater incident. She said she met Maxwell for the first time when she arrived at the ranch and her presence made her more “comfortable.”
“I imagined it would be different this time because Maxwell was there,” Farmer testified, adding that she and Epstein appeared to be “romantic” partners.
All the while, Farmer said, she experienced a confusing mess of emotions: She felt strange that a pair of adults wanted to spend time alone with her, yet she felt “special” that they gave her attention and took her on a shopping trip in town.
She said Epstein bought her an expensive pair of black cowboy boots during the excursion. She said she never wanted or needed the boots but was gracious about the gift.
Farmer also described how Epstein and Maxwell behaved like teenagers, with Maxwell playfully pulling down Epstein’s pants during a visit to a movie theater to see Primal Fear.
This time, Epstein sat between Maxwell and Farmer. “He right away began to hold my hand, caress it, rub on my foot and on my arm,” Farmer testified, adding that he didn’t hide his actions. “It was more blatant.”
When the trio returned to Epstein’s ranch, Maxwell directed Farmer to give Epstein a foot rub and instructed her on how to massage his bare feet. “I felt very uncomfortable,” Farmer testified. “I did not want to be touching his feet.”
Farmer testified that Epstein seemed to be enjoying the foot massage because he was groaning—an assertion Menninger seized on during cross examination. The lawyer suggested Farmer never told the government about the noises Epstein was making, and Farmer replied she didn’t remember being asked about it.
After the footrub, Farmer said, Maxwell invited her to the personal massage and groped her breasts.
Farmer told jurors that before she left New Mexico, she tried to engage Maxwell in conversation about an academic paper she was working on. But she realized Epstein and Maxwell weren’t interested in her future education. “They had a very different interest in me,” she said.
“She seemed very disinterested,” Farmer recalled. “She didn’t care.”
That summer, Epstein funded Farmer’s summer trip to Thailand and Vietnam, and she continued feeling guilty about her feelings about him. She said the summer tour was something she never could have afforded without his help, but that she was hoping never to be around Epstein and Maxwell again.
In its own line of questioning, the defense underscored how Farmer hadn’t spoken to or seen Maxwell outside of the New Mexico trip and hadn’t written about Maxwell or their alleged “massage” session in her teenage diary. Menninger worked to create distance between the socialite and Epstein, arguing that Maxwell played no role in arranging Farmer’s travel to New York and never called her mother nor offered to pay for her college education.
Indeed, Menninger noted that Farmer penned diary entries about her trip to New York and the movie theater incident but none about the weekend in New Mexico, making what occurred more difficult to remember.
The attorney also suggested some of Epstein and Maxwell’s conduct wasn’t actually sexual and repeatedly asked Farmer whether Epstein had an “erect penis” when he pressed into her during the unwanted cuddling at the ranch. Menninger pointed out that Maxwell didn’t touch Farmer’s nipples but rather her upper chest.
After Farmer testified, her high school boyfriend David Mulligan and her mother Janice Swain took the stand. Mulligan said Farmer confided in him about Maxwell’s alleged groping just months after it occurred. “She told me she felt fearful and awkward and helpless,” the former beau testified.
Meanwhile, Swain told jurors that Epstein called her and claimed he was planning a gathering for 20 to 25 academically gifted boys and girls in New Mexico, and that his “wife Ghislaine” would be there to chaperone the female students.
“I trusted it would be OK,” Swain said of the trip.
When Farmer got home, however, she was quiet and withdrawn. “She just didn’t want to discuss it,” Swain recalled, “and she would always say the same thing: ‘I’m not going to let it ruin my life.’”
After the government rested its case on Friday afternoon, defense lawyer Christian Everdell asked the judge to dismiss the charges against Maxwell, arguing the evidence against the beleaguered heiress was “insufficient.” Judge Alison Nathan denied his request.
The defense will begin presenting their case on Thursday.
Farmer has shared her story multiple times since spring of 2019.
In August 2019, she took the podium at a special hearing for victims of the sex-trafficker, who’d killed himself in jail weeks prior and avoided facing trial for molesting and raping countless underage girls.
The feds’ criminal case against Epstein was dead, but multiple victims appeared in court to have their final say on the financier's sex crimes—and to beg Manhattan federal prosecutors to continue their investigation into his teenage sex ring and go after his alleged accomplices.
“I had the opportunity to speak at Jeffrey Epstein’s bail hearing, and I really appreciate that you heard me and listened to me that day,” Farmer said that day. “I am so sorry that others will not have the opportunity to stand before him the way that I did.
“But I’m here today to speak on behalf of my sister, Maria Farmer, who could not be here. Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell not only assaulted her, but as we’re hearing from so many of these brave women here today, they stole her dreams and her livelihood.”
Maria, a student at the New York Academy of Art, met Epstein and Maxwell in 1995 after the money-manager bought one of her paintings at her thesis show.
Soon after this, Epstein hired her to man the door at his Manhattan mansion.
In April 2019, Maria came forward to say she witnessed girls in school uniforms visit the eight-story townhouse. “When I asked Maxwell why these young girls were coming over to the house so often she said that the girls were interviewing for modeling positions,” Maria stated in an affidavit. “At the time, based on my observations at the home, it did not seem credible to me that these young girls were interviewing for modeling positions.”
The following summer, Maria alleged, Maxwell and Epstein sexually assaulted her at the Ohio estate of Victoria’s Secret mogul Les Wexner, who for decades was Epstein’s only known client and had a mysterious relationship with the financier.
“They asked me to come into a bedroom with them and then proceeded to sexually assault me against my will,” Maria said in a legal filing. “I fled the room and called the sheriff’s office but did not get any response.”
Maria says that when she returned to New York, she went to a police precinct to report the couple but cops told her to contact the FBI instead. According to Maria, the FBI never followed up on her complaint.
Years later, the Farmer sisters shared their story with Vanity Fair scribe Vicky Ward for her 2003 profile on Epstein.
But their accusations ultimately were cut from Ward's story—an incident that stings the family nearly 20 years later.
“She risked her safety in 1996, so many years ago, to report them, to no avail, and it is heartbreaking to her and to me that all this destruction has been wrought since that time,” Annie said at the 2019 victims hearing.
“But it is extremely important, as others are saying, that he did not act alone and that the other people that were a part of what he did are held accountable.”
Three other accusers testified in the government’s case against Maxwell since the trial began Nov. 29. Two were identified using pseudonyms, while one used her first name.
“Jane,” the first to take the stand, said she was 14 when Maxwell and Epstein recruited her into their trafficking scheme in 1994. At the time, Jane was a student at Interlochen’s summer camp in Michigan. She said the couple abused her in New York and Florida for years.
A second accuser known as “Kate” testified that she was 17 when Maxwell encouraged her to give Epstein sexualized “massages” at the socialite’s London townhouse in 1994. Maxwell directed her to put on a schoolgirl uniform and serve Epstein tea in Palm Beach.
“Carolyn,” a Florida victim, claimed that Maxwell scheduled her “massage” appointments for Epstein and groped her body as she set up a massage table. She was only 14 when Epstein began abusing her in 2001.
During emotional testimony on Tuesday, Carolyn said: “The only thing Ms. Maxwell was involved in was fondling and touching my breasts and my buttocks, and for that, my soul is broken and so is my heart.”