The US government has rested its case against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in her sex-trafficking trial.
The 59-year-old, who was labelled “dangerous” and a “predator” by the prosecution, is accused of luring vulnerable young girls to massage rooms to be molested by Jeffrey Epstein between 1994 and 2004.
Over the course of two weeks, the US government has alleged Maxwell summoned a 14-year-old girl to an orgy, groped another teenager and laid a schoolgirl outfit out for a third accuser before a sexualised massage with Epstein because she “thought it would be fun”.
On Friday, the court heard that Maxwell told the final alleged victim to undress for a massage and left her “frozen” after rubbing her breasts.
Annie Farmer, who is the only one of four accusers to give evidence under her full name, told jurors the British socialite encouraged her to have a massage after teaching her how to rub Epstein’s feet at the age of 16.
Ms Farmer told the federal court in the Southern District of New York that Epstein had “caressed” her hand at the cinema and got into bed with her at his ranch in New Mexico because he “wanted a cuddle”.
The witness, who now works as a therapist, told the court that before her first meeting with Epstein, the disgraced financier had bought a plane ticket for her to visit her sister Maria in New York in December 1995, when she was 16.
Asked by US assistant attorney Lara Pomerantz what her sister had told her about Epstein, who was Maria’s employer at the time, Ms Farmer said: “She had said that Epstein was interested in the possibility of helping me with my education.”
“Did there come a time when you met Epstein on that trip?”
“How many times did you meet Epstein on that trip?”
“Two different occasions that I recall.”
Ms Farmer said the second time she met Epstein was before a trip to the cinema.
“I sat next to Epstein… (my sister) was seated on his other side.”
Asked what happened next, she said: “The lights went down and at some point he reaches over and puts his hand on the arm rest in the seat and starts to reach for my hand and starts caressing my hand.
“He was holding my hand and interlocking his hand with mine.
“He was rubbing the bottom of my shoe and rubbing the bottom of my foot and my leg.
“I was very surprised and very nervous.
“I felt sick to my stomach. It wasn’t something I was at all expecting and I noticed that when he would interact with my sister he would stop doing what he was doing.”
Ms Farmer said once his interactions with her sister had finished, he would “return to touching” her.
Asked why she had not told her sister about the incident, the witness said: “I was very confused about what had happened and I knew that she was very protective, and if he had done something to make me uncomfortable… he was her boss, she might lose her job and it would be bad for her.”
Jurors were shown two extracts from Ms Farmer’s journal from January 1996 in which she spoke about the trip to New York.
In the second entry, she described the experience at the cinema as “a little weird” and wrote that Epstein had “put his hand out for me to hold”.
Ms Farmer told the court Epstein paid for a commercial flight for her to go to his ranch in New Mexico in spring 1996.
She told jurors she was “not eager to go” but had been told Maxwell would be there, which made her feel “more comfortable” because she did not want to be alone with Epstein.
“It seemed unusual in a way but… it made me feel special that they wanted to spend this time with me,” Ms Farmer said.
She told the court she went shopping with Epstein and Maxwell and was bought cowboy boots worth more than 100 dollars.
Ms Farmer also recalled going to the cinema with Maxwell and Epstein.
Asked if she wanted to go, she said: “No, because of what happened in New York that was not something I was eager to do, but I thought it would be different this time because Maxwell was there.”
Questioned on what happened at the cinema, Ms Farmer said: “Epstein and Maxwell were being playful with each other.
“Maxwell went to pull Epstein’s pants down at some point which seemed odd because… they were adults.”
The witness added: “It was very similar to the first time that I went to the movies with Epstein.
“He right away began to hold my hand and caress it and rub on my foot and on my arm.
“I would say it was very similar but I would say it was more blatant – he wasn’t stopping.”
Recalling what happened when they returned to the ranch, Ms Farmer said: “We were back at the residence and it was decided that I would give Epstein a foot massage.
“Maxwell wanted to show me how to rub his foot because that was something she thought I should learn how to do.
“I felt very uncomfortable – I didn’t want to be touching his foot. I wanted to stop and I was hoping it would be over quickly.”
Asked what happened next, Ms Farmer continued: “(Maxwell) asked me if I had ever had a professional massage and talked about what a lovely experience it was.
“She wanted me to have that experience and she would be happy to give me a massage and encouraged me to say yes.”
Ms Pomerantz asked: “Did Maxwell give you a massage?”
“Yes. She set up a table in the room where I was staying. It was a standard massage table that was portable, can be extended and has a pattern on top.”
“What were you wearing?”
“Why were you wearing nothing?”
“She told me to get undressed.”
“What happened during the massage?”
“She started rubbing my body and rubbing my back and my legs and she’s making small talk, and at some point during the massage she had me roll over so I was lying on my back.
“She pulled my sheet down and exposed my chest and rubbed my chest and my upper breasts.
“When she pulled down the sheet I felt kind of frozen as it didn’t make sense to me that that would happen.
“I was surprised. I wanted so badly to get off the table and have this massage be done.
“I was fearful… I had this sense that Epstein could see me.”
Asked if there were any other things she remembered from the trip to New Mexico, Ms Farmer said: “The other memory I have is being in bed in the morning and suddenly Epstein opened my door in this playful way and said he wanted to cuddle, and climbed into bed with me and reached his arms around me and pressed his body into me.”
She said she made an excuse to go to the bathroom, adding: “I wanted to be in there long enough that hopefully this whole situation would be over.”
Ms Farmer added: “I just wanted the weekend to be over.
“I thought I had been brought there for one set of reasons – I thought they were both interested in me as a student and all these experiences made me feel they had very different interests in me and I was disoriented and I wanted to be done with it.”
“Do you remember Maxwell touching your breasts?”
“Do you need a journal or a piece of paper to remember Maxwell touching your breasts?”
“No I do not. It was a very distressing encounter and these are things you remember.”
Under cross-examination from defence counsel Laura Menninger, Ms Farmer told the court it was “not correct” to say the massage was not intended to be sexual.
Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex-trafficking charges.
The death was ruled a suicide.
Maxwell, who has been held in a US jail since her arrest in July last year, denies all charges.
The defence case is expected to begin on Thursday.