The prosecution rests in the trial for sexual abuse of Ghislaine Maxwell | national
By LARRY NEUMEISTER and TOM HAYS – Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) – Prosecutors finished presenting their case against Ghislaine Maxwell on Friday, after a key accuser in the British socialite’s sexual abuse trial said Maxwell and his companion, Jeffrey Epstein, imposed themselves on her when she was only 16 years old.
Annie Farmer told jurors she accepted an invitation to the financier’s sprawling ranch in New Mexico in 1996, hoping Maxwell and Epstein would help her with her academic endeavors. Instead, she said, Maxwell ended up massaging her breasts and Epstein went to bed without her permission.
Three others claimed during the trial which began two weeks ago that Maxwell recruited them to give Epstein massages that were supposed to be a ruse for sexual abuse.
Maxwell, 59, has denied charges of caring for underage girls for Epstein, who committed suicide in prison in 2019. Her lawyers say the government is making her a scapegoat for alleged sex crimes committed by her ex-boyfriend and immediately requested an acquittal judgment after prosecutors rested on Friday afternoon.
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The judge told the jury they would return on Thursday to hear defense arguments. The judge suggested that closing arguments – in a trial originally scheduled to last six weeks – could take place as early as December 20 if the defense presentation next week is only a day or two.
In her testimony, 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 of these experiences made me feel like they had a very different interest in me.”
When a prosecutor asked her at the start of her testimony if she had seen anyone in the courtroom who had given her a massage before, Farmer identified Maxwell, who was sitting at the defense table and looking at Farmer. .
Farmer, now 42, spoke up using her real identity – a departure from the decision of three other accusers with similar histories who testified under pseudonyms or first names only to protect their privacy.
Two of the other people who testified said they were only 14 when the abuse began and Maxwell occasionally participated in the meetings.
Farmer said she met Epstein at the age of 16 while traveling to New York City in 1996 to visit his older sister, who worked for him at his Manhattan mansion. When they visited her at home, he “seemed very friendly and down to earth,” and even offered to guide her, she said.
She said that during a movie trip with Epstein, he reached out to hold her hand and stroke her leg.
“I had a stomach ache,” she said. “It was not at all something I expected.”
When Farmer returned home, she kept in touch with the wealthy financier and accepted an invitation to travel to New Mexico with a plane ticket which he paid for even though, she said, “afterward. what happened in the movies, I didn’t want to be alone with him. “
She said she felt more comfortable at first because Maxwell was there. But when they took her to the movies, he “immediately started holding my hand” and rubbing her foot and arm throughout the movie with no effort to hide the behavior from Maxwell, did she declared.
Once home, Maxwell insisted on massaging Farmer and told him to undress, Farmer said. Maxwell “lowered the sheet and exposed my breasts and started rubbing on my breasts,” Farmer said.
“It didn’t make sense to me for this to happen,” she said. “I wanted so badly to get off the table and get a massage.”
Farmer accepted $ 1.5 million from a fund set up to compensate Epstein’s victims, she said.
The encounters were held in New Mexico, which did not have a specific law on the age of consent, although its laws criminalize any sexual contact of a minor under the age of 13 when coercion or force is involved. .
In cross-examination, a defense attorney repeatedly pointed out in his questions that Maxwell was not involved in the most egregious behavior described by Farmer and revealed that Farmer was not sure she was naked during her massage, even though she was sure her breasts were exposed.
The Associated Press does not identify people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly. Although Farmer was not identified by name in court documents, the practicing psychologist was candid in describing her experiences in interviews with ABC and The New York Times.
Maxwell has been in prison for she was arrested in New Hampshire in July 2020. When she applied for bail, Farmer asked the judge to reject her, calling her a “psychopath.”
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