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Manhattan prosecutors finished presenting their case Thursday against Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of recruiting and grooming teen girls to be abused by her and the late financier, Jeffrey Epstein.
More than 20 witnesses took the stand over the course of 10 days. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan told jurors to return Thursday to hear the defense case.
In this courtroom sketch, Annie Farmer testifies on the witness stand during the Ghislaine Maxwell sex abuse trial, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in New York. A photo of Maxwell appears on a screen at foreground.(Elizabeth Williams via AP)
(Elizabeth Williams via AP)
The British socialite’s trial, originally projected to last six weeks, might wrap up as early as late December, depending on the length of the defense’s presentation.
Earlier Friday, jurors heard from a fourth accuser, Annie Farmer, who said that she was invited to spend a week at Epstein’s sprawling ranch in New Mexico in the mid-90s under the guise of attending an event for college-bound students.
During the trip, she said Maxwell, now 59, bought her a pair of black cowboy boots and taught her how to give Epstein a foot massage as the child-loving millionaire made “groaning noises.”
On another day, Maxwell gave Farmer, then 16, a massage, allegedly groping her, according to testimony.
“She pulled the sheet down and exposed my breasts and started rubbing on my chest and on my upper breasts,” Farmer said.
The next morning, Epstein allegedly crawled into the victim’s bed to cuddle with her, prompting her to flee to the bathroom.
Jurors cannot convict Maxwell for the sexual encounter with Farmer who was of legal age in New Mexico at the time.
During cross-examination, defense lawyer Laura Menninger grilled Farmer on inconsistencies between her courtroom testimony and an interview she gave to a newspaper in 2019.
She told jurors she was naked during Maxwell’s massage, while she allegedly told the newspaper she had some clothing on during the rubdown.
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Farmer was the fourth accuser to take the stand. Maxwell is charged with six counts related –including sex trafficking and enticement of a minor for which she faces up to 70 years in prison. She has denied the allegations. The alleged misconduct occurred between 1994 and 2004.
Epstein, 66, died by suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex crimes charges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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