When Maxwell pressured journalist to drop ‘horrible’ abuse claims: Reporter releases full transcript of 2002 clash with furious socialite over allegations she gave victim, 16, a topless massage
Ghislaine Maxwell tried to force a journalist to drop her investigation into her paedophile boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein after she unearthed claims she had groped a 16-year-old girl’s breasts, it was revealed today.
The now 60-year-old told Vicky Ward in 2002 that claims by Annie Farmer, one of the brave victims who helped convict her, were all lies.
Annie told how she ‘froze’ as the British socialite massaged her breasts as she lay naked – and said Epstein later climbed into her bed with no clothes on for ‘a cuddle’ when she was 16 and staying on the billionaire abuser’s New Mexico ranch.
Maxwell told the journalist, a fellow Briton, that Miss Farmer’s claims were ‘so outrageous and disgusting to me that I cannot understand for the life of me why you would put something like that in’ a story for Vanity Fair, published in 2003.
Ms Ward said that Maxwell had ‘called me’ and was ‘completely furious’ with her after she spoke to Annie Farmer and her sister Maria – and today released a transcript of their conversation.
Maxwell said at the time: ‘Vicky, it is so repellent and disgusting to me and so thoroughly and absolutely untrue, in every respect, in every which way. That it is beyond even I just can’t even think how to respond to something so horrible. The implication is thoroughly outrageous. Thoroughly untrue. And in every which way disgusting. And I cannot be party to anything like that. These are two girls that benefited greatly from Jeffrey’s generosity, and absolutely nothing untoward in any way happened’.
Vicky Ward confronted Ghislaine Maxwell with allegations that she and Jeffrey Epstein (pictured together at Balmoral) abused a 16-year-old girl and Maxwell tried to pressure her to stop the story, which turned out to be true
Ms Ward (left) had interviewed Annie Farmer (right) while working on a feature on Epstein for Vanity Fair
When Ms Ward said it was ‘her job’ to let the girls have their say, including airing allegations Maxwell was involved, she replied: I can guarantee that I didn’t give her a massage’.
Annie Farmer (pictured as a young girl) says she was introduced to Epstein and Maxwell when she was 16
She added: ‘Why do you say this? Some kid who just says she came to the ranch that I gave a massage to… It’s wrong. Okay? It is wrong! I don’t like the implication of what you’re saying either, for the record. At all. I don’t like it at all. Disgusting’.
On Wednesday Maxwell was convicted of child sec trafficking, including charges related to Annie Farmer.
Now 42, the psychotherapist gave ‘predator’ Maxwell a prolonged, cold stare as she entered the courtroom to give evidence.
Miss Farmer said she had accepted an invitation to stay with Epstein and Maxwell at his sprawling home in New Mexico believing he wanted to help her with her studies.
But the paedophile financier and his alleged madam had a ‘very different interest in me’, she told the court.
Miss Farmer is the only accuser in Maxwell’s trial to have waived her anonymity. In a black and white patterned top, black trousers and shoulder-length blonde hair, she spoke in a firm, clear voice during her hours on the witness stand.
Despite an earlier encounter with Epstein in which he felt her leg during a cinema trip in New York, Miss Farmer travelled to Epstein’s ranch in spring 1996, supposedly for the ‘philanthropist’ financier to discuss funding her education.
At the time, she told the court yesterday, she understood that Maxwell and Epstein were in a ‘romantic relationship’ so Epstein ‘couldn’t do anything while they were together’. ‘Trim, attractive’ Maxwell and Epstein were ‘very intimate with each other, touching each other,’ she added.
Miss Farmer said that it seemed ‘unusual’ that a 16-year-old would be on the ranch alone with them, apart from staff, but she felt ‘special’ that they wanted to spend time with her.
They took her shopping for hair cream and ‘black, leather, pointy cowboy boots’, worth more than $100, before allegedly forcing themselves on her.
At the Zorro ranch, a sprawling 10,000 acre property currently on the market for £20m, Miss Farmer said Maxwell showed her how to massage Epstein’s feet, then persuaded her to have a massage herself in her bedroom.
Uncomfortable, but alone and miles from home, Miss Farmer obeyed Maxwell’s instructions to completely strip off, she said.
‘She said “get undressed and lie under the sheet”,’ the witness told the court. ‘I did, and then she started rubbing my body and rubbing my back and my legs, and while she’s doing this she is making small talk.
‘Then at some point, she made me roll over and lie on my back. She pulled the sheet down and exposed my breasts and started rubbing my upper chest and breasts.
‘I was frozen. I so badly wanted to have this massage done. The door was open and I had a sense that Epstein could see me.’
Vicky Ward’s article in 2002 helped jail Epstein, and she described her friendship with Maxwell.
She said: ‘I like her. Most people in New York do. It’s almost impossible not to.
‘She is always the most interesting, the most vivacious, the most unusual person in any room. Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else’s I can think of.’
Farmer testified that she was introduced to Epstein by her older sister, Maria Farmer, in New York in 1995. Maria thought Epstein could help Farmer with her college search (Pictured: A courtroom sketch on Annie Farmer dated Dec. 10)
In her podcast ‘Chasing Ghislaine’, she claimed that during the early 1990s Maxwell had an ‘almost a manic relationship’ with being ‘naughty’.
According to Ward she ‘talked about sex in all sorts of inappropriate venues – and she behaved scandalously’.
She said earlier this year: ‘Ghislaine Maxwell and I crossed paths soon after I moved to New York in 1997.
Though she was a few years older than me, we were both English, Oxbridge-educated and would sometimes be invited to the same parties. She was pin-thin, expensively dressed, funny, fun, clever, worldly and the effortless centre of attention.
Annie Farmer (pictured on GMA Thursday), one of the four accusers who testified against Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, said she felt ‘tremendous relief’ after the jury convicted the socialite of charges related to the abuse and sex trafficking of underage girls
‘She talked about sex a lot — and she liked to behave outrageously. During one Manhattan dinner I heard about, she told a British movie star to lie face-down on the floor; she jumped on his back and gave him a massage right there on the ground in front of everyone. Even as people laughed, one observer wondered if what she was doing was not inappropriate.
‘Usually, she was by herself. I had no idea whether or not she had a boyfriend.
But then, in the autumn of 2002, I was assigned to write an article for Vanity Fair magazine about an intriguing and very rich man called Jeffrey Epstein. I soon discovered that Ghislaine had had a complicated relationship with Epstein for over a decade.
‘They didn’t live together, I was told. Some sources claimed she worked for him — although Epstein later denied this. He insisted they were not romantically involved, instead telling me she was his best friend’.
It then became clear that Maxwell and Epstein had been lovers.
She went on: ‘What struck me as strange was that at the start of my reporting I’d bumped into Ghislaine at a friend’s baby shower: and when I mentioned I was writing the article, she started to cry.
‘At the time I put it down to how unequal their relationship seemed. I’d heard she loved him and he did not love her back.
‘She wanted to marry him and have children, sources told me — though she had insisted otherwise. Meanwhile, he wanted to stay single and sleep with (many) other women, which he certainly did.
‘And Ghislaine, according to the sources, put up with this — they presumed because Epstein could provide her with the same lavish lifestyle she’d grown up with as the daughter of the late and crooked media mogul Robert Maxwell’.
Journalist Ed Epstein – no relation to Jeffrey – saw this firsthand at a wedding in 1991 at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s private club in Florida.
Edward Epstein says: ‘She didn’t show up during dinner. She showed up for dessert, just as we’re finishing dessert, she showed up and of course, she needed an excuse.
‘And she said, ‘look’, to the whole table, not to me, she announced, she said: ‘You know, I was just having the greatest sex of my life and I’ve never had such great sex, so please forgive me’. And everyone laughed’.
Ward claims that during another incident in New York around the same time, a friend told her he had seen Maxwell ‘mid-dinner party, leap up from the table and push the movie star Hugh Grant to the floor to give him a massage’.
Ward says: ‘It seemed amusing, a bit outrageous maybe; but her friends told me that they began to wonder if Ghislaine was over-compensating; overcompensating for a private suffering that possibly had to do with rejection by Jeffrey’.
Ward reported on the Epstein case for nearly two decades, first for Vanity Fair and now in her role as a CNN journalist.
She wrote a profile of Epstein for Vanity Fair in 2003 but the details of his alleged abuse of two young sisters was left out after Epstein contacted her editor, Graydon Carter, she claims.
According to ‘Chasing Ghislaine’, during the 2000s Maxwell was trying to escape the ‘sick partnership’ she had built with Epstein, who she dated during the early 1990s and abused underage girls with.
Today Maxwell is facing the rest of her life behind bars.