On Thursday, the state’s final alleged victim of Ghislaine Maxwell’s and Jeffrey Epsteins, Annie Farmer, was expected to testify. Farmer is the only accuser appearing under her true first and last name during the trial, and has said Maxwell sexually abused her at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch when she was 16. Instead, the jury got let out early due to a prosecutor’s illness.
The prosecution began the day around 9:45 am with prosecutor Andrew Rohrbach calling FedEx paralegal Tracy Chapell to review invoices from Epstein’s account. The records showed Epstein — and in one instance, Epstein and Sarah Kellen — had in 2002 mailed packages from Epstein’s New York office to the address of the alleged victim with the first name Carolyn in West Palm Beach. This appeared intended to corroborate Carolyn’s claim that she had received lingerie and other gifts from Maxwell and Epstein.
The defense focused on the records of packages Maxwell had sent, which appeared on the same documents. Maxwell was listed as the sender on packages sent to billionaire Ron Gurkle and computer scientist Danny Hillis, among others. Defense lawyer Christian Everdell prompted the witness to check that nowhere on the invoices the government had provided was Maxwell recorded sending packages to anyone named Carolyn. Chapell acknowledged this was true. He also introduced into evidence a stack of what Chapell estimated were 50 additional FedEx invoices of what Everdell described as “hundreds” of invoices the defense team had sent Chapell to verify. Everdell did not get into further questions about the additional invoices as part of the cross-examination.
After that, the jury took a mid-morning break while the judge and lawyers had a sidebar. The judge spoke around 10:30 am. “I’ve been informed that there’s an attorney in the case who is ill,” Judge Alison Nathan said, adding that there was no reason to believe it was Covid-19. She conveyed that this lawyer was needed for the trial to continue, but that they had to be treated for the illness today.
Supporters of sexual assault survivors have expressed solidarity with Farmer on social media. Some pointed out that suddenly having to delay painful testimony in a high-profile trial could further traumatize the alleged victim.
The trial, which began Nov. 29 and was originally anticipated to take six weeks, is moving more quickly than expected. When court began Thursday morning, the prosecution was expected to rest its case by the end of the week, with the defense taking over the following Thursday, Dec. 16th, following a break scheduled in advance by Judge Nathan. On Thursday, she told jurors to return, as scheduled, Friday morning.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges that she helped procure underage girls for Epstein to abuse. If convicted, she could spend the rest of her life in prison.