Charge That Maxwell ‘Groomed’ Girls for Epstein Is Central to Case

Annie Farmer was 16 years old when she arrived at Jeffrey Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico in 1996 to attend a program for high school students, only to learn that she was the sole participant.

There she met Mr. Epstein’s companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, who seemed friendly and asked about her classmates and her family. Ms. Maxwell and Mr. Epstein took her shopping and lavished her with gifts, like beauty products and new cowboy boots, according to a lawsuit Ms. Farmer filed last year.

The seemingly innocuous behavior was in fact part of a process to “groom” Ms. Farmer for sexual activity, the authorities now say. Ms. Maxwell began pressuring Ms. Farmer to give Mr. Epstein a foot massage, according to the lawsuit, and the encounters escalated — until Ms. Farmer says she eventually woke up one day to find Mr. Epstein entering her room, climbing into her bed and pressing

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