Clinton, Andrew mere tip of the iceberg on Jeffrey Epstein client list
With his 2019 death, widely held to be by suicide, the stomach-churning allegations against Jeffrey Epstein finally became known to the world at large
On 10 August 2019, at approximately 6.30 am, a 66-year-old inmate called Jeffrey Edward Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, and later pronounced dead by a hospital.
With his death, widely held to be by suicide, the stomach-churning allegations against Epstein finally became known to the world at large. Perhaps even more shocking was the long list of very famous names associated with Epstein and his sex-trafficking network, partly managed by his now imprisoned girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, and mostly involving underage girls.
A millionaire many times over, Epstein was initially arrested in Palm Beach, Florida in 2005 following accusations that he had paid a 14-year-old girl for sex. By then, his list of friends and associates included tinsel town celebrities, politicians, super rich business leaders, and even academicians.
Their names — which were thus far officially redacted though many had leaked out into the public domain — were revealed this week in the form of nearly 1,000 pages of court documents, which were unsealed on Wednesday. Earlier sets of documents relating to the case were unsealed in court between 2019 and 2022, though no names were officially made public.
Expectedly, among those named in the latest documents are former US president Bill Clinton and the late Queen Elizabeth II’s second son Prince Andrew, since speculation about the extent of their association with Epstein have long been the matter of very public speculation, fuelled by a court case against Andrew by one of Epstein’s alleged victims called Virginia Guiffre, who accused the British royal of sexually abusing her when she was 17.
Following a disastrous TV interview to the BBC which merely made him look irredeemably guilty, the 63-year-old Andrew settled the case out of court in 2022 for a reported $12 million, according to the Guardian. Realising the need for further action in the face of intense public outrage, the British royal family announced that Andrew — who was part of the UK navy and served in the Falklands War of 1982 as a helicopter pilot — was to be stripped of all his military and royal titles.
Significantly, neither Clinton nor Trump have been specifically accused of sexual wrongdoing by Giuffre. But she has implied that they received other favours from Epstein, such as Clinton using Epstein's planes on unofficial international trips. More damningly, a second accuser, Johanna Sjoberg, testified that Epstein once told her that Clinton "likes them young," referring to girls.
The public’s real interest lay in the names not revealed thus far, some of which the Guardian listed via a Wall Street Journal report. “The boldface names that emerged included the director of the CIA, William Burns, and Kathryn Ruemmler, White House counsel under Barack Obama, alongside lesser figures including the leftwing professor and activist Noam Chomsky, billionaire venture capitalist Reid Hoffman and Lawrence Summers, former Harvard president and director of the National Economic Council under Obama,” states the Guardian.
Among the prominent names from the world of arts and letters are Hollywood icon Woody Allen, who was “scheduled to visit the studio of Jeff Koons with Epstein”, says the Guardian. Another name was that of noted anthropologist Dr Helen Fisher, who was invited to speak to Epstein’s staff.
Another high-profile shocker is the name of the late legendary physicist Stephen Hawking, whose name came up in a 2015 email from Epstein to Maxwell, with Epstein asking her to "issue a reward" to any of Giuffre's friends who would help counter her claims that Hawking had participated in an underage orgy.
"You can issue a reward to any of Virginia's friends, acquaints, family that come forward and help prove her allegations are false. The strongest is the Clinton dinner, and the new version in the Virgin Islands that Stephen Hawking participated in an underage orgy," the email reportedly read.
Also Read: US judge begins to release Epstein documents
A lawsuit filed in a US district court by an unnamed woman and the US Virgin Islands against Epstein’s banker JP Morgan dragged in more heavyweights, among them JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and former Barclays CEO Jes Staley. But the list also stretched to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Hyatt Hotels chairperson Thomas Pritzker, American-Canadian businessman Mortimer Zuckerman and former CAA talent agent Michael Ovitz, as per the Guardian.
In May 2023, the Wall Street Journal claimed it had access to a host of emails and schedules and cited the example of a single day — 8 September 2014 — to show that Epstein planned to meet four billionaires: Gates, Zuckerman, Pritzker and financier Leon Black on that day.
How had Epstein gained access to this rarefied world of globally known names and faces? The short answer would appear to be: by catering to famous men who ‘liked them young’, while those not interested in sex with minors had Epstein’s private planes, homes, and islands at their disposal.
After his initial arrest in 2005, dozens of other underage girls described similar sexual abuse, but prosecutors ultimately agreed to let Epstein plead guilty in 2008 to a charge involving a single victim, following which he served 13 months in a jail work-release programme. That it took until 2019 for the full extent of his crimes to come to light ought to provide some idea of his clout, and the strength of his network.
Part of that network, including former US presidents Clinton and Donald Trump, began to move away from him following his 2005 arrest, but many others did not, and Epstein was allowed to operate unfettered for another decade, even assuming the mantle of a philanthropist.
The documents unsealed on Wednesday are part of a lawsuit filed against Maxwell in 2015 by Giuffre, one of the dozens of women who sued Epstein saying he had abused them at his homes in Florida, New York, the US Virgin Islands and New Mexico.
At 17, Guiffre claimed she was “lured away” from a job as a spa attendant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club to become a “masseuse” for Epstein, a job that involved performing sexual acts, as per the Guardian report.
She also claimed she was forced to have sex with men associated with Epstein, most notoriously with Prince Andrew. All the men denied the charges, and Giuffre later withdrew her accusation against Epstein’s former attorney Alan Dershowitz, saying she “may have made a mistake”.
Yet another man accused by Giuffre was Jean-Luc Brunel, a French modelling agent close to Epstein, who was awaiting trial on charges of raping underage girls when he too died by suicide in a Paris jail in 2022.