Financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was arraigned on sex-trafficking charges on Monday, saw himself as a collector of famous friends. “I invest in people — be it politics or science,” he told New York magazine in 2002. “It’s what I do.”
But it’s not all he did. Now that Epstein is facing up to 45 years in prison (“basically a life sentence,” according to prosecutors) for allegedly abusing dozens of underage girls as part of his sex-trafficking operation, there’s renewed interest in the people he surrounded himself with. This is especially because when he faced similar charges more than a decade ago, he struck up a shockingly lenient plea deal that promised immunity for his “co-conspirators.”
Epstein’s indictment describes how the 66-year-old, who pleaded not guilty, ran what’s been called a “sexual pyramid scheme,” through which he ensnared the girls he allegedly abused to bring in more girls, at his residences in New York City and Palm Beach, FL, between 2002 and 2005. British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly helped him, luring girls under the guise that they would obtain modeling and educational opportunities.
The billionaire investor had connections to some of the most powerful people in the world, including former President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump. His “little black book,” which Gawker obtained and published in 2015, was full of contacts for politicians, celebrities, and wealthy people.
Ahead, the powerful men who have been linked to Epstein.
Former President Bill Clinton
In the early 2000s, Epstein flew former President Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey, and comedian Chris Tucker to Africa so they could participate in a tour of prevention and treatment centers for AIDS. Epstein was reportedly a supporter of the Clinton Foundation.
Flight logs obtained by Gawker in 2015 show that Clinton, who has been accused of sexual assault, flew in Epstein’s private plane at least 11 times in the mid-2000s. In a statement, Clinton’s press secretary Angel Ureña said that Clinton had only taken four flights on Epstein’s plane.
“President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,” he said. Ureña added: “He’s not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and has never been to [Epstein’s private island] Little St. James Island, Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida.”
Statement on Jeffrey Epstein. pic.twitter.com/98ha9YYd1l
— Angel Ureña (@angelurena) July 8, 2019
President Donald Trump
Epstein used to frequent President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach property, Mar-a-Lago, and the real estate magnate spoke highly of him. “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by at least 21 women, told New York magazine in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger …read more