Over the weekend, FBI agents raided the Upper East Side townhouse of Jeffrey Epstein, using a crowbar to break the grand doors of one of the largest private homes in Manhattan. Below is everything we know about what was found inside, and how the evidence may influence the investigation into Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking and shed light on his mysterious wealth.
What did the FBI find in the townhouse?
According to a court filing requesting that Epstein not be released prior to his trial, inside the mansion at 9 East 71st Street federal agents found “a vast trove of lewd photographs” of young girls, including pictures of “at least one girl, who, according to her counsel, was underage at the time the relevant photographs were taken.” Agents also discovered “in a locked safe … compact discs with hand-written labels including the following: ‘Young [Name] + [Name],’ ‘Misc nudes 1,’ and ‘Girl pics nudes.’” Prosecutors added that the “search of that home found “hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of sexually suggestive photographs of fully- or partially nude females.”
The New York Times also reported a few bizarre interior-decorating choices at the seven-story mansion, including a commissioned mural of a “photorealistic prison scene that included barbed wire, corrections officers and a guard station, with Mr. Epstein portrayed in the middle,” hung on the second floor. R. Couri Hay, a public relations specialist who met with Epstein at his home three months ago, told the paper, “He said, ‘That’s me, and I had this painted because there is always the possibility that could be me again.’”
Other eccentricities include “a life-size female doll hanging from a chandelier”; a dining room arranged “to resemble a beach scene”; photos of Bill Clinton, Woody Allen, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia; and an employee or friend who would greet guests in an Eastern European accent and lead guests to a marble staircase. “At the base of the stairwell,” a visitor who spoke to the Times said, “Mr. Epstein had placed a chess board with custom figurines dressed in underwear — each piece, he noted, was modeled after one of his staffers.”
Prosecutors claim the home is valued at $77 million, though the New York City Department of Finance estimated this year that the building’s value is closer to $56 million.
What alleged crimes occurred there?
According to the indictment, Epstein had employees and assistants arrange for at least three girls to come to his Upper East Side residence; at least one told him she was underage. The indictment states that once inside his home, “the victim would provide a nude or semi-nude massage for Epstein, who would typically be naked. During these encounters, Epstein would escalate the nature and scope of the phyiscal contact to include sex acts such as groping and direct and indirect contact with the victim’s genitals. Epstein would also typically masturbate during these encounters.”
Virginia Giuffre, a victim who alleges she was forced to live as Epstein’s “sex slave” from 1999 through 2002, says that she spent much of that period living in his New York mansion. “My only purpose for Epstein, [Ghislaine] Maxwell and their friends was to be used for sex,” Giuffre said in a 2015 suit. She was 16 years old in 1999.
Giuffre also alleges that while she was Epstein’s “sex slave,” she was forced to have sex with Alan Dershowitz at the New York house when she was 16, and with Prince Andrew there when she was 17. Dershowitz and Prince Andrew have both denied the allegations.
How long has Epstein lived there?
Epstein has lived at least part time in the seven-story Beaux-Arts home since 1996, when the building was owned by Epstein’s benefactor Leslie Wexner, the founder and CEO of L Brands, which includes Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. But there were no property records regarding a transfer between the two until 2011, when Epstein signed a document for both parties handing over the 21,000-square-foot home for $0.
Who might have been visiting over the years?
An old New York feature on the social lives of the upper crust offers examples of the type of guests Epstein was entertaining the late 1990s and early 2000s. A dinner party thrown for Bill Clinton featured billionaire Mort Zuckerman, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, magician David Blaine, Donald Trump, Les Wexner, and a former British Cabinet member, Peter Mandelson. Clinton didn’t show, although a spokesperson for the former president told the New York Times that he had made “one brief visit” around 2002 to Epstein’s New York home, surrounded by a staff member and a security detail. The spokesperson added that Clinton has not spoken with Epstein in over a decade.
Prior to the indictment, where else did Epstein live?
Epstein also has properties in New Mexico, Paris, a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a Palm Beach estate. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman argued in a 10-page bail memo that Epstein is an “extraordinary risk of flight, particularly given the defendant’s exorbitant wealth, his ownership of and access to private planes capable of international travel, and his significant international ties.”