After Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest on sex-trafficking charges over the weekend, the Miami Herald reporter behind the paper’s dogged investigations into the wealthy money manager said he isn’t the only prominent person this scandal is likely to ensnare.
“There are probably quite a few important people, powerful people, who are sweating it out right now,” Julie K. Brown said on MSNBC. “We’ll have to wait and see whether Epstein is going to name names.”
Over the years, Epstein has counted some of the country’s most powerful political and business leaders among his friends. They’ve visited his private island, flown on his private jet, and had him as a guest in their homes. Most of the well-known figures linked to Epstein have not been accused of any wrongdoing, but a few have been accused of participating in his sex-trafficking ring. Here are some of Epstein’s most prominent connections:
Clinton and Epstein grew close in the first few years after the former president left office. According to a statement from Clinton this week, he took “a total of four trips” on Epstein’s private jet in 2002 and 2003, traveling to Europe, Asia, and Africa. At the time, Clinton told New York that Epstein is a “highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist.”
In this week’s statement, Clinton said he knew nothing of Epstein’s “terrible crimes” and that the two hadn’t spoken in a decade. But the picture of their relationship painted by the former president doesn’t square with flight logs that put Clinton on Epstein’s jet, dubbed the “Lolita Express,” 26 times between 2001 and 2003. Or with Gawker’s 2015 report on Epstein’s little black book, which included “21 contact numbers and various email addresses for Clinton.” Alleged Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre also claimed in a 2015 affidavit that Clinton visited the financier’s private island, though Clinton denies it. The claim has never been corroborated, and there are no Epstein-related allegations of sexual misconduct involving Clinton.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York in a 2002 profile of Epstein. “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 side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
Trump’s comment about Epstein’s taste in women has gotten a lot of attention in the past few days for obvious reasons. But it’s not the only thing connecting the two men. Epstein and Trump lived near each other in Palm Beach, ran in the same social circles, and records show Trump flew on the “Lolita Express.” Four years ago, Giuffre alleged that while working as a towel girl at Mar-a-Lago, she was recruited by Epstein’s longtime friend Ghislaine Maxwell to become one of his sex slaves. The year was 1999, and Giuffre was 16 years old. In court documents, Bradley Edwards, an attorney who represented several of Epstein’s alleged victims, said Epstein was banned from Mar-a-Lago because he “sexually assaulted an underage girl at the club.” The claim has not been confirmed.
Trump has also been accused of assaulting a woman on Epstein’s property. During the 2016 election, an anonymous California woman filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump and Epstein raped her at the latter’s New York City mansion in 1994, when she was 13. Several journalists expressed confusion or skepticism after looking into the story. Trump denied the allegations and the woman dropped her suit weeks before the election.
When Gawker published Epstein’s “little black book” in 2015, a Trump spokesperson told the site, “Mr. Trump only knew Mr. Epstein as Mr. Trump owns the hottest and most luxurious club in Palm Beach, [redacted], and Mr. Epstein would go there on occasion.” But media reports from the early 2000s show multiple interactions between the two in social settings. Trump also called Epstein twice in November 2004, according to message pads seized from Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Trump and Epstein were the only two guests at a 1992 “calendar girl” competition at Mar-a-Lago. Businessman George Houraney said he arranged the party at Trump’s request.
“I arranged to have some contestants fly in,” Mr. Houraney recalled in an interview on Monday. “At the very first party, I said, ‘Who’s coming tonight? I have 28 girls coming.’ It was him and Epstein.”
Mr. Houraney, who had just partnered with Mr. Trump to host events at his casinos, said he was surprised. “I said, ‘Donald, this is supposed to be a party with V.I.P.s. You’re telling me it’s you and Epstein?’”
Houraney also said he “pretty much had to ban Jeff from my events” because” Epstein was “going after younger girls … Trump didn’t care about that.”
Two different women have said they were trafficked by Epstein and “directed” to have sex with the prominent Harvard law professor. Giuffre says that after she was recruited to be a masseuse for Epstein and coerced into having sex with him, she was told that she had to have sex with other men, including Dershowitz. Separately, Sarah Ransome, who sued Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell for alleged sex trafficking, says she was directed to have sex with Dershowitz. The attorney has denied the claims from both women.
The daughter of a British publishing tycoon and Epstein’s one-time girlfriend, Maxwell has been accussed of serving as his madam, recruiting teenage girls who would be groomed into sex slavery. She has denied the allegations.
The 81-year-old CEO of L Brands, which owns Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, was once the “main client” of Epstein’s money-management firm, according to Bloomberg. The billionaire began working with Epstein in the early ’90s, and in 2003 Epstein said that people had suggested the two men shared one brain. “Each has a side,” he said.
Wexner is the previous owner of the lavish 71st Street mansion where Epstein is alleged to have committed some of his crimes, and where police found child pornography this week. Bloomberg reports that a Virgin Islands entity associated with Epstein bought the property from Wexner in 1998. But it wasn’t until 2011 that New York property records documenting the transfer were filed. Those documents reflected a purchase price of $0.
The Duke of York, Prince Charles’s younger brother, is a longtime personal friend of Epstein’s and has been directly accused of having sex with at least one underage girl. In 2015 court documents, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, seen here in a photo with Prince Andrew, said she was coerced into having sex with the British royal. She also said she was forced to participate in an orgy with other underage girls and the Prince. Buckingham Palace has denied the claims.
In Fire and Fury, his first book on the Trump administration, Michael Wolff reported that Trump, Epstein, and private-equity manager and Trump campaign senior adviser Tom Barrack were a “set of nightlife musketeers” in the ’80s and ’90s, managing a phrase that is both ambiguous and terrifying.
Media mogul, billionaire, and former owner of the New York Daily News and the Atlantic Mort Zuckerman invested with Epstein in the gossip magazine Radar in 2004, spending around $10 million to get the first issue up and running. According to Gawker, Zuckerman promptly bailed on the project when he found out about allegations against Epstein, and the magazine shut down just 14 months after its inaugural issue in 2005.
The director, whose adopted daughter Dylan Farrow alleges he sexually assaulted her when she was 7, has made several appearances with Epstein over the years. Allen attended a dinner party for Prince Andrew at Epstein’s Manhattan home in 2010, he was pictured walking around the Upper East Side with him in 2013, and his photo is displayed in Epstein’s study.
Babi Christina Engelhardt, a former personal assistant to Epstein, also alleged in a Hollywood Reporter profile that she and Allen had an eight-year relationship, beginning when she was 16 and he was 41.
Former Harvard president and Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers connected with Epstein mostly for fundraising purposes for the university. “Those close to Epstein say he holds the University president in very high regard,” the Harvard Crimson reported in 2003. Epstein gave $30 million to Harvard for the Epstein Program for Mathematical Biology and Evolutionary Dynamics, agreeing to put his name on the thing only after being persuaded by Summers. Summers also appeared in the “Lolita Express” flight logs.
Though Epstein failed out of college, Attorney General William Barr’s father managed to get him a job teaching math at Manhattan’s prestigious Dalton School in the 1970s. Barr once also served as counsel at Kirkland and Ellis, the law firm that represented Epstein for his obscenely lenient 2008 plea deal.
On Monday, Barr said of the review of the Florida federal case against Epstein, “I am recused from that matter because one of the law firms that represented Epstein long ago was a firm I subsequently joined for a period of time.” However, Barr has reportedly decided not to recuse himself from the new investigation, after consulting with DOJ ethics officials.
The former independent counsel who investigated President Clinton, Starr served on Epstein’s all-star legal team in 2008, helping to strike a deal that landed Epstein in jail for only 13 months, with work release six days a week. In 2015, Starr dryly defended his work for Epstein: “I was happy to respond to the needs of a client of the firm.”
Krauss is a theoretical physicist who retired from Arizona State University in 2018 after multiple sexual-misconduct allegations. Epstein was a major donor to his ASU program, and Krauss teamed up with the financier to host a conference of Nobel laureates in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2012.
Krauss is also the source of one of the more baffling quotes defending Epstein. In 2011, he told the Daily Beast:
If anything, the unfortunate period [Epstein] suffered has caused him to really think about what he wants to do with his money and his time, and support knowledge. Jeffrey has surrounded himself with beautiful women and young women but they’re not as young as the ones that were claimed. As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people. I don’t feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it.
In March 2006, Stephen Hawking was pictured attending a barbecue at Epstein’s Little Great St. James Island, after flying to St. Thomas for an Epstein-funded conference on “confronting gravity” that was also attended by Lawrence Krauss. In addition to his time on “pedophile island,” Hawking took a boat cruise and submarine tour funded by Epstein. According to the Telegraph, Epstein “paid for the submarine to be modified for Professor Hawking, who had never been underwater before.”
According to flight logs of Epstein’s plane, Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker hitched a ride on the “Lolita Express” in 2002. Pinker was also pictured at a dinner in which Epstein was in attendance in 2014, along with Lawrence Krauss.
Artificial intelligence expert Roger Schank visited Epstein in jail in July 2008 when he was a professor at Northwastern University. Schank’s other titles include chief education officer of Carnegie Mellon’s west coast campus, and the chief learning officer at Trump University, where he was reportedly in charge of overseeing the design and roll-out of the e-learning curriculum. (In November 2016, President-elect Trump settled three fraud lawsuits related to Trump University for a total of $25 million.)
In 2003, Primedia Inc. was looking to sell New York Magazine, and Mort Zuckerman and then-media columnist Michael Wolff rounded up some investors to purchase the property. The group included TV personality and businessman Donny Deutsch, billionaire Nelson Peltz, Jeffrey Epstein, and Harvey Weinstein. (The movie producer, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, is set to be tried on five counts of sexual assault, including rape.) The group’s bid of $44 million was the second-lowest out of four, and investment banker Bruce Wasserstein scooped up the title. (The Wasserstein family still owns New York Media.)
Other Epstein Acquaintances
The breadth of Epstein’s social reach was staggering, but most of his famous contacts have never been linked to any of his crimes or alleged misdeeds. Epstein’s 92-page address book, which was published by Gawker, has entries for Alec Baldwin, Ralph Fiennes, Ted Kennedy, David Koch, Courtney Love, and former New Mexico governors Bill Richardson and Bruce King — though it’s unclear what, if any, connection he had to these celebrities and political figures.
Guest lists for dinners at his Manhattan townhouse also give a picture of his influence: In 2010, a dinner for Prince Andrew included Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, Chelsea Handler, and Woody Allen. Another dinner reported on by New York featured billionaire Mort Zuckerman, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, magician David Blaine, Donald Trump, Les Wexner, and a former British Cabinet member Peter Mandelson. Another cabinet member, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, also reportedly socialized with Epstein shortly after his release from prison in 2011.
Epstein’s private jet was another point of contact with figures in politics and entertainment. “What attracted Clinton to Epstein was quite simple: He had a plane,” Landon Thomas Jr. wrote in New York in 2002. That year, Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Chris Tucker flew to Africa on Epstein’s plane as part of an effort to raise awareness about poverty and HIV. (Also on the plane was Casey Wasserman, the chairman for organizing committee for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, and supermarket magnate Ron Burkle.) “Jeffrey is both a highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of 21st-century science,” Clinton told New York at the time.
Vicky Ward, the journalist who wrote the 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein, told Slate that “You got the feeling that his friends weren’t real friends — he owned them — that he was the kind of man who collected information about people and then used it over them.” Ward has also offered a more scathing assessment, saying, “What is so amazing to me is how his entire social circle knew about this and just blithely overlooked it … all mentioned the girls, as an aside.”