In a conversation with New York Times reporter James B. Stewart last August, Epstein ― who died by apparent suicide last week while awaiting a child sex abuse trial ― was open about his attraction to young girls and bragged about having dirt on powerful people.
“He said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable,” Stewart wrote of Epstein in an article published Monday. “He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world.”
Stewart wrote that he had reached out to interview Epstein about his relationship with Tesla’s Elon Musk, whom the multimillionaire financier was reportedly advising at the time. Epstein said he would only speak on background at the time, an agreement Stewart considers “to have lapsed” with the financier’s death.
Epstein also reportedly bragged that he knew a multitude of rich and famous people and had “potentially damaging or embarrassing” details about their “sexual proclivities and recreational drug use,” Stewart wrote.
Epstein was found dead in his New York City prison cell around 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The financier had been placed on suicide watch a little over two weeks ago, but had been taken off it at the end of July. The House Judiciary Committee launched a bipartisan investigation on Monday into the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death.
Epstein was awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking underage girls. Ten years ago, the financier had faced a lax sentence in Florida on similar charges. That case tied him to many wealthy and powerful people including President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.