Since Saturday’s arrest of billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein — on charges of sex trafficking, for allegedly bringing dozens of minors, some as young as 14, to his homes in New York City and Palm Beach, Fla. and molesting them — there has been much to discuss in regards to the lurid case.
Stories abound on everything from the legal details to Epstein’s privileged existence — including his various homes (a $56 million seven-story townhouse in Manhattan and a private Caribbean island called Little James Island, among others); the photos of nude girls kept in his NYC home (since seized by law enforcement); and the controversial no-prosecution way Epstein was dealt with the last time he faced similar charges, in 2006, and was given a shockingly lenient plea deal from then-prosecutor and current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta (whom President Donald Trump has defended amid calls for his resignation).
Yet another tangent is the tangled web of Epstein’s many celebrity and political connections over the years — not a surprise, considering his status as a billionaire, but intriguing nonetheless. After all, he told New York magazine in a 2002 profile, “I invest in people – be it politics or science. It’s what I do.”
Let’s take a walk through Epstein’s decades of investing in and rubbing elbows with power players — many of whom supported him at one point, but are now distancing themselves — breaking down the connections along the way, starting with perhaps the most high profile of all.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” Trump famously said about Epstein, in a 2002 New York profile. “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 was photographed at least twice with Epstein at Mar-a-Lago, where they co-hosted parties, once in 1997 (above) and another time in 2000 (below), along with Melania and media mogul Ghislaine Maxwell (more on her later). He allegedly socialized with Epstein in 2002, which is the alleged start of the encounters (2002-2005) for which he was just charged.
But on Tuesday, Trump told reporters about Epstein: “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”
The former POTUS reportedly flew at least 26 times on Epstein’s private jet — dubbed the “Lolita Express” by tabloids in the early 2000s — according to a Fox News interpretation of flight records, which also allegedly reveal a 2002 flight to Africa with Epstein, Clinton and actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker aboard. They were on “a mission to explore the problems of AIDS and economic development in Africa,” according to a Vanity Fair piece at the time, which also noted, “There are many women in his life, mostly young, but there is no one of them to whom he has been able to commit.”
On Tuesday, however, Clinton’s office released a statement, saying that he “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.” Further, it noted Clinton had taken “a total of four trips” on Epstein’s jet, and that he’s “not spoken to him in well over a decade.”
When Gawker leaked the contents of Epstein’s little black book back in 2015 — revealing an array of celebs including the likes of Courtney Love, Ehud Barak, Alec Baldwin, Ralph Fiennes and Ted Kennedy — it reportedly unearthed a royal listing for Prince Andrew (younger brother of Prince Charles), with no less than 16 phone numbers. The two allegedly go way back, and, according to the New York Post in 2011, Epstein “celebrated his release from a Florida jail with his close pal, Britain’s Prince Andrew.” Further, a 2015 lawsuit by one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, claimed that she, at just 17 years old, was forced to have sex with the prince on three occasions (claims Buckingham Palace has denied).
“Schlubby director Woody Allen was seen palling around Manhattan with billionaire convicted child-sex creep Jeffrey Epstein,” noted Page Six in 2013, with a story accompanying a photo of the pair along with Allen’s wife Soon-Yi Previn strolling along Madison Avenue. “They all went into Epstein’s building after the walk.” Allen was also reportedly a guest at a party Epstein threw for Prince Andrew in 2010, and was cited by the Daily Beast as one of the celeb friends — also including Katie Couric, Chelsea Handler and George Stephanopoulos — who supported the financier after his sexual abuse conviction.
The British socialite, daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell, reportedly dated Epstein briefly, and then remained a close confidante; friends they had in common included Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and attorney Alan Dershowitz. She has been accused, with Epstein, of acting the heads of an “organized crime family,” with Maxwell, helping to recruit and groom the young girls.
Harvard Law professor emeritus Dershowitz was part of Epstein’s defense team the last time around. He has also been accused of being involved in Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking operation by Giuffre, who is suing Dershowitz for defamation, and who claims was “loaned out” to him by Epstein for sex. He has denied the allegations. Breaking his silence Tuesday on the Joe Piscopo radio show on AM970 in New York, said, “The indictment itself is fairly bare bones. From my point of view, the important thing is that it doesn’t mention me.”
The New Age guru has reportedly benefited from Epstein’s dirty money, according to an investigation by the Daily Beast into Epstein’s “secret charity,” called Gratitude America, Ltd., which reportedly listed a donation of $50,000 to the Chopra Foundation — along with other donations, including to “Friends of Elton John.”
Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi took to Twitter over the weekend to point out that Attorney General William Barr could interfere with the prosecution of Epstein. “Yes, AG Barr oversees the US Attorney’s Office in NY, so it’s possible he could attempt to interfere, though it would be obvious. Also, many years ago, Barr’s father hired Epstein to teach at the private Dalton school, with no college degree. So there’s that…” Barr and Epstein, in other words, go way, way back.
Yes, AG Barr oversees the US Attorney’s Office in NY, so it’s possible he could attempt to interfere, though it would be obvious. Also, many years ago, Barr’s father hired Epstein to teach at the private Dalton school, with no college degree. So there’s that...— Frank Figliuzzi (@FrankFigliuzzi1) July 7, 2019
Starr, whose claim to fame is his Monica Lewinsky scandal investigation, apparently played a part in getting Epstein his sweetheart deal the last time around. That’s according to Dershowitz, who told the Daily Beast, “I had given [Epstein] a list of lawyers I worked with in the past that had been exceptionally able and Jeffrey picked from the list.” He added, “Starr had experience in investigating sex investigations. He had experience as the solicitor general and as a judge. He had all the bases covered.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: