Who is Jeffrey Epstein? A billionaire pervert, yes, but also so much more: a friend to Bill Clinton, a science blogger, an ex-convict, the possessor—allegedly—of an egg-shaped penis. Let us guide you through his life and crimes.
Epstein, the billionaire convicted in 2008 of soliciting an underage prostitute, is back in the news, popping up in disturbing news reports concerning Prince Andrew, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, and former president Bill Clinton—including a lengthy Gawker report published today.
But 2008 was a long time ago. If you need a refresher—or a primer—read on.
Who is Jeffrey Epstein?
Jeffrey Epstein is a 61-year-old ex-banker who trades his time between Paris; Palm Beach, Florida; rural New Mexico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He was born in Brooklyn, attended the Dalton School and N.Y.U., worked at a financial firm called Bear Stearns for six years in the 1970s and 80s, and struck out with his own financial firm in 1982.
Epstein's net worth is rumored to be, or have been at one point, in the billions—not just rich, but "top-out-of-sight" rich, so immensely wealthy that he and his friends are almost never required to interact with members of the general public. And what friends he has: Epstein traveled in elite circles of finance, politics, and media; as the flight manifests published today by Gawker show, he was quite literally jet-setting with everyone from Chris Tucker to Bill Clinton.
And then, in 2008, at the age of 55, Epstein was arrested for soliciting an underage prostitute in Palm Beach, Florida. He pled guilty to the charges, and is currently a registered sex offender—but received an unusually light sentence for his conviction, given the amount of evidence prosecutors had gathered to indict him. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail, but ended up doing only 13 months, which he served in a private section of the Palm Beach Jail, whose warden permitted Epstein to leave the premises for up to 16 hours at a time.
While he was only convicted of solicitation of a minor, Epstein is alleged to have recruited and sexually groomed dozens of underage girls, most of them in the Palm Beach area. Epstein has reached over two dozen out-of-court settlements with young women who have accused him of prostituting them to his friends and clients.
The revelation of Epstein's crime inspired widespread and still-ongoing speculation about whether he had made these girls available to his powerful friends—and if so, whether Epstein had blackmailed any of them.
Why is Epstein back in the news?
On December 30, 2014, two women—identified as Jane Doe #3, whose legal name is Virginia Roberts, and Jane Doe #4—submitted a filing related to a six-year-old federal lawsuit against the United States government for violating the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, a statute that codifies the rights of victims involved in crimes litigated at the federal level.
The initial complaint, filed by two other anonymous women (Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2) in 2008 at the U.S. District Court in Florida, alleged that they were the victims of crimes perpetrated by Epstein—namely sex trafficking, enticing a minor to commit prostitution, and related interstate wire fraud.
In their December 30 filing, Roberts and Jane Doe #4 mounted similar allegations, but also alleged the involvement of two previously unmentioned parties: lawyer Alan Dershowitz and U.K. royal Prince Andrew, brother of Prince Charles and son of Queen Elizabeth.
Who is Alan Dershowitz?
Alan Dershowitz, a.k.a. “Dersh,” is a 76-year-old lawyer and retired Harvard Law School professor. He has represented or advised a number of celebrities and other plaintiffs in high-profile cases, including football player O.J. Simpson (who in 1993 was accused—and later acquitted—of murdering of his wife). He is one of the most prominent American supporters of the State of Israel, and consistently defends the Israeli government’s harsh policies toward the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank.
Dershowitz is a friend of Epstein’s, and advised him during the initial trial for underage solicitation. To assist Epstein, Dershowitz attempted to discredit his accusers by scraping their social media profiles for evidence that they consumed drugs and drank alcohol.
What are the allegations against Dershowitz and Andrew?
Virginia Roberts’ allegations are fairly detailed, but her primary accusations concerning these two men are:
- Epstein forced her, when she was underage, to have sexual relations with both Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz in a variety of locales;
- Dershowitz personally witnessed Epstein coercing underage girls to have sex with him and his “co-conspirators”;
- While he was advising Epstein, Dershowitz designed his client’s non-prosecution agreement (NPA) to grant immunity (from future prosecution) to himself and other alleged co-conspirators of Epstein.
What are Jane Doe #4’s allegations?
Jane Doe #4 alleges that she was “repeatedly sexually abused by Epstein” in Palm Beach, Florida when she was 16 years old. Jane Doe #4 says Epstein lured her to his mansion where he assaulted her by offering to pay $300 for a massage.
How have Dershowitz and Andrew responded to the allegations?
Yes. In a statement denying the allegations against Prince Andrew, Buckingham Palace asserted that “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
Dershowitz issued an even stronger statement: “I categorically and unequivocally, without any reservations, deny that there was any sexual contract of any kind between me and any of the Jane Does connected with Jeffrey Epstein, whether underage or not.” He said he intends to seek the disbarment of the accusers’ lawyers as well.
Did either Virginia Roberts or Jane Doe #4 allege anything else?
Yes. Besides Prince Andrew and Dershowitz, Roberts claims that she was forced to have sex with a friend of Epstein’s named Jean Luc Brunel. She also claims that another friend of Epstein’s, a woman named Ghislane Maxwell, recruited, groomed, and sexually abused underage girls for him—turning her victims into “sex slaves” for Epstein and his friends to use whenever they wanted.
Who is Jean Luc Brunel?
An alleged "sex-trafficking model scout" friend of Epstein who was investigated by the FBI for allegations that he had recruited underage girls through his modeling agency, MC2, and then handed them off to Epstein. Prosecutors apparently failed to substantiate those allegations, however, because Brunel was never charged with any crime.
Who is Ghislane Maxwell?
You may have heard about Ghislane Maxwell, too. A British philanthropist and society figure—her father was the flamboyant Czech-born English publisher and member of parliament Robert Maxwell—her relationship with Epstein was detailed in a Vanity Fair article in 2003, which alluded to Maxwell’s role in arranging for young women to attend lavish parties thrown by Epstein. Earlier this month, she vehemently denied any role in grooming or abusing underage girls for Epstein.
How many people were in Epstein’s circle?
A lot. Hundreds. That’s judging from the number of people who were close enough to Epstein to have flown, often on more than one occasion, on his private jet. The only thing more startling than the sheer size of Epstein’s network is the stature and power of its members.
Who else did Epstein spend time with?
As you can see in the flight manifests Gawker published today, Epstein had ties to former president Bill Clinton, the actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker, the director Woody Allen, Harvard economist Larry Summers, and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. And that’s just for starters: Over the past decade, hundreds of articles have been published about Epstein’s connections among the global elite. And hundreds more will likely be written.
What does Epstein’s penis look like?
What happens next?
It’s difficult to say. Many of Epstein’s friends apparently overlooked, or turned a blind eye toward, his exploitation of underage women—to say nothing of those said to have actively assisted in recruiting and grooming them for Epstein and his clientele. This is another way of saying, of course, that the story of Jeffrey Epstein is unlikely to go away any time soon, because so much of it remains untold.