I only realized about one week ago that no one really knows how Jeffrey Epstein became so rich. He wasn’t some wealthy family scion, and he only became mega-rich after university, well into adulthood. How did he make his money? And will we get an answer to that question eventually through the criminal case? That and other questions are being raised now that Epstein’s march towards criminal prosecution really begins. According to this new article in Vanity Fair, the feds are still accumulating evidence of Epstein’s crimes, and that includes statements from more than 50 victims, all of whom Epstein abused, assaulted, molested and/or raped when they were children. You can read VF’s piece here. Some highlights:
More than 50 victims: Stories of his sexual assault grows to grotesque levels—there are said to be more than 50 women who are potential victims—a wave of panic is rippling through Manhattan, DC, and Palm Beach, as Epstein’s former friends and associates rush to distance themselves, while gossiping about who might be ensnared. The questions about Epstein are metastasizing much faster than they can be answered: Who knew what about Epstein’s alleged abuse? How, and from whom, did Epstein get his supposed $500 million fortune? Why did Alexander Acosta grant Epstein an outrageously lenient non-prosecution agreement? (And what does it mean that Acosta was reportedly told Epstein “belonged to intelligence”?)
Co-conspirators & co-criminals: But among the most pressing queries is which other famous people might be exposed for committing sex crimes. “There were other business associates of Mr. Epstein’s who engaged in improper sexual misconduct at one or more of his homes. We do know that,” said Brad Edwards, a lawyer for Courtney Wild, one of the Epstein accusers who gave emotional testimony at Epstein’s bail hearing. “In due time the names are going to start coming out.” Likely within days, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will release almost 2,000 pages of documents that could reveal sexual abuse by “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders,” according to the three-judge panel’s ruling.
Epstein still had friends in high places: One source who’s done business with Epstein told me that Epstein’s 21,000-square-foot townhouse on East 71st Street welcomed a steady stream of the Davos crowd in the past decade. The source said Bill Gates, Larry Summers, and Steve Bannon visited the house, which has been called one of the largest private residences in Manhattan. “Jeffrey collected people. That’s what he did,” the source said. Gates and Summers did not respond to requests for comment.
How did Epstein make his fortune? How Epstein obtained his fortune is a matter of feverish speculation. His claim to a billionaire-only client list now seems laughable to the bankers I spoke with. One Wall Street source with direct knowledge of Epstein’s business said one source of Epstein’s income was providing “tax advice and estate planning” to rich clients, presumably because Epstein had experience with offshore funds after basing his office in the Virgin Islands…. In the absence of much other information, the reigning theory on Wall Street currently is that Epstein’s activities with women and girls were central to the building of his fortune, and his relations with some of his investors essentially amounted to blackmail.
Washington has been rocked & so has Buckingham Palace: DC is on edge. “Epstein bragged about his contacts in Washington,” Boies said. Reporters are likely to dig into why the Justice Department decided not to prosecute Epstein and kept the deal secret from his victims. One theory circulating among prominent Republicans is that Epstein was a Mossad agent. Another is that the George W. Bush White House directed Acosta not to prosecute Epstein to protect Prince Andrew on behalf of the British government, then the U.S.’s closest ally in the Iraq war. “The royal family did everything they could to try and discredit the Prince Andrew stuff,” Boies told me. “When we tried to follow up with anything, we were stonewalled. We wanted to interview him, they were unwilling to do anything.”
The stuff about Prince Andrew is… disturbing. But I sort of wonder if George W. Bush – or the Bush DOJ – would actually shut down the Epstein investigation just to protect the Queen’s favorite son. I mean, really? I do believe that the palace and the Queen herself did a lot to insulate the Duke of York though.
Various female victims have been trying to get justice in civil court for years, and their lawsuits and depositions have been part of the movement to prosecute Epstein for a while now. Some of the lawyers working those civil cases are quoted throughout the VF piece and even though they’ve spent years investigating Epstein, he’s still largely a riddle, and they still haven’t figured out how he made his fortune. Everyone seems to agree that Epstein was a serial predator who has raped and abused dozens – if not hundreds – of girls. The document dump should be interesting and horrifying.
Morning Joe dug up footage of Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein at Mar-a-Lago in 1992 pic.twitter.com/3T4l2enrqc
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 17, 2019
Photos courtesy of Getty.