Among the people closely associated with Bill and Hillary Clinton, one name stands out that has brought far greater infamy and scandal than any other. That name is of financier, philanthropist and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Some friends and protectors of the Clintons such as the UK’s Prince Andrew (who in 2013 honored Hillary Clinton for international diplomacy), television news commentator Charlie Rose or host Katie Couric might argue differently; all of them have dined at Epstein’s residence following his sex offense conviction.
But for many high-profile figures, Epstein is persona non grata and a man whose escapades have dragged his reputation through the mud and then some.
Although he hasn’t sought out media attention for a number of years, Epstein is currently facing lawsuits from a multitude of women who were underage at the time that he came to hire them for various services such as erotic massages and other unsavory acts.
The most devious of these actions seem to have been calculated to acquire incriminating evidence against some of the most powerful people in the world, including foreign leaders, former presidents, respected academics and heavyweights of the financial world whose money it seems Epstein has an endless supply of. In fact, when one looks at the entirety of the Epstein tale, it is somewhat incredible that the full of extent of it hadn’t been revealed earlier.
Epstein, now 63, started professionally as a whiz kid and social climber who in his 20s went from teaching math at one of New York City’s most elite prep schools to being an options trader at Bear Stearns, one of the premier investment banks in the city.
This was after he made connections to the bank’s chairman, Alan “Ace” Greenberg, by teaching both his son and daughter at the highly-regarded Dalton School in the early 1970s.
By 1980, Epstein had risen to the level of limited partner at Bear Stearns, no doubt helped by his personal connections to both the firm’s Chairman and its pot-smoking CEO, James Cayne.
In 1982, Epstein left abruptly to start his own firm financially advising some of the wealthiest people in New York and in the country. The circumstances of his departure are less than clear.
Cayne says that Epstein left Bear Stearns of his own volition, but a lengthy article in Vanity Fair in 2003 paints a different picture, suggesting that Epstein was about to be investigated for insider trading.
Certainly, in his last two years at the firm, Epstein had been given wide latitude to act independently and make questionable business deals, including with now-disgraced and previously-imprisoned Ponzi schemer Steven Jude Hoffenberg, who was for a brief time the owner and publisher of the New York Post.
Many people who knew Epstein at the time say he learned quite a lot from wheeler-and-dealer Hoffenberg, who had hired the former as an advisor at the rate of $25,000 per month.
Speaking for himself, Epstein claimed that his clients — who he has never named to this day, save one — were exclusively billionaires and that they trusted him implicitly with their money. How much money Epstein managed and how many clients he dealt with have remained closely-guarded secrets.
However, in the same Vanity Fair article, questions were raised by heavyweight stock and commodities brokers in the city who had never heard Epstein’s name mentioned once attached to a trade, despite the financier supposedly taking extremely large positions on an almost daily basis.
The article goes on to say that the computers and associated electronic equipment that such an ambitious and busy market mover would be required to have seemed to be entirely absent from his office in his enormous residence on Manhattan’s East 71st Street.
In fact, this residence has been the subject of articles unto itself as it’s the largest private residence in New York City, at 51,000 square feet spread over nine stories, outclassing even the gargantuan homes of financial titans David Rockefeller or George Soros.
Epstein’s residence, which was formerly a private school that was converted in 1989, was originally the abode of L Brands Chairman Leslie Wexner, the owner of fashion stores The Limited and Victoria’s Secret.
Wexner, a billionaire and the wealthiest man in Ohio, is thought to be one of Epstein’s first private clients and the only one who has openly admitted a financial-advisory relationship.
The longstanding partnership between the two men may go deeper than just money management; public records show that Epstein was a trustee of Wexner’s foundation that owns the 71st Street property, despite the fact that Epstein has claimed he owns the property outright.
Besides the Manhattan property, Epstein is the owner of a 7,500-acre ranch and hilltop mansion in Stanley, New Mexico, a villa in Palm Beach, an apartment in Paris, a Boeing 727, a Gulfstream IV private jet, a helicopter, multiple high-end luxury cars, and a 70-acre island in the Caribbean close to St. Thomas originally known as Little St. James, dubbed “Little St. Jeff” by the trader.
It is this sanctuary (which some gossip columnists termed “orgy island”) where the bulk of the trysts that led to Epstein’s prosecution and 18-month prison sentence occurred. And it is this island where Bill Clinton, in the company of Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking were allegedly entertained by a number of girls whose ages Epstein professed not to know but later admitted under oath were not all 18 or older.
As it turns out, Clinton and Jeffrey Epstein were no strangers. The former president had ridden in the financier’s Gulfstream jet and 727 at least a dozen times between 2002 and 2005, including to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Oslo, and Russia. As well as a jaunt to Africa where Epstein and Clinton attended events related to the Clinton Foundation’s fighting AIDS.
Actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker as well as billionaire and Clinton donor Ron Burkle went along for the ride and the free publicity that time. Also on board was American masseuse Chauntae Davies, who had worked for a softcore pornography company some years earlier. On at least one other flight Clinton was on, model Naomi Campbell was a guest.
In fact, Epstein’s flight logs show a diverse array of celebrities, royalty, world leaders and unnamed single women in the early 2000s being transported to his multiple properties. Other politicians recorded in the logs included Al Gore, former Senator of Maine and Chairman of Walt Disney George Mitchell, former Treasury Secretary and president of Harvard University Larry Summers and Isreali defense secretary Ehud Barak.
In court records, Epstein was shown to have had detailed contact information for a virtual Who’s Who of movers and shakers in the worlds of politics, media and entertainment, including members of the Kennedy family, former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, movie director Woody Allen among many, many others.
When Epstein was ultimately prosecuted for soliciting prostitutes (the trial was held in Florida, where one of his accusers lived), he was forced to admit that the young women who serviced him and his guests were as young as 14 at the time.
And rather than a one-time affair, it seems that Epstein’s courting and keeping of a small harem of such girls was a practice that had been ongoing for years. Many of Epstein’s current and former friends and acquaintances related this information, both at his trial and in the press.
It seems that Epstein had (and continues to have) a close relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell, the adult daughter of the late disgraced media titan and competitor of Rupert Murdoch, Robert Maxwell.
The younger Maxwell (until at least 2010 a friend of the Clintons as well, who attended Chelsea Clinton’s wedding) held parties at houses in Manhattan and London where she recruited and presented suitable girls to Epstein and his elite acquaintances.
One of Epstein’s VIP friends was Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, brother of Britain’s Prince Charles. Epstein struck up an acquaintance with Andrew through Maxwell in the 1990s.
So close were Andrew and Epstein that Andrew continued to be seen with the fallen financial whiz even after his criminal conviction, against the edict of the royal family. Epstein’s list of contacts included 16 different phone numbers for Andrew.
There may have been a reason for this continued amity. As was revealed in The Guardian newspaper in 2015, a young woman named Virginia Roberts claimed to have had sex separately with both Andrew and with Epstein when she was between the ages of 15 and 19.
Roberts claimed it was Epstein who introduced her to the Prince and had asked her to perform such services in exchange for $15,000, an amount she had recorded precisely after keeping records of their trysts for years in a diary.
In fact, Roberts’ diary was not the only evidence that was revealed at Epstein’s original trial. As it turned out, Epstein had allegedly installed cameras and surveillance devices at his properties. This included his compound in Palm Beach which record the goings-on between the underage women and his powerful friends.
In light of this, one begins to wonder whether the source of Epstein’s material trappings is indeed financial advice or if he is providing (or offering to withhold) other information of interest.
During Epstein’s jail term, he was visited by Clinton friend and attorney Arnold Prosperi. Prosperi had been convicted of tax fraud and was facing a three-year prison term when Clinton commuted his sentence to house arrest in the last hours of the president’s term of office. What was the purpose of Prosperi’s visit? No records of their conversations exist.
Initially, court records of Epstein’s trial were sealed, protecting the names of Epstein’s powerful friends. That was until Virginia Roberts’ brought a lawsuit against the U.S. government in 2014 that forced some of the case files to be made public.
The files revealed the relationship with the English Prince among other high profile names. In all, prosecutors say that no fewer than 34 minors (three as young as 12) were involved in the original case.
Most legal experts agree that Epstein at that time escaped with an extremely lenient sentence, mostly due to prosecutorial mishandling of the case. Epstein served his jail time in the private section of the rarified Palm Beach prison where the warden let him out on occasion for periods of up to 16 hours at a stretch.
For his part, Prince Andrew denied Roberts’ charges, but the case led to other lawsuits being subsequently filed by at least three other women who had served Epstein and his friends in similar ways.
Was Bill Clinton one of those friends who had received sexual favors? Roberts claimed that at least Dershowitz was, to which the lawyer filed a defamation suit against Roberts, claiming never to have met her. Flight logs showed that Dershowitz had been on Epstein’s jets starting five years earlier than Clinton.
Roberts described in great detail a dinner with Clinton and two underage Russian girls who had been offered to the former president for sex. Dershowitz testified that it might have been possible that Clinton engaged in sexual activities with girls while staying on Epstein’s island concurrent to Dershowitz’s stay there.
Certainly, both men couldn’t have helped but notice the extraordinarily young ages of the girls at the Epstein’s residence and at the various social functions that Epstein had hosted. Coteries of young women (often Eastern European or Russian) were present all day and night.
Roberts claims that pictures of naked young women, including herself, were scattered throughout Epstein’s properties, as were photos of the financier shaking hands with world dignitaries.
Unlike Prince Andrew (with whom the Clintons still associate with), Bill Clinton cut off contact with Jeffrey Epstein in 2005.
But the story of his friendship with the trader hadn’t really been exposed to the media until 2015 when many unpleasant questions began to be asked.
Just how long had Clinton known Epstein? What favors had the men done for each other? How many times had Clinton visited Little St. James?
What happened on the flights to and from the island (known by some of Epstein’s friends as “the Lolita Express”) or at other locations when Clinton accepted Epstein’s generous offers of free private transportation?
Had Democratic Party donor Epstein secured benefactors for Bill and Hillary’s notorious Clinton Foundation? None of these questions seem to have been satisfactorily answered yet in the press.
With further lawsuits pending (some have been filed in the amounts of tens of millions of dollars in damages while Epstein has made 17 out-of-court settlements), only the tip of the evidentiary iceberg may have been revealed at present.
Whether sex scandal-ridden Bill Clinton has post-presidential notches to reveal on his bedposts isn’t yet known, but certainly, the media should be raising the issue of his criminal friends before he possibly returns to the White House in 2017.
As Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus said last year to Bloomberg Businessweek, “I’d like to know what he was doing with Jeffrey Epstein, how many trips did he take, where was he going, what did he do when he was with this guy… When you hang out with a guy who has a reputation like Jeffrey Epstein, multiple times, on private jets, on weekends, on trips, on places at least where it’s been reported not very good things happen, it would be good to know what our former president was doing, especially because it appears he’s going to be part of a campaign ticket on the other side of the aisle.”