UNITED STATES NEWS

Dozens more Jeffrey Epstein documents are now public. Here’s what we know so far

Jan 3, 2024, 10:43 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — The release of dozens of previously sealed court documents from a lawsuit involving Jeffrey Epstein might disappoint online sleuths who anticipated explosive new information.

The nearly 200 documents released as of Friday largely mention figures whose names were already known, including high-profile friends of Epstein’s and victims who have spoken publicly. In fact, the judge who made the call last month to release the information said she was doing so largely because much of it is already public.

The plan to release the documents had prompted rumors that they contained a list of “clients” or “co-conspirators,” and misinformation about their contents is continuing to run rampant on social media.

Still, the records do include fresh details about the financier’s sexual abuse of teenage girls, and offer a reminder of how he leveraged his powerful connections to recruit his victims and help cover up his crimes.

The documents unsealed this week are the latest of thousands previously made public in lawsuits involving Epstein.

Here’s what we know about the documents released so far:

WHO IS JEFFREY EPSTEIN?

A millionaire known for associating with celebrities, politicians, billionaires and academic stars, Epstein became the subject of a police investigation in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2005 after he was accused of paying a 14-year-old girl for sex. He was arrested in 2006.

Dozens of other underage girls described similar sexual abuse, but prosecutors ultimately allowed the financier to plead guilty in 2008 to a charge involving a single victim. He served 13 months in a jail work-release program.

Some famous acquaintances abandoned Epstein after his conviction, including former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, but many did not. Epstein continued to mingle with the rich and famous for another decade, often through philanthropic work.

Reporting by the Miami Herald renewed interest in the scandal, and federal prosecutors in New York charged Epstein in 2019 with sex trafficking. He killed himself in jail while awaiting trial.

The U.S. attorney in Manhattan then prosecuted Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell for helping recruit his underage victims. She was convicted in 2021 and is serving a 20-year prison term.

WHAT ARE THESE RECORDS ABOUT?

The documents being unsealed are part of a 2015 lawsuit filed against Maxwell by one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre. She is one of the dozens of women who sued Epstein saying he had abused them at his homes in Florida, New York, the U.S. Virgin Islands and New Mexico.

Giuffre said the summer she turned 17, she was lured away from a job as a spa attendant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club to become a “masseuse” for Epstein — a job that involved performing sexual acts.

Giuffre also claimed she was pressured into having sex with men in Epstein’s social orbit, including Britain’s Prince Andrew, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell and the billionaire Glenn Dubin, among others. All of those men said her accounts were fabricated.

Giuffre settled a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in 2022. That same year, Giuffre withdrew an accusation she had made against Epstein’s former attorney, the law professor Alan Dershowitz, saying she “ may have made a mistake ” in identifying him as an abuser.

Giuffre’s lawsuit against Maxwell was settled in 2017, but the Miami Herald went to court to access court papers initially filed under seal, including transcripts of interviews the lawyers did with potential witnesses.

About 2,000 pages were unsealed by a court in 2019. Additional documents were released in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The batch currently being released contains around 250 records with sections that were blacked out or were sealed entirely because of concerns about the privacy rights of Epstein’s victims and other people whose names had come up during the legal battle but weren’t complicit in his crimes.

Nearly 200 have been released as of Friday. The judge hasn’t set a target for when all the documents should be made public, but more are expected to come.

WHAT DO THE DOCUMENTS SHOW?

U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska, who evaluated the documents to decide what should be unsealed, said in her December order that she was ordering the records released because much of the information within them is already public.

Some records have been released, either in part or in full, in other court cases.

The people named in the records include many of Epstein’s accusers, members of his staff who told their stories to tabloid newspapers, people who served as witnesses at Maxwell’s trial, people who were mentioned in passing during depositions but aren’t accused of anything salacious, and people who investigated Epstein, including prosecutors, a journalist and a police detective.

There are also boldface names of public figures known to have associated with Epstein over the years, but whose relationships with him have already been well documented elsewhere, the judge said.

One of them is Jean-Luc Brunel, a French modeling agent close to Epstein who was awaiting trial on charges that he raped underage girls when he killed himself in a Paris jail in 2022. Giuffre was among the women who had accused Brunel of sexual abuse.

His name was peppered throughout the documents released Wednesday.

Clinton and Trump both factor in the court file, partly because Giuffre was questioned by Maxwell’s lawyers about inaccuracies in newspaper stories about her time with Epstein. One story quoted her as saying she had ridden in a helicopter with Clinton and flirted with Trump. Giuffre said neither of those things actually happened. She hasn’t accused either former president of wrongdoing.

The judge said a handful of names should remain blacked out in the documents because they would identify people who were sexually abused. The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they decide to tell their stories publicly, as Giuffre has done.

WHAT MISINFORMATION IS SPREADING ABOUT THE DOCUMENTS?

In addition to false claims that the documents represent some kind of list identifying Epstein’s “clients,” the internet is rife with misinformation about exactly who is named in the records and what that means.

Ahead of the release, social media users wrongly claimed that late-night host Jimmy Kimmel’s name might appear, spurred by a joke New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers made Tuesday on ESPN’s “The Pat McAfee Show.”

Kimmel said in a response on X that he had never met Epstein and that Rodgers’ “reckless words put my family in danger.” His name did not appear in the documents released so far.

After the documents began emerging, social media users seized on names that appeared in passing, falsely suggesting it was proof of wrongdoing.

For instance, some suggested that the documents included allegations about Stephen Hawking, who died in 2018. In reality, the theoretical physicist’s name appears, misspelled, in a 2015 email Epstein sent proposing a reward be paid to anyone who could debunk a baseless claim about Hawking.

Other social media users are spreading fabricated images made to look like documents that they claim show people making allegations against Hawking and Kimmel. The quotes in the images don’t appear anywhere in the records.

___

This story has been corrected to reflect that although the Palm Beach, Florida, police investigation into Epstein began in 2005, he wasn’t arrested until 2006.

United States News

A calendar shows the month of February, including leap day, Feb. 29, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in S...

Associated Press

Have a look at the whos, whats and whens of leap year through time

NEW YORK (AP) — Leap year. It’s a delight for the calendar and math nerds among us. So how did it all begin and why? Have a look at some of the numbers, history and lore behind the (not quite) every four year phenom that adds a 29th day to February. BY THE NUMBERS The […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim greets supporters outside Central High School on the day of the r...

Associated Press

Fatigue and frustration as final do-over mayoral election looms in Connecticut’s largest city

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — It’s been nearly four months since a judge tossed out the results of a Democratic mayoral primary in Connecticut’s largest city due to allegations of ballot stuffing, sending voters repeatedly back to the polls and thrusting Bridgeport into an unflattering national spotlight. Many frustrated local voters say they just want it […]

6 hours ago

Homes are seen on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in the southwest Portland, Ore., suburb of Beaverton. Th...

Associated Press

A housing shortage is testing Oregon’s pioneering land use law. Lawmakers are poised to tweak it

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A severe lack of affordable housing has prompted Oregon lawmakers to consider chipping away at a 1970s law that made the state a national leader in leveraging land use policy to prevent suburban sprawl and conserve nature and agriculture. The so-called urban growth boundary, a sacred cow of Oregon’s liberal politics, […]

6 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

10 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Why AP called South Carolina for Trump: Race call explained

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press declared Donald Trump the winner of the South Carolina primary as soon as polls closed on Saturday. The race call was based on a comprehensive survey of South Carolina Republican primary voters that showed him defeating Nikki Haley by wide margins in her home state. Declaring a winner as […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Dozens more Jeffrey Epstein documents are now public. Here’s what we know so far