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Naomi Campbell breaks silence on ties to Jeffrey Epstein: 'What he's done is indefensible'

Financier pleaded not guilty to federal charges of sex trafficking

Sarah Young
Thursday 22 August 2019 09:56 BST
Naomi Campbell discusses Jeffrey Epstein

Naomi Campbell has addressed her ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, admitting she is “sickened’ by his “indefensible” crimes.

The British supermodel spoke out to defend herself after it emerged she had met the convicted sex offender at her 31st birthday party back in 2001.

Epstein, who died by suicide on 10 August, was a wealthy businessman with links to the higher ranks of US society.

At the time of his death, he had pleaded not guilty to federal charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14 across his properties in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.

Before his arrest on 6 July 2019, Epstein had served 13 months in custody in Florida in 2008-2009 after a state court found him guilty of soliciting a minor for prostitution.

On Wednesday, Campbell posted a YouTube video to her channel, in which she responded to a series of questions about her ties to Epstein from an unidentified, off-screen reporter.

Addressing her first meeting with the well-connected financier 18 years ago, Campbell explained that she was introduced to Epstein by her ex-boyfriend Flavio Briatore, adding that he was also often “front and centre at Victoria’s Secret shows”.

When asked if she was aware of Epstein’s crimes, the 49-year-old model denied all knowledge, stating: “No. And what he's done is indefensible.

“When I had heard what he had done, it sickened me to my stomach just like everybody else because I've had my fair share of sexual predators, just like everybody else.

“Right now I stand with the victims. I can't... they're scarred for life. For life.”

During the interview, Campbell emphasised the philanthropic work of her charity Fashion For Relief, which she co-founded in 2005, adding that she would not let her links to Epstein “undermine all the wonderful and great work” her team have done over the years.

“The frightening conclusion here is that if the negative action of your neighbour, colleague, or even an associate, can somehow make you guilty too, simply by association, then we indeed live in very worrying times,” Campbell concluded.

“This affects us all. It is wrong, it's unfair, and it must be stopped.“

Epstein’s death has since prompted an investigation into the circumstances that allowed him to take his own life.

Attorney general William Barr said there were “serious irregularities” within the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York City, where Epstein was awaiting trial.

Reports have indicated that standard protocol was not met in the jail after it was determined that two guards had fallen asleep and falsified records in a log to indicate they had been checking on the financier every 30 minutes, as was required.

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