What do the Jeffrey Epstein documents reveal about his ties to Trump?

Prior to his stint as commander-in-chief, Mr Trump was known to have met the disgraced financier on multiple occasions, having been pictured with him at events

Mike Bedigan
Los Angeles
Saturday 06 January 2024 14:25 GMT
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Fox News crops Donald Trump out of Jeffrey Epstein photo

Having once described Jeffrey Epstein as “a terrific guy”, it was perhaps unsurprising that Donald Trump was among the high-profile people to be named in the first batch of unsealed court documents containing information on associates of the late paedophile.

Prior to his stint as commander-in-chief, Mr Trump was known to have met the disgraced financier on multiple occasions, having been pictured with him at events – though their relationship had ups-and-downs after a reported falling out in the 1990s.

Along with his ex-wife Marla Maples and children Tiffany and Eric, the former president flew on Epstein’s private jets multiple times, first appearing on flight logs in 1993. He also spoke of his friendship with him, telling New York Magazine in 2002 that he has “known Jeff for fifteen years.”

“He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life,” he told the magazine.

Mr Trump is named in the documents four times. However, there is no indication that he has committed any wrongdoing and he has not been charged with involvement in Epstein’s crimes.

Prior to his stint as commander-in-chief, Mr Trump was known to have met the disgraced financier on multiple occasions, having been pictured with him at events
Prior to his stint as commander-in-chief, Mr Trump was known to have met the disgraced financier on multiple occasions, having been pictured with him at events (Getty Images)

In testimony included in the documents, Johanna Sjoberg, an alleged victim of the financier, claimed Epstein once “called up” Mr Trump and visited one of his casinos after his private plane was diverted to Atlantic City in New Jersey.

Ms Sjoberg said that while travelling on the plane with Epstein, the pilots had said that they were unable to land in New York as planned. “Jeffrey said, ‘Great, we’ll call up Trump and we’ll go to -- I don’t recall the name of the casino, but -- we’ll go to the casino’,” the testimony read.

Ms Sjoberg testified that she and Ms Giuffre went to Mr Trump’s casino. However, she testified that she has never met Mr Trump and never gave him a massage or engaged in any sexual relations with him.

Epstein and Mr Trump were friendly in the 1990s, with prosecutors for Ghislaine Maxwell – Epstein’s alleged former girlfriend and accomplice – describing the pair as “partners in crime”. Footage from November 1992 showed Mr Trump partying with Epstein at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Despite this closeness both previously said they suffered a falling out – the reasons for which are unknown. It happened before Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008.

But when Mr Trump embarked on his 2016 presidential campaign, Epstein said he thought he could win and reportedly later boasted that he knew several people in Mr Trump’s elite circle and “several potential cabinet members.”

Mr Trump and Epstein reportedly fell out in the 1990s
Mr Trump and Epstein reportedly fell out in the 1990s (EPA)

Last year, a new report revealed that Epstein had arranged several meetings with people close to Mr Trump during his 2016 campaign. Emails and schedules reviewed by the Wall Street Journal showed he invited real estate investor Thomas Barrack and billionaire Peter Thiel, both Trump campaign backers, to gatherings with former Russian United Nations Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

Despite this alleged rekindling of their associations, Mr Trump once again distanced himself from Epstein when Epstein was arrested in 2019. At the time the former president claimed they had not spoken in about 15 years.

“I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you,” he said.

A Trump spokesman told the WSJ in a statement that “none of these people were Trump campaign officials, and in fact President Trump banned Epstein from Mar-a-Lago.”

Mr Trump also reportedly enjoyed a close relationship with Maxwell, who was convicted of sex-trafficking in 2021, and sentenced to 20 years behind bars. Numerous photographs showed Mr Trump socialising with Maxwell out on the town in New York, at Anand Jon’s September 2000 fashion show, and another with Melania Trump and Epstein at Mar-a-Largo the same year.

Following her arrest in 2020, he told reporters he “wished her well,” adding: “her boyfriend was either killed or committed suicide in jail. She’s now in jail. Yeah, I wish her well.”

Mr Trump has not responded directly to being named in the documents on Wednesday. Instead, on Thursday morning he took to his social media platform TruthSocial to post a barrage of unrelated posts including endorsements for his presidential campaign and attacks on US author E Jean Carroll.

Despite his personal silence, some of Mr Trump’s supporters celebrated the fact that the trove of documents released on Wednesday did not accuse him of any illegal activity.

His son, Donald Trump Jr, tweeted: “The left is so much more upset that Trump isn’t on the Epstein Island list than they are with the actual democrat elite pedophiles who are on the list & who took part in child molestation.”

Several X users mocked Don Jr for appearing to ignore his father’s mention in the documents and his connections to the late financier. “But he is on the list,” came one simple reply.

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