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The Epstein list: How public figures and associates have reacted to being named

After the unsealing of hundreds of documents, prominent figures tied to Jeffrey Epstein issued statements denying any wrongdoing

Andrea Blanco
Wednesday 10 January 2024 15:37 GMT
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Jeffrey Epstein documents unsealed

Hundreds of filings relating to late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein have been unsealed after a New York ordered the release of a trove of documents in the now-settled litigation between Epstein’s fixer Ghislaine Maxwell and his former victim Virginia Giuffre.

The filings include thousands of pages of motions, transcripts of depositions by Maxwell, Ms Giuffre, and victims Johana Sjoberg and Sarah Ransome, as well as detailed phone notes and incident reports from the initial investigation into Epstein’s trafficking ring by the Palm Beach Police Department in 2005.

Prominent figures, such as former US presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and several Hollywood A-listers have been mentioned in the tranches released. But even before those names were tied to the disgraced financier, Judge Loretta Preska warned that any mention did not immediately suggest wrongdoing and that “victims and absent third parties” were also included in the filings.

While some bombshell allegations have resurfaced with the recent unsealing, most of the information contained in the documents was already known to the public through the account of victims or previously released filings.

Here’s how some of the high-profile names at the centre of those allegations have responded to being named:

Richard Branson

The British billionaire and Virgin Group magnate was mentioned in filings unsealed on 8 January. In extracts of emails by Epstein victim Sarah Ransome, she claimed that Mr Branson along with Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton had sex with young women trafficked by Epstein.

Ms Ransome, who gave a victim impact statement ahead of Maxwell’s sex-trafficking sentencing in 2021, appeared to write communications claiming the three were filmed by the paedophile financier having intercourse. The allegations contained in Ms Ransome’s emails were flagged by a firm representing Epstein’s lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, to demonstrate Ms Ransome “manifestly lacks credibility”.

Those claims were debunked in a 2019 New Yorker article in which Ms Ransome admitted that she “invented the tapes to draw attention to Epstein’s behaviour, and to make him believe that she had “evidence that would come out if he harmed me.”

A spokesperson for Mr Branson told The Independent: “We can confirm that Sarah Ransome’s claims are baseless and unfounded.”

Bill Clinton

In a 2016 deposition, victim Johana Sjoberg was questioned about whether Epstein had ever mentioned former president Bill Clinton. She testified that Epstein had once remarked that Clinton “likes them young, referring to girls”.

Previously, Mr Clinton’s spokesperson, in 2019, denied claims made about his involvement with Epstein.

Mr Clinton has since issued a fresh denial of any ties to Epstein.

“It’s been nearly 20 years since President Clinton last had contact with Epstein,” his spokesperson, Angel Ureña, told PEOPLE.

In the second batch of documents a 2011 email from Ms Giuffre to journalist Sharon Churcher, included an accusation that Bill Clinton had threatened Vanity Fair reporters about writing stories on Epstein.

Graydon Carter, a former longtime editor at the magazine, told The DailyTelegraph that the incident never took place. There are no other reports or evidence to substantiate the claims raised by Ms Giuffre in her email.

“This categorically did not happen,” Mr Carter said.

Donald Trump

Ms Sjoberg also claimed that she was once on a private plane with Epstein when it made an unexpected stop in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She said that Epstein mentioned: “Great, we’ll call Trump.” She mentioned that Epstein suggested that they visit Mr Trump’s casino.

Elsewhere, Ms Sjoberg was asked if she ever gave Mr Trump a massage, to which she replied “no”.

In the batch of documents released on 5 January, former Epstein employee Juan Alessi made reference to Mr Trump’s visits.

Asked if the former president ever stayed at Epstein’s residence in Palm Beach, Mr Alessi replied: “No, never… He would come, and have dinner. He never sat at the table. He [would] eat with me in the kitchen.

When asked if Mr Trump ever had a massage at the house, Mr Alessi replied: “No. Because he’s got his own spa.”

In 2019, when asked about his relationship with Epstein following the financier’s arrest, Mr Trump said he “knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him”. But the former president added: “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”

Steve Cheung, a spokesperson for Mr Trump, recently told Newsweek that any allegations tying the former president with Epstein have been “thoroughly debunked.”

Glenn Dubin

Ms Giuffre claimed in a 2016 deposition that she was trafficked to have sex with several men, including American billionaire Tom Pritzker, the chairman of the Hyatt Hotels, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and investor and Robin Hood Foundation co-founder Glenn Dubin.

The Dubin’s butler, Renaldo Rizzo, also testified in a deposition that he was at their house when Maxwell brought along a 15-year-old girl with her.

Mr Rizzo claimed the girl told her in tears that Maxwell had taken her passport and forced her to have sex with Epstein on Little St James.

A spokesperson for Mr Dubin also told The Independent in a statement: “The Dubins strongly deny these allegations, as we first said in 2019, when these unsubstantiated statements first surfaced as part of this same civil court proceeding.”

Tom Pritzker

A spokesperson for Mr Pritzker told The Independent that he first rejected Ms Giuffre’s allegations in 2019 and “continues to vehemently deny” them.

Prince Andrew

Ms Sjoberg has previously accused Prince Andrew of groping her breast in Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

Buckingham Palace has vehemently denied her allegations. In 2022, the royal settled a suit claiming sexual abuse that was filed by another accuser, Ms Giuffre.

In a deposition, Sjoberg claimed that Prince Andrew “put his hand on my breast”. Ms Sjoberg also claimed that during an encounter with Maxwell, Prince Andrew and Ms Giuffre in 2001, Maxwell gifted the prince a caricature puppet that looked like him. The incident Ms Sjoberg took place at Maxwell’s Mayfair home, where an infamous picture of Ms Giuffre, Andrew and Maxwell was also taken that night.

Prince Andrew has previously said he has no recollection of that night.

“And they decided to take a picture with it, in which Virginia and Andrew sat on a couch,” Ms Sjoberg said in the deposition. “They put the puppet on Virginia’s lap, and I 2 sat on Andrew’s lap, and they put the puppet’s hand on Virginia’s breast, and Andrew put his hand on my breast, and they took a photo.”

Buckingham Palace, which has not represented Prince Andrew since 2019, has stayed silent following the unsealing of new documents in the Giuffre v Maxwell case. A source close to Andrew told The Mirror that he had been left “devastated” by the resurfaced allegations.

“He doesn’t have the emotional bandwidth to deal with this,” the source reportedly said. “He has locked himself away in a room and has no idea how to respond. He’s devastated.”

Les Wexner

The allegations against the former Victoria’s Secret CEO and founder of L Brands emerged in a 2016 deposition by Ms Giuffre.

Although Ms Giuffre had previously alleged she had been trafficked to other high-profile figures, it is the first time that allegations have emerged that Mr Wexner had sex with underage girls.

Ms Giuffre claimed that she was trafficked to have sex with Mr Wexner between three and ten times during the time that she was recruited by Epstein and Maxwell. Ms Giuffre said that she was instructed by Maxwell to wear lingerie for Mr Wexner – which Maxwell went on to categorically deny in her own deposition.

When asked why she had said in a previous interrogation by police that she didn’t believe Mr Wexner would say the truth, Ms Giuffre said that it was because he had done “things that were wrong.”

“He participated in sex with minors,” Ms Giuffre elaborated.

Mr Wexner has previously denied any involvement in Epstein’s sex trafficking ring. The Independent has reached out to L Brands group for comment.

“Mr. Wexner was unaware of, and was never a participant in, any of the abhorrent behavior engaged in by Epstein against Epstein’s victims, that Mr. Wexner had never met Ms. Guiffre, and that any claims to the contrary were not true,” a spokesperson told Business Insider.

Robert F Kennedy Jr

Mr Kennedy revealed last September during an appearance on Fox News that he had flown on Epstein’s plane on two occasions.

Appearing on NewsNation’s Dan Abrams Live before Mr Alessi’s deposition was unsealed, Mr Kennedy said he was not concerned that information from the unsealed filings would taint his public image.

“I like what’s happening today. I like the fact that all these papers are being released. I’ve been an advocate for transparency. I think the government keeps too many secrets,” Mr Kennedy said. “I think it’s important for the American public to know whether Jeffrey Epstein had some kind of corrupt influence on public officials or any public figure.”

Mr Kennedy was also brought up during a deposition by Mr Alessi, who said the presidential hopeful was one of Epstein’s guests at his Palm Beach, Florida home. A spokesperson for his campaign told The Independent that Mr Kennedy was never a guest, nor did he stay overnight at Epstein’s home.

“He flew on his plane twice, both times with his wife and children and both over a decade before any allegations were made against Epstein,” the statement read. “Those trips took place approximately 30 years ago, long before Mr. Epstein’s criminal behavior was public knowledge. Those charges became public for the first time in 2006.”

The trips ocurred while Mr Kennedy was married to his then-wife Mary Kennedy, who died by suicide in 2012

The statement continued: “Mary knew Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell learned that the Kennedys were going to Palm Beach for Easter and offered their family a ride.

“Mr Kennedy adds his voice to those demanding clarity about all of Mr Epstein’s nefarious activities including the identities of powerful partners or shady entities who may have enabled or participated in his crimes.

“Mr Kennedy supports the release of all of Epstein’s business and personal records including completely unredacted flight logs, which might contribute to the public’s understanding of Mr Epstein’s sexual abuse of minors and his suspicious death.”

Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz was mentioned in the first two tranches of released documents. A Jane Doe claimed that Epstein instructed her to have sex with Dershowitz, which the former Harvard Law Professor has previously denied.

“Epstein required Jane Doe #3 to have sexual relations with Dershowitz on numerous occasions while she was a minor, not only in Florida but also on private planes, in New York, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” an excerpt of the filings by the plaintiff’s attorneys read.

Following accusations by Ms Giuffre that she had been trafficked to have sex with Mr Dershowitz, contentious legal battles between the pair rumbled on for the next three years. In November 2022, Ms Giuffre admitted that she may have made a mistake in identifying Mr Dershowitz as one of her abusers. Lawsuits were then dismissed on both sides.

Mr Dershowitz previously denied allegations in 2015 that he had sex with an underage girl. In a response just hours after the first tranche of filings were unsealed, Mr Dershowitz again denied those allegations.

“Of course I’m on that list, I was his lawyer. I flew on his plane,” Mr Dershowitz said during a YouTube livestream that he titled “The Epstein list and guilt by association.” “I had an innocent relationship with a man who I didn’t know, nobody suspected, had done anything wrong.”

Mr Dershowitz glossed over his role in helping secure Epstein’s 2008 secret “sweetheart” plea deal on charges of procuring a child for prostitution and soliciting prostitution, which landed Epstein in a private wing of the Palm Beach County Stockade for just 13 months. Three months into his sentence, Epstein was allowed to leave the jail through a “work-release program.”

Cameron Diaz, Cate Blanchett and Leonardo DiCaprio

Blanchett and DiCaprio’s names were mentioned in a witness statement citing a false press report claiming the witness had met them.

They are not accused of any wrongdoing. When asked during a deposition if she had met them, Ms Sjoberg claimed that Epstein would “name-drop” but she had never met the Hollywood stars or seen them with Epstein.

Diaz’s representative told The Independent: “Cameron never met Jeffrey Epstein, nor was she ever in the same place as him or had any association with him whatsoever, regardless of the fact he may or may not have mentioned her name or implied that he knew her.

Reps for DiCaprio and Blanchett have also denied any involvement with the paedophile.

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