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Jeffrey Epstein

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Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein at Harvard University.jpg
Born Jeffrey Edward Epstein
(1953-01-20) January 20, 1953 (age 63)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Residence Little Saint James, U.S. Virgin Islands
Palm Beach, Florida
New York City
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Occupation Financier
Owner, Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation

Jeffrey Edward Epstein (born January 20, 1953) is an American financier and sex offender.[1] He worked at Bear Stearns early in his career and then formed his own firm, J. Epstein & Co. In 2008, Epstein was convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution, for which he served 13 months in prison.[2]

Early life

Epstein was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a middle-class Jewish family. Epstein's father worked for New York City's parks.[3]

Epstein attended Lafayette High School. He attended classes at Cooper Union from 1969 to 1971 and later at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU. He left without a degree.[citation needed]

Career

Epstein taught calculus and physics at the Dalton School in Manhattan from 1973 to 1975.[4] One of his pupils was the son of Bear Stearns chairman Alan C. Greenberg.[3]

In 1976, Epstein began his financial career as an options trader at Bear Stearns,[4] where he worked in the special products division, advising high-net-worth clients on tax strategies.[4] In 1980, Epstein became a partner at Bear Stearns.[4] In 1982, Epstein founded his own financial management firm, J. Epstein & Co., managing the assets of clients with more than $1 billion in net worth. In 1987, Leslie Wexner, founder and chairman of Ohio-based The Limited chain of women's clothing stores became a well-known client.[4] Wexner acquired Abercrombie & Fitch the following year, and in 1992 converted a private school into an enormous residence that later became Epstein's in the wealthiest part of Manhattan, the Upper East Side. In 1996, Epstein changed the name of his firm to the Financial Trust Company and based it on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.[4]

In 2003, Epstein bid for New York magazine. Other bidders were advertising executive Donny Deutsch, investor Nelson Peltz, media mogul and New York Daily News publisher Mortimer Zuckerman, and film producer Harvey Weinstein. They were ultimately outbid by longtime Wall Street investor Bruce Wasserstein, who paid $55 million.[5] In 2004, Epstein and Zuckerman committed up to $25 million to finance Radar, a celebrity and pop culture magazine founded by Maer Roshan. Epstein and Zuckerman were equal partners in the venture, and Roshan, as its editor-in-chief, retained a small ownership stake.[6]

In September 2002, Epstein flew Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker to Africa in his private Boeing 727.[4][7]

Epstein is also a longtime friend of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and has partied with celebrities such as Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, Charlie Rose, and Woody Allen.[8]

Residences

Epstein's New York home is reported[by whom?] to be the largest private residence in Manhattan, having been built as the Birch Wathen School. The 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) 9-story mansion is just off Fifth Avenue and overlooks the Frick Collection. His other properties include a villa in Palm Beach, Florida; an apartment in Paris; a 10,000-acre ranch with a hilltop mansion in Stanley, New Mexico;[9][10] and a private island near St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands called Little Saint James that includes a mansion and guest houses.

Science funding

In 2000 he established the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, which funds science research and education. Prior to 2003, Epstein's foundation funded Nowak's research at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.[4][11] In May 2003, Epstein established the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University with a $30 million gift to the university.[12] Under the direction of Martin Nowak, the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics is a graduate department that studies the evolution of molecular biology with the use of mathematics, focusing on diseases such as cancer, HIV and other viruses.

The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation has also funded genetic research leading towards advances in such fields as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, colitis and Crohn's disease.[verification needed] Epstein has given funds to the American Cancer Society, for projects such as circulating tumor cell technology, a blood test to identify genetic mutations to anti-inhibitor cancer drugs.[13]

Epstein has associated with many well-known scientific personalities, such as Gerald Edelman, Murray Gell-Mann, Stephen Hawking, Kip Thorne, Lawrence Krauss, Lee Smolin and Gregory Benford.[4][14][15] In 2006, Epstein's foundations sponsored a conference on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands with Hawking, Krauss, and Nobel laureates Gerard 't Hooft, David Gross and Frank Wilczek, covering such topics as unified gravity theory, neuroscience, the origins of language and global threats to the Earth.[15]

The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation has backed research into artificial intelligence; it had been supporting Marvin Minsky at MIT (until his death) and is supporting Ben Goertzel in Hong Kong.[16][17]

The extent of Epstein's claimed philanthropy is unknown since Epstein's foundation fails to disclose information which other charities routinely disclose. Concerns have been raised over this lack of transparency and the New York Attorney General has been trying to get information.[18]

Solicitation of prostitution

In March 2005, a woman contacted Palm Beach police and alleged her 14-year-old daughter had been taken to Jeffrey Epstein's mansion by an older girl and paid $300 after stripping and massaging him.[10] She had undressed, but left the encounter wearing her underwear.[19]

Police started an 11-month undercover investigation of Epstein, followed by a search of his home. Subsequently, they alleged that Epstein had paid several escorts to perform sexual acts on him. Interviews with five alleged victims and seventeen witnesses under oath, a high-school transcript and other items they found in Epstein's trash and home allegedly showed that some girls were under 18.[20] A search of Epstein's home found large numbers of photos of girls throughout the house, some of whom had been interviewed earlier by the police.[19] Papers filed in 2006 alleged that Epstein installed concealed cameras in numerous places on his property to record sexual activity with underage girls by prominent people for criminal purposes such as blackmail.[21]

Epstein had set up a system of young women recruiting other women for his massage services.[10] Two housekeepers stated to the police that Epstein would receive "massages" every day whenever he stayed in Palm Beach.[19] In May 2006, Palm Beach police filed a probable cause affidavit saying that Epstein should be charged with four counts of unlawful sex with minors and one molestation count.[19] His team of lawyers included Gerald Lefcourt, Alan Dershowitz and later Ken Starr.[10] Epstein passed a lie detector test in which he was asked whether he knew of the underage status of the girls—although lie detector tests are generally not admissible in a court of law.[22][23]

Instead of following police recommendation, the prosecutors considered the evidence weak[22] and presented it to a grand jury. Former chief of Palm Beach police Michael Reiter later wrote to State Attorney Barry Krischer to complain of the state's "highly unusual" conduct and asked him to remove himself from the case.[10] The grand jury returned only a single charge of felony solicitation of prostitution,[24] to which Epstein pleaded not guilty in August 2006.[25]

Sentencing

In June 2008, after pleading guilty to a single state charge of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14,[26] Epstein began serving an 18-month sentence. He served 13 months, and upon release became a registered level three (high risk of re-offense) sex offender.[27][28]

Reactions

After the accusations became public, several parties returned donations they had received from Epstein, including Eliot Spitzer, Bill Richardson,[11] and the Palm Beach Police Department.[20] Harvard University announced that it would not return any money.[11] A range of charitable donations Epstein had made financing children's education were also brought into question.[26]

On June 18, 2010, Epstein's former butler, Alfredo Rodriguez, was sentenced to 18 months incarceration on an obstruction charge for failing to turn over, and subsequently trying to sell, a journal that he said recorded Epstein's activities. FBI Special Agent Christina Pryor reviewed the material and agreed it was information "that would have been extremely useful in investigating and prosecuting the case, including names and contact information of material witnesses and additional victims".[29][30] Epstein allegedly lent girls to powerful people to ingratiate himself with them and also to get possible blackmail information.[31]

Virginia Roberts

In January 2015, a 31-year-old American woman, Virginia Roberts, alleged in a sworn affidavit that at the age of 17, she had been held as a sex slave by Epstein and he trafficked her to several people, including Prince Andrew and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. She claimed that Epstein and others had physically and sexually abused her.[32]

She alleged that the FBI may have been involved in a cover-up.[33] Roberts said she served as Epstein's sex slave from 1999 to 2002, recruiting other girls.[34] Prince Andrew, Epstein and Dershowitz all deny having sex with Roberts, and Dershowitz is taking legal action over the allegations.[35][36][37] A diary purported to belong to Roberts was published online.[38][39]

The BBC television series Panorama planned an investigation of the scandal.[40] As of 2016 no law court had tested these claims.[41]

On April 7, 2015, Judge Kenneth Marra ruled that the allegations made by Roberts against Prince Andrew had no bearing on the aim of the lawsuit to reopen Epstein's non-prosecution agreement and should be struck from the record.[42] Judge Marra made no ruling as to whether claims by Roberts are true or false.[43] Marra specifically stated that Roberts may later give evidence when the case comes to court.[44]

Civil lawsuits

On February 6, 2008, an anonymous Virginia woman filed a $50 million civil lawsuit[45] in federal court against Epstein, alleging that when she was a 16-year-old minor in 2004–2005, she was "recruited to give Epstein a massage". She claims she was taken to his mansion, where he exposed himself and had sexual intercourse with her, and paid her $200 immediately afterward.[24] A similar $50 million suit was filed in March 2008 by a different woman, who was represented by the same lawyer.[46] Several of these lawsuits were dismissed, and all other lawsuits were settled out of court.[47] Epstein made many out-of-court settlements with alleged victims, and some cases remain ongoing.[48] A December 30, 2014, federal civil suit was filed in Florida against the United States for violations of the Crime Victims' Rights Act in agreeing to the 2008 plea; it accuses Alan Dershowitz of sexually abusing a minor provided by Epstein.[49] (See Two Jane Does v. United States.) However, the allegations against Dershowitz were stricken by the judge and eliminated from the case after Dershowitz's attorney argued that they were baseless.[50] A court document alleges that Epstein ran a "sexual abuse ring", and lent underage girls to "prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders".[51]

Another woman, identified by the pseudonym "Katie Johnson",[52] filed a lawsuit in California federal court on April 26, 2016, accusing Epstein and real estate businessman Donald Trump of raping her in 1994, when she was 13 years old.[53][54][55] At the time of filing of the lawsuit, Trump was campaigning to become the Republican Party candidate for the office of U.S. President. Judges Ronnie Abrams and James C. Francis IV presided over the case against Epstein and Trump.[56] The suit was dismissed after it was determined that the address listed for "Katie Johnson" was a foreclosed abandoned home whose resident had died and the provided telephone contact information was also not a functioning contact.[53] The woman (now using the pseudonym "Jane Doe") filed a new lawsuit in June 2016, this time in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and without some of the accusations made in the initial lawsuit, including claims by the plaintiff that Trump threw money for an abortion at Johnson and that he called Epstein a "Jew bastard".[57] Following a delay caused by the accuser failing to show that the defendants had been served with formal notice of the suit,[58] the suit was then voluntarily dismissed on September 16,[59] but her lawyer said she would re-file the lawsuit and would provide an additional witness to substantiate the claims.[60] On September 30, 2016, the woman re-filed the lawsuit in New York, with an additional witness identified by the pseudonym "Joan Doe".[61][62] There was no further information available on the allegations outside the claims made anonymously by the two women, who were not made available for contact by the press.[53] Civil rights lawyer and legal analyst Lisa Bloom wrote in June 2016 that the claims by the anonymous individuals were credible.[55] However, journalist Jon Swaine reported in The Guardian in July 2016 that the "Katie Johnson" lawsuits appeared to be orchestrated by Norm Lubow, a former producer on the The Jerry Springer Show, whom he described as "an eccentric anti-Trump campaigner with a record of making outlandish claims about celebrities".[63] Two days after the woman failed to appear at an press conference announced by her attorneys, and immediately after granting an interview to The Daily Mail together with Bloom (who the Daily Mail identified as her lawyer) and allowing herself to be shown in photographs, the woman dropped her lawsuit against Epstein and Trump again on November 4, 2016.[52][64][65] The Daily Mail said they were aware of her actual identity but were honoring her request to not release her name. Her attorneys said the woman dropped her suit out of fear, based on having received "numerous threats" against her life.[52]

References

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  2. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (January 2, 2015). "Jeffrey Epstein: the billionaire paedophile with links to Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Robert Maxwell – and Prince Andrew". The Independent. Retrieved November 7, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Ward, Vicky (June 27, 2011). "The Talented Mr. Epstein". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
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  5. ^ Carr, David (December 22, 2003). "Post-Mortems for a Media Deal Undone". The New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2016. 
  6. ^ Carr, David (October 19, 2004). "Radar Magazine Lines Up Financing". The New York Times. 
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  8. ^ Harris, Paul (March 12, 2011). "Prince Andrew's link to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein taints royalty in US". The Guardian. 
  9. ^ Jennings, Trip (August 16, 2006). "Gov. to Give Away $50,000 Campaign Gift". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
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External links