Release of Epstein court documents creates more questions than answers

Epstein court files name 200 people

Former presidents, Hollywood directors and famous astrophysicists are named in court documents related to sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, although those hoping for a smoking gun will be bitterly disappointed by the first of several releases.

The documents, previously redacted and confidential, were filed in a 2015 lawsuit against Epstein’s partner Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2022.

Several high-profile individuals were named in the highly anticipated release, including Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew.

Included in the documents is testimony from Johanna Sjoberg, a victim of Maxwell and Epstein, who said Epstein had told her that former president Bill Clinton “liked them young,” and she was forced to sit on Prince Andrew’s lap.

“They put the puppet on Virginia’s lap, and I sat on Andrew’s lap,” the testimony said.

“They put the puppet’s hand on Virginia’s breast, and Andrew put his hand on my breast, and they took a photo.”

More documents are expected to be unsealed and released in the coming weeks, pending challenges from people named within.

Prince Andrew, who is eighth in line for the British throne, was stripped of most of his royal titles due to his association with the now-dead financier and settled with an Australian woman who has accused him of sexual assault, but has denied any wrongdoing.


Prince Andrew has previously denied he recalls even meeting his accuser, Virginia Giuffre, despite photo evidence. Photo: Getty

Clinton, known to have taken several trips on Epstein’s infamous private jet, appears by name 73 times in the first trove of documents, although he isn’t the only ex-president to be named.

The rich and powerful

Donald Trump, a regular fixture in New York’s socialite scene during his days as a property developer, was named several times in the documents, but was not accused of any wrongdoing.

Trump has previously commented that Epstein was “a terrific guy,” and that he was “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,” Trump told New Yorker Magazine in 2002.

“No doubt about it: Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Donald and Melania Trump were just two of the celebrities to party with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Photo: Getty

Epstein was convicted of producing a child for prostitution in 2008, but was given a ‘sweetheart deal’ by US attorney Alexander Acosta.

Acosta later claimed he was told Epstein “belonged to intelligence” and should be left alone.

Acosta was later nominated by Trump to be Labor Secretary and appointed to the role in 2017, but resigned after Epstein’s arrest in July 2019 led to greater scrutiny of the legal immunity gifted to a convicted sex trafficker.

A judge later found that the rights of Epstein’s victims had been violated after the agreement was concealed from them.

Dozens of women have alleged that Epstein and Maxwell hired them as masseurs despite having little to no experience, before pressuring them into sexual acts with the pair and other visitors on Epstein’s private island and jet.

Dead man walking

Born in Brooklyn to a middle-class family, Epstein worked originally as a teacher before moving into banking and finance.

In the 1980s, he conducted business with Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian businessman who was the middleman in the Iran-Contra Affair and the sale of Israeli weapons to Iran.

Epstein had many famous friends and associates, including those named in the documents like Stephen Hawking.

An FBI and New York police taskforce arrested him for a second time in 2019 on sex trafficking charges.

Epstein died in remarkably controversial circumstances that have fuelled distrust in the official position that he hung himself in his prison cell.

Epstein was found dead in his cell while awaiting trial, in what was described by then Attorney General Bill Barr as “a perfect storm of screw-ups”.

Former US Attorney General William Barr’s father was headmaster of the school where Epstein started teaching. Photo: Getty

Despite being on suicide watch, both guards on duty claimed to have fallen asleep – and were later charged with multiple cases of falsifying records – and the cameras in front of his cell ‘malfunctioned’ and failed to capture any footage.

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