Though Ep­stein’s gone, al­le­ga­tions against pow­er­ful friends linger

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JULIE K. BROWN, VERON­ICA PENNEY, DANIEL CHANG AND SARAH BLASKEY [email protected]­ami­her­ald.com vpen­[email protected]­ami­her­ald.com [email protected]­ami­her­ald.com [email protected]­ami­her­ald.com

The sud­den death of mul­ti­mil­lion­aire Jef­frey Ep­stein on Sat­ur­day leaves loose ends, now un­likely to be re­solved, in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the sex­traf­fick­ing net­work he al­legedly ran with the help of as­so­ci­ates, in­clud­ing Bri­tish so­cialite Ghis­laine Maxwell.

Even be­fore his death, with Ep­stein be­hind bars for the past month, some of the fo­cus had shifted to oth­ers who ei­ther were aware of or pos­si­bly par­tic­i­pated in the ex­ploita­tion of un­der­age girls and young women. Ep­stein trav­eled the world, of­ten with an en­tourage of young women, and main­tained homes in Palm

Beach, Man­hat­tan, Paris, New Mex­ico and on his pri­vate is­land in the Caribbean.

Ep­stein’s so­cial and po­lit­i­cal cir­cuit in­cluded an ar­ray of the world’s top sci­en­tists, politi­cians and world lead­ers. They are now part of the ever-grow­ing scan­dal over a sex­traf­fick­ing case that has al­ready top­pled the ca­reer of Alexan­der Acosta, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s la­bor sec­re­tary, who re­signed in July over his con­tro­ver­sial han­dling of Ep­stein’s crim­i­nal case when he was a fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor in 2008.

Some of Ep­stein’s friends are now cop­ing with un­proven ac­cu­sa­tions that they had sex with one or more of the girls and young women the mul­ti­mil­lion­aire money man­ager groomed and trained as part of his al­leged sex­traf­fick­ing op­er­a­tion. The ac­cu­sa­tions were tucked into brief ref­er­ences and foot­notes in thou­sands of pages of court records un­sealed Fri­day from a law­suit brought by Ep­stein’s self-de­scribed teenage sex slave, Vir­ginia Gi­uf­fre, in 2015.

Gi­uf­fre sued Ghis­laine Maxwell in 2015 for defama­tion af­ter Maxwell is­sued a se­ries of pub­lic state­ments la­bel­ing her a liar. In 2011, Gi­uf­fre told the Daily Mail that Ep­stein and Maxwell sex­u­ally abused her and pimped her out to other wealthy busi­ness­men, politi­cians, aca­demics and world lead­ers when she was 17 years old.

The ev­i­dence in the fed­eral civil case was orig­i­nally filed un­der seal, but was un­sealed Fri­day by the court in the wake of a law­suit filed by the Mi­ami Her­ald and joined by other news or­ga­ni­za­tions. Two other par­ties, Ep­stein’s for­mer lawyer, Alan Der­showitz, and so­cial me­dia blog­ger Michael Cer­novich, were also part of an ef­fort to un­seal at least some of the court pa­pers.

In the law­suit, Gi­uf­fre claimed she was forced to have sex with a “large amount of peo­ple,” some of whom had not pre­vi­ously been named in­clud­ing New Mex­ico Gov. Bill Richard­son, for­mer Se­na­tor Ge­orge Mitchell,

Hy­att ho­tels magnate Tom Pritzker, hedge fund man­ager Glenn Du­bin, the late Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy sci­en­tist Marvin Min­sky, mod­el­ing agent Jean-Luc Brunel, Der­showitz, Prince An­drew, an­other un­named prince plus “a well-known Prime Min­is­ter.”

The al­le­ga­tions have been uni­ver­sally de­nied, in­clud­ing on Fri­day when the records were re­leased.

Some of the men, like Richard­son, had ac­cepted po­lit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions from Ep­stein, who ini­tially es­caped fed­eral charges in the case in 2008.

Gi­uf­fre also tes­ti­fied in a sworn de­po­si­tion that Trump and for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton were both friends of Ep­stein, but she did not ac­cuse ei­ther of them of sex­ual abuse or in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior. Clin­ton once “flirted” with her, Gi­uf­fre said, but Trump did not.

Ep­stein’s was the true wit­ness to the ex­tent of each named man’s in­volve­ment in his net­work. His death came prior to dis­cov­ery in the lat­est sex traf­fick­ing case brought against him in New York, where any of the men named by Gi­uf­fre could have, con­ceiv­ably, been sum­moned to ap­pear as wit­nesses.

Gi­uf­fre was re­cruited by Maxwell at Trump’s Mar-aLago club in Palm Beach, where she worked part time as a spa as­sis­tant in 2000. Gi­uf­fre claimed that, around her 17th birth­day, she was sit­ting in the spa read­ing when Maxwell ap­proached her, ask­ing her to work as a per­sonal masseuse for Ep­stein, ac­cord­ing to court records.

Gi­uf­fre had a hor­ri­fy­ing back­ground. At age 13, long be­fore meet­ing Ep­stein, she had run away from home and was traf­ficked to pe­dophiles on the streets of South Florida.

She says she was ex­cited by the prospect of trav­el­ing and learn­ing a ca­reer, so she ea­gerly ac­cepted the of­fer and started work al­most im­me­di­ately. She had no idea of the abuse that awaited her.

Gi­uf­fre, who went pub­lic in 2011, was ini­tially mis­taken about the year that she met Ep­stein, re­call­ing in­cor­rectly that she was a year younger at the time. Sub­se­quently, she learned through of­fi­cial em­ploy­ment records from the club that her time­line was off, ac­cord­ing to the records. Maxwell pointed to the in­con­sis­tency in her de­fense — some­thing Gi­uf­fre’s at­tor­neys mocked in the court pa­pers as Maxwell’s “yes-I’m-a-sex-traf­ficker-but-only-of-six­teenyear-old-girls” de­fense.

Gi­uf­fre and Maxwell, who has not been charged crim­i­nally, set­tled the case in 2017 shortly af­ter the fed­eral judge threw out Maxwell’s mo­tion for sum­mary judg­ment. But the same judge had agreed to seal nearly the en­tire file, leav­ing lin­ger­ing ques­tions about whether Maxwell and Ep­stein had been in­volved in an in­ter­na­tional sex traf­fick­ing op­er­a­tion.

Maxwell, in a de­po­si­tion, em­phat­i­cally de­nied all al­le­ga­tions that she pro­cured girls or young women for Ep­stein, and said she barely re­mem­bered Gi­uf­fre. At one point dur­ing the de­po­si­tion, Maxwell pounded her fist on a ta­ble in anger over the law­suit, through she later apol­o­gized and re­gained her com­po­sure.

All of the men with whom Gi­uf­fre was al­legedly groomed to have sex with whose names came up in the re­leased doc­u­ments have de­nied Gi­uf­fre’s ac­count, and many said they have never met Gi­uf­fre, who turned 36 on Fri­day. Her as­ser­tions were cen­tral to the case against Ep­stein, who was ar­rested in July and charged with child sex traf­fick­ing in New York.

One of the men, Mi­ami mod­el­ing re­cruiter Brunel, sued Ep­stein in 2015, claim­ing that the pub­lic­ity over Ep­stein’s case dam­aged his rep­u­ta­tion and busi­ness. Ac­cord­ing to the 2015 com­plaint, Ep­stein’s orig­i­nal con­vic­tion — he served 13 months in jail 10 years ago af­ter plead­ing guilty to mi­nor pros­tu­ti­tion charges — cost Brunel $10 mil­lion in po­ten­tial prof­its when he was “widely im­pli­cated in the me­dia as be­ing ‘linked’ to Ep­stein.” At the time, Brunel claimed all im­plied con­nec­tions to Ep­stein’s sex traf­fick­ing op­er­a­tion were “false sto­ries.”

How­ever, ex­hibits in the doc­u­ments un­sealed sug­gest Brunel par­tic­i­pated in Ep­stein’s ex­ploita­tion of un­der­age women. Copies of a mes­sage pad, where Maxwell and oth­ers al­legedly wrote down mes­sages left for him, in­cluded two from Brunel.

One mes­sage left for Ep­stein from Brunel read: “He [Brunel] has a teacher for you to teach you how to speak Rus­sian. She is 2X8 years old not blonde. Lessons are free and you can have your 1st to­day if you call.” Ac­cord­ing to the record, “2X8” is a ref­er­ence to a 16-year-old.

Brunel’s at­tor­neys did not re­spond to the Her­ald’s re­quest for com­ment.

The trove of doc­u­ments also pro­vides more in­sight into al­le­ga­tions that Prince An­drew — An­drew Al­bert Chris­tian Ed­ward, Duke of York — was pro­vided un­der­age girls by Ep­stein and Maxwell. Ac­cord­ing to Gi­uf­fre, Maxwell was act­ing as a “madam” for Ep­stein when she al­legedly asked Gi­uf­fre to have sex with Prince An­drew in Maxwell’s Lon­don apart­ment. Gi­uf­fre said she had sex with the prince at three sep­a­rate “geo­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tions.”

In a sworn state­ment, Maxwell’s at­tor­ney, Philip Bar­den, called Gi­uf­fre’s claim that she had sex with An­drew in Lon­don one of Gi­uf­fre’s “ob­vi­ous lies” in part be­cause “the sex oc­curred in what can only be de­scribed as a very small bath­tub, too small for a man of Prince An­drew’s size to en­joy a bath in let alone sex.”

In a pho­to­graph taken in the Lon­don apart­ment at the time, An­drew’s hand is around Gi­uf­fre’s bare mid­driff, as he posed with Gi­uf­fre, who was wear­ing a tiny spaghetti strap tank top. Bar­den did not ex­plain the photo.

Dur­ing an­other al­leged en­counter with the prince at Ep­stein’s New York apart­ment, An­drew, Maxwell and Gi­uf­fre were joined by Jo­hanna Sjoberg, an­other woman who claimed she was re­cruited by Maxwell. Ac­cord­ing to Sjoberg’s tes­ti­mony, that night Maxwell pro­duced a pup­pet of Prince An­drew, which she gave to Gi­uf­fre, and then placed the pup­pet’s hand on the teen’s breast. Sjoberg, who was over the age of 18, said she sat on An­drew’s lap.

“They took the pup­pet’s hands and put it on Vir­ginia’s breast, and so An­drew put his on mine,” Sjoberg said.

A photo was snapped, she said, though Sjoberg added she never saw a copy of it.

Few de­tails are in­cluded in the al­le­ga­tion against New Mex­ico Gov. Richard­son, a for­mer Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, other than that “Maxwell di­rected” Gi­uf­fre to have sex with Richard­son. Richard­son de­nied the al­le­ga­tions through a spokes­woman.

“Th­ese al­le­ga­tions and in­fer­ences are com­pletely false,” spokes­woman Madeleine Ma­hony said in a writ­ten state­ment. “Gover­nor Richard­son has never even been con­tacted by any part re­gard­ing this law­suit. To be clear, in Gover­nor Richard­son’s lim­ited in­ter­ac­tions with Mr. Ep­stein, he never saw him in the pres­ence of young or un­der­age girls. Gover­nor Richard­son has never been to Mr. Ep­stein’s res­i­dence in the Vir­gin Is­lands. Gover­nor Richard­son has never met Ms. Gi­uf­fre.”

Named in the same brief men­tion as Richard­son were Min­sky, the late cog­ni­tive sci­en­tist and co­founder of MIT’s Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence lab, and for­mer Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitchell, of Maine.

In a state­ment to the Port­land (Maine) Press Her­ald, Mitchell de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

“I have never met, spo­ken with or had any con­tact with Ms. Gi­uf­fre,” Mitchell told the Press Her­ald. “In my con­tacts with Mr. Ep­stein I never ob­served or sus­pected any in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­duct with un­der­age girls. I only learned of his ac­tions when they were re­ported in the me­dia re­lated to his pros­e­cu­tion in Florida. We have had no fur­ther con­tact.”

In 2008, Time Magazine listed Mitchell as one of the 100 most pow­er­ful peo­ple in the world.

Min­sky died in Jan­uary 2016. His es­tate has put out no state­ment re­gard­ing the al­le­ga­tions.

Gi­uf­fre said the first pow­er­ful man that Ep­stein di­rected her to have sex with was hedge fund gi­ant Du­bin, who is mar­ried to Eva An­der­s­son Du­bin, Ep­stein’s for­mer girl­friend. Du­bin’s for­mer house­man, Ri­naldo Rizzo, al­leged that a 15-year-old Swedish girl who worked for Du­bin and his wife re­turned from Ep­stein’s pri­vate is­land vis­i­bly shaken. Rizzo tes­ti­fied that the girl ex­plained through her tears that Maxwell threat­ened her when she re­fused to have sex with Ep­stein. She claimed her pass­port was taken by Sarah Kellen Vick­ers, an­other woman who worked for Ep­stein.

A spokesman for the Du­bins is­sued the fol­low­ing state­ment:

“Glenn and Eva Du­bin are ou­traged by the al­le­ga­tions in the un­sealed court records, which are demon­stra­bly false and defam­a­tory. The Du­bins have flight records and other ev­i­dence that defini­tively dis­prove that any such events oc­curred,” the spokesman, Devin Broda, said.

Hy­att’s Pritzker was men­tioned by name just once in a foot­note; how­ever the records in­cluded re­peated men­tions of Gi­uf­fre’s al­le­ga­tion that she had been sent over­seas to “have sex with the owner of a large ho­tel chain.”

In the court doc­u­ments, Gi­uf­fre al­leges Maxwell ar­ranged for her to be with the ho­tel chain owner one time in France, “around the same time that Naomi Camp­bell had a birth­day party.”

She said they had sex in a cabana that was part of a ho­tel, and that both Ep­stein and Maxwell were stay­ing there at the time.

A spokesper­son for Hy­att did not im­me­di­ately re­turn the Her­ald’s re­quest for com­ment.

UMA SANGHVI AP

Ep­stein ap­pears in court in West Palm Beach in 2008. His at­tor­neys and law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties reached a deal that sent him to jail for 13 months.

Cour­tesy of Vir­ginia Roberts

Vir­ginia Gi­uf­fre (then Roberts) poses for a photo with Prince An­drew as Ghis­laine Maxwell smiles in the back­ground. Roberts re­ports that she was lent out to the prince when she was a teenage sex slave for Ep­stein and his part­ner, Maxwell.

Ghis­laine Maxwell has been ac­cused of procur­ing un­der­age girls for Ep­stein.

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