- Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein (born January 20, 1953 in
Coney Island, New York) is an American financier, billionare and philanthropist.
Epstein was raised in
Coney Islandand attended Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, New York. He attended classes at Cooper Unionfrom 1969 to 1971 and then at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, leaving without a degree. From 1973 to 1975 he taught calculus and physics at the Dalton School. He then became a trader at Bear Stearns. In 1982 he founded his own financial management firm, J. Epstein and Co. and later called Financial Trust Co., located on his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He reportedly only takes billionaire clients; one client was his mentor and friend Les Wexnerwho recently hired Dennis Herschto replace Epstein. [cite web |url=http://blogs.reuters.com/reuters-dealzone/2008/02/11/jpmorgans-hersch-succeeds-colorful-money-manager/ |title=JPMorgan’s Hersch succeeds colorful money manager |work=" Reuters" |publisher= Thomson Reuters|date=2008-02-11]
Since all but one of his clients are anonymous, it has been speculated that Epstein's lavish lifestyle is primarily financed by Wexner.
Epstein has befriended high profile scientists such as
Leonard Susskind, Richard Axel, Gerald Edelman, Murray Gell-Mann, Ben Goertzel, and Marvin Minsky, and politicians including George J. Mitchelland Bill Clinton.Fact|date=October 2008 In September 2002 he flew Bill Clinton, Kevin Spaceyand Chris Tuckerto Africa in his private Boeing 727, to promote the ex-president's anti- AIDSefforts.
Epstein is a friend and supporter of theoretical biologist
Martin Nowak. He funded Nowak's research at the Institute for Advanced Studyin Princeton and in 2003 pledged $30 million to Harvard Universityto fund the newly created Program for Evolutionary Dynamics there which Nowak directs. [Financier pledges $30 million to support Harvard researcher, "The Associated Press", 7 February 2003] cite news |url=http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=514187 |title=Harvard to Keep Epstein Gift |work= The Harvard Crimson|location= Harvard University|date=2006-09-13. |accessdate=2007-09-13]
He is a former board member of
Rockefeller University, a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and a visiting fellow at Harvard University. He has also funded microbiologyexperiments in Bangladesh, particle physicsin South Africaand M-theoryin Indiaand was a founding member of the Scholar Rescue Fund. Epstein is a former trustee of the International Institute for Education, the parent organization of the Fulbright Program. He has held conferences on artificial intelligence, cosmologyand the origin of life with prominent scientists.Fact|date=October 2008
In addition to his private island in the Virgin Islands (Little St. James Island), Epstein owns a 50,000 square foot townhouse in
Manhattanthat was formerly owned by Les Wexner, a villa in Palm Beach, Floridaand a fortress on a ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico.cite journal |url=http://nymag.com/news/features/41826/ |title=The Fantasist |journal=New York |date=2007-12-10]
He is often accompanied on his trips and at his mansions by his close friend
Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late British publisher Robert Maxwell." [http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=483401&in_page_id=1879 Prince Andrew's friend, Ghislaine Maxwell, some underage girls and a very disturbing story] ", "The Mail On Sunday", 23 September 2007] He is also often seen surrounded by young women, some of which are employed as his personal assistants.cite journal|url=http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/n_7912/|author=Landon Thomas Jr.|title=Jeffrey Epstein: International Money Man of Mystery |journal=New York |date=2002-10-28] In September 2007 one woman described how she had been hired by Ghislaine Maxwell as a masseuse and assistant to Epstein and had engaged in sexual acts.
In March 2005, a woman contacted Palm Beach police, concerned that her 14-year-old step daughter had been molested by a wealthy man. The daughter told police that she had been paid $300 for giving a massage to Epstein in his mansion. She had told him that she was 18 years old. He had ordered her to take off her clothes; she had undressed but had left on her underwear. During the massage he had masturbated himself and had applied a vibrator to her crotch.
Police started an 11-month undercover investigation of Epstein, followed by a search of his home. Subsequently they alleged that Epstein had paid several underage girls to perform sexual acts on him. Interviews with five alleged victims and 17 witnesses under oath, phone messages, a high school transcript and other items they found in Mr. Epstein's trash and home allegedly show that he knew how young the girls were.cite web|url=http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2006/08/14/m1a_EPSTEIN_0814.html|title= Jeffrey Epstein craved big homes, elite friends - and, investigators say, underage girls|publisher=
Palm Beach Post|date=2006-08-14] A search of Epstein's home found numerous photos of nude young girls throughout the house, some of whom had been interviewed earlier by the police. He had set up a system of young women recruiting other women for his massage services, paying $200 for each referral. Two housekeepers stated to the police that Epstein would receive two to three massages per day whenever he stayed in Palm Beach. 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. [http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0726062epstein1.html Palm Beach police probable cause affidavit against Jeffrey Epstein] , "The Smoking Gun"] In a police interview, one of the girls related that she repeatedly had lesbian sex with Epstein's friend Nadia Marcinkova in his presence; she stated he "had purchased her from her family in Yugoslavia. Epstein bragged he brought her into the United States to be his Yugoslavian sex slave." [cite web |url=http://gawker.com/news/crime/exclusive-jeffrey-epsteins-sex-slave-190625.php |title=Exclusive: Jeffrey Epstein's Sex Slave |work= Gawker.com|publisher= Gawker Media|date=2006-07-28 |accessdate=2008-02-24]
His team of lawyers included
Gerald B. Lefcourt, Alan Dershowitzand later also Kenneth Starr. They stated that Epstein never knew of the under-age status of his masseuses, which was confirmed by subjecting him to a lie detector test.cite web|url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/11122007/news/nationalnews/cops_flops_letting_mogul_get_off_easy_303421.htm|title= COPS' FLOPS LETTING MOGUL GET OFF EASY|publisher= New York Post|date=2007-11-12] They also questioned the credibility of the teenage accusers, based in part on their MySpacepostings and information obtained by private investigators.cite news |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/03/us/03epstein.html |title=Questions of Preferential Treatment Are Raised in Florida Sex Case |work= The New York Times|date=2006-09-3]
Instead of following the recommendation of the police, the prosecutors considered the evidence weak and presented it to a
grand jury, an uncommon procedure in non-capital cases. The grand jury returned only a single charge of felony solicitation of prostitution, to which Epstein pleaded not guilty in August 2006. The Palm Beach police chief, angered about this minor charge and suspecting preferential treatment of the wealthy, complained to the state attorney and then turned the case over to the FBI.
In December 2007, it was reported that Epstein was involved in plea negotiations and was expected to plead guilty to a charge of soliciting prostitution and spend about 18 months in jail. A guilty plea was finally reported on June 30, 2008.
After the accusations became public, several parties returned donations they had received from Epstein, including
Eliot L. Spitzer, Mark A. Green, Bill Richardson, and the Palm Beach police department. Harvard announced that it would not return any money.
Civil lawsuits alleging child molestation, assault
In a related case, Epstein was sued in October 2007 by Maximilia Cordero, a male-to-female transgender model, who claims Epstein forced her into a sexual relationship at the age of 16. [cite news |url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/10232007/news/regionalnews/gender_bend_shocker.htm |title=GENDER-BEND SHOCKER |journal=
New York Post|date=2007-10-23]
February 6, 2008, an anonymous Virginia woman filed a $50 million civil lawsuit [cite web|url=http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/pi/doeepstein20608cmp.html|title= Billionaire Faces $50M Sexual Assault Lawsuit|publisher= FindLaw|date=2008-02-06] 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." After being brought to his Palm Beach mansion, she claims that he exposed himself and sexually assaulted her, and paid her $200 immediately afterward.cite news |author=Keller, Larry |url=http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2008/02/06/0206EPSTEIN.html|title= Second teen-sex suit seeks $50 million from Jeffrey Epstein |publisher= Palm Beach Post|date=2008-02-06] A similar $50 million suit was filed by a different woman in March 2008 who was represented by the same lawyer. [cite news |author=Keller, Larry |url=http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2008/03/05/0305epstein.html|title= Third alleged victim files sex suit against Jeffrey Epstein|publisher=" Palm Beach Post"|date=2008-03-05]
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