I never met Jeffrey Epstein, fortunately. My sole link was through Lawrence Krauss, who memorably took me aside way back in 2010 to urge me to ignore the “rumors” going around about Epstein, who was a donor to his Origins program at ASU. He particularly warned me against that scurrilous gossiper, Rebecca Watson, who has since been revealed as a wise prophetess. I just figured this was what high-level people with the job of getting donations do to curry favor with donors, I didn’t actually know much about what Epstein had done. Of course, now I know (and I quickly learned then) that Epstein had pled guilty to soliciting sex from minors back in 2008, and it wasn’t so much “rumor” as “incontestable fact”, and that Watson wasn’t so much a prophetess as she was someone who had her eyes open. As she wrote in 2011:
Jeffrey Epstein is the infamous media mogul who was jailed in 2008 for paying underage prostitutes who said they were recruited by his aides. Some girls were allegedly flown in from Eastern Europe, their visas arranged by his bookkeeper. Epstein only served 13 months in prison thanks to a sweetheart plea agreement which is now being contested by attorneys representing two of the girls, who were 13 and 14 when they were allegedly paid for sex. Both girls are part of a larger group of victims who have won monetary settlements from Epstein in civil cases.
Krauss responded to that with several comments, still ardently defending Epstein, and this quote is particularly damning.
“If anything, the unfortunate period he suffered has caused him to really think about what he wants to do with his money and his time, and support knowledge,” says Krauss. “Jeffrey has surrounded himself with beautiful women and young women but they’re not as young as the ones that were claimed. As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.” Though colleagues have criticized him over his relationship with Epstein, Krauss insists, “I don’t feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it.”
“Unfortunate period.” Jesus. Epstein was paying local schoolgirls to give him naked massages and jerk him off, and who knows what was going on at his orgies. What an uplifting fellow. It was not an “unfortunate period”, as Krauss had to know — the police had a line of children who wanted to testify, had been raking through his garbage for evidence, and had him dead to rights, and then, as Rebecca mentioned, got a slap on the wrist (an 18 month jail sentence, which compared to what he should have gotten, counts as a relatively trivial penalty) in an exceedingly generous plea deal, which is still being contested.
The Miami Herald has published a multi-part investigation into that deal. The corruption just reeks on the page.
Facing a 53-page federal indictment, Epstein could have ended up in federal prison for the rest of his life.
But on the morning of the breakfast meeting, a deal was struck — an extraordinary plea agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved.
Not only would Epstein serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal — called a non-prosecution agreement — essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes, according to a Miami Herald examination of thousands of emails, court documents and FBI records.
The pact required Epstein to plead guilty to two prostitution charges in state court. Epstein and four of his accomplices named in the agreement received immunity from all federal criminal charges. But even more unusual, the deal included wording that granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators’’ who were also involved in Epstein’s crimes. These accomplices or participants were not identified in the agreement, leaving it open to interpretation whether it possibly referred to other influential people who were having sex with underage girls at Epstein’s various homes or on his plane.
This is a huge story, and Epstein was monstrous in his crimes — he was a voracious sexual predator, and his favored prey were girls in their early teens. This was all known when Krauss was asking me to avoid discussing his patron.
“This was not a ‘he said, she said’ situation. This was 50-something ‘shes’ and one ‘he’ — and the ‘shes’ all basically told the same story,’’ said retired Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter, who supervised the police probe.
More than a decade later, at a time when Olympic gymnasts and Hollywood actresses have become a catalyst for a cultural reckoning about sexual abuse, Epstein’s victims have all but been forgotten.
The women — now in their late 20s and early 30s — are still fighting for an elusive justice that even the passage of time has not made right.
Like other victims of sexual abuse, they believe they’ve been silenced by a criminal justice system that stubbornly fails to hold Epstein and other wealthy and powerful men accountable.
“Jeffrey preyed on girls who were in a bad way, girls who were basically homeless. He went after girls who he thought no one would listen to and he was right,’’ said Courtney Wild, who was 14 when she met Epstein.
Justice dropped the ball on this one. The evidence is so damning that you have to wonder what the hell was wrong with people like Krauss, or his inner circle of enablers, or the rich and famous people like Donald Trump and Bill Clinton who called Epstein a friend. A lot of money was buying a lot of favors and silence.
And, you know, it’s not clear to me what he did to earn so much money that he had a private plane and his very own private island in the Caribbean. He’s a hedge fund manager. He manages other people’s money, and apparently it’s perfectly legal to skim off so much profit that you can basically get paid for diddling little girls, and you can escape prosecution by ratting out other overpaid financial company executives.
It just makes me sick. I don’t even want a second-hand connection to that world.