Writer Jesse Kornbluth at one time moved around in the same social circles as Jeffrey Epstein and he describes his personal experiences with Epstein and his entourage and the rich people who enabled his behavior.
My wife-to-be was then a military historian, with a book about to be published. Interview Magazine photographed her in a buttoned-up military shirt, with a taut khaki tie. A witty photo of an attractive woman. But not a sexy look. Jeffrey Epstein had chatted her up at a few parties. The military look fooled him not at all.
The night before our marriage, Epstein called. “It’s your last free night,” he told my wife-to-be. “Why don’t you come over and fuck me?”
That was how, in June of 1987, Jeffrey Epstein became dead to me.
In the early ‘90s, at a Joan Rivers dinner party, my wife and I encountered Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of disgraced British publishing mogul Robert Maxwell and Epstein’s girlfriend for a brief period in the ’90s. She has been accused of recruiting and grooming girls and women for Epstein; she denies this. I’d met her several times with Epstein; we were also “friends,” in that transactional Manhattan way. And might now become better friends. “If you lose 10 pounds, I’ll fuck you,” she said, with my wife standing next to me. And she too became dead to me.
Kornbluth describes the many wealthy people and celebrities who swooned over Epstein. He quotes a news story that said that even after just emerging from prison in Florida from his previous slap-on-the-wrist sentence (for just 13 months where he was even allowed out six days a week to carry on his business) these people just did not seem to care, even though his crimes were then fresh and they knew.
Just a few months after leaving Florida, Epstein, with the help of uber-publicist Peggy Siegal, hosted a post-Yom Kippur buffet at his mansion in Manhattan — and not only did more than a hundred friends come, some brought their children. A few months later, Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, Woody Allen and other celebrities showed up at Epstein’s mansion for a dinner in honor of Britain’s Prince Andrew.
Why was Epstein so easily rehabilitated? He was smart. Attractive. Rich. And that is a potent combination. As David Patrick Columbia, editor of New York Social Diary, explained it for the Times: “A jail sentence doesn’t matter anymore. The only thing that gets you shunned in New York society is poverty.”
But Kornbluth, whom Epstein at at one time gave access to because he was flattered that he was planning to write a book about him, says that there was always something mysterious and fishy about what Epstein did do get all that money.
When we met in 1986, Epstein’s double identity intrigued me — he said he didn’t just manage money for clients with mega-fortunes, he was also a high-level bounty hunter. Sometimes, he told me, he worked for governments to recover money looted by African dictators. Other times those dictators hired him to help them hide their stolen money.
Epstein was pleased that I was interested in writing about him. Not a profile. A book. That prospect convinced him that I should see a sample of his craft, so we met in the lobby of an office building on Park Avenue South and took an elevator to a law firm, where he intended to serve a subpoena. He didn’t get past the receptionist.
I thought this episode . . . odd. A major financial figure trying to serve a subpoena? Don’t you hire someone to do that? My interest lapsed.
Vicky Ward writes that back in 2002 while doing some research, she found that Epstein’s story of how he acquired his finances just did not seem to add up.
Luck did shine upon me that day. I opened the first box, and there was Epstein’s deposition in a civil case explaining in his own testimony that he had indeed been guilty of a “reg d violation” while at Bear Stearns and that he’d been asked to leave the investment firm; it was the nail in the coffin I needed.
I had discovered many other concrete, irrefutable examples of strange business practices by Epstein, and while I still couldn’t tell you exactly what he did do to subsidize his lifestyle, my piece would certainly show that he was definitely not what he claimed to be.
I had to put all my findings to Epstein and, bizarrely, he seemed almost unconcerned about the financial irregularities I’d exposed.
In a new piece, Ward reveals more about Epstein and then US Attorney and currently labor secretary Alex Acosta who arranged his earlier sweetheart deal.
Epstein’s name, I was told, had been raised by the Trump transition team when Alexander Acosta, the former U.S. attorney in Miami who’d infamously cut Epstein a non-prosecution plea deal back in 2007, was being interviewed for the job of labor secretary. The plea deal put a hard stop to a separate federal investigation of alleged sex crimes with minors and trafficking.
“Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)
Epstein “belonged to intelligence” and thus should be ‘left alone’?? What does that mean?
While this angle is less salacious than the sex trafficking stories, I continue to think that there is something big here that should also be investigated. I think Epstein could be at the center of a vast and corrupt system that extends well beyond his disgusting abuse of young women.