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16 June, 2024
 
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Politico: Newly unsealed Epstein documents offer few insights into high-profile associates

Documents mention prominent figures like Clinton, Trump, and Prince Andrew, but reveal few new details about their connections to the late sex offender

Newly unsealed court papers related to Jeffrey Epstein include the names of a handful of famous men whose associations with the late sex offender were previously known, but the documents provide few new disclosures about the nature of their relationships.

The hundreds of pages of documents made public in federal court Wednesday included references to a number of wealthy and powerful people, including former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, as well as Prince Andrew and the prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz. But most of those mentioned have been publicly linked to Epstein for years.

Trump appears in just a handful of stray references, including in one passage in which a deposition witness says she was never asked to have sex with him. Clinton, who sometimes flew on Epstein’s private jet, is mentioned more frequently in the documents. Neither Trump nor Clinton is accused of any wrongdoing linked to Epstein.

Epstein, a registered sex offender who killed himself in a Manhattan jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges, was accused by prosecutors and dozens of women of having operated a yearslong sex-trafficking ring in which he sexually abused underage girls.

All of the men associated with Epstein have denied participating in his exploits. Clinton said in 2019 that he was unaware of Epstein’s “terrible crimes.” In the wake of the charges against Epstein, Trump said he wasn’t “a fan” and hadn’t spoken to him in 15 years.

The documents unsealed Wednesday were part of a settled civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, against Ghislane Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend who was convicted in 2021 for her role in helping recruit girls to Epstein’s operation.

The material was made public Wednesday after a federal judge ordered it unsealed. In her order, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska noted that in many cases the references to specific people are “not salacious.” For example, the judge said, a person’s name may have arisen in a deposition question that was never answered. In other cases, she said, certain individuals’ associations with Epstein were already made public, either through media reports or because their names came up during Maxwell’s criminal trial.

Some of the men in Epstein’s circle — most notably Prince Andrew — were themselves accused of participating in Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring. In 2022, Prince Andrew settled a lawsuit brought by Giuffre in which she accused him of sexual abuse. The New York federal prosecutors who brought charges against Epstein sought to question Prince Andrew after Epstein’s death, but their efforts never resulted in an interview.

While the documents unsealed Wednesday contained no bombshells, they did reveal a bit more fodder for those who have watched the Epstein saga unfold.

In one 2016 deposition, Johanna Sjoberg — who said she was hired to provide massages to Epstein when she was in college — answered questions about Clinton.

“Did Jeffrey ever talk to you about Bill Clinton?” a lawyer asked Sjoberg.

“He said one time that Clinton likes them young, referring to girls,” she replied, while also saying she never met the former president.

In her deposition, Sjoberg also denied any sexual interactions with several other high-profile people, including Trump, filmmaker George Lucas and Dershowitz.

Another celebrity encounter at Epstein’s house: Michael Jackson, although Sjoberg said she didn’t give the pop icon a massage.

Source: Politico

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