“On my own island…I am free.”
Epstein knew some of the most famous, powerful, and wealthy people on earth and had a net worth estimated at one point of over a billion dollars – yet managed to stay out of the public eye for most of his life. Turns out it was for good reason.
The Early years
Jefferey Edward Epstein, born January 20, 1953, was the oldest of two boys born to a middle-class Jewish family. His mother worked part-time at a school and his father was a groundskeeper. Epstein was a bright student: he began playing the piano at 5 years old and skipped third grade and eighth grade to graduate at the age of 16.
From 1969-1974, Epstein attended two separate colleges – but failed to earn a degree.
The Grift Begins
By the Fall of 1974, Epstein seemed to be living by the ethos “fake it ’til you make it.” For the next several years, Epstein would grift, con, fake, and lie his way into personally advantageous situations. Despite not having a college degree, he taught physics and calculus for two years at a private preparatory school in Manhattan.
He was let go for “poor performance” – but not before befriending the the daughter of an investment firm CEO. Epstein was able to use this connection to gain employment at the investment firm. He quickly proved himself a shrewd financier, becoming a partner at the firm in just 4 years – a position he leveraged to make several high-profile connections.
In 1981, Epstein established his own financial consulting firm – advising both embezzlers and victims of embezzlement, including various governments and wealthy clientele. It was also rumored during this time that Epstein became an intelligence asset for either the US government or the Israeli government – or both.
The Little Black Book
Another good term to describe Epstein would be “a collector of people.” As he rubbed shoulders with government officials and various wealthy and powerful people through his investment and consulting day job, Epstein began compiling what would later be known as his “Little Black Book.” However, it was far from little: it would eventually contain 1971 names including US Presidents, an Israeli Prime Minister, Bill Gates, and A-list celebrities. Epstein was photographed shaking hands with the likes of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Pope John Paul II.
One of Epstein’s contacts was British media mogul, former member of Parliament, and suspected spy Robert Maxwell. In either the late 1980’s or early 90’s Maxwell introduced Epstein to his daughter Ghislaine, who would become his longtime girlfriend, business partner, and accomplice until his death in 2019.
It is unknown for certain when Epstein began trafficking woman and teenage girls for his personal pleasure. Some reports suggest he already exhibited a proclivity for younger girls while he was teaching at the Manhattan preparatory school, including the daughter of the bank CEO where he worked.
Among those in Epstein’s “Little Black Book” were also several fashion and modeling agency owners, including Les Wexner of of Victoria’s Secret – who inexplicably transferred the title of a $77 million Manhattan townhome to Epstein for $0. At some point Epstein began leveraging these contacts to gain a steady stream of young beautiful woman for his personal enjoyment, often under the guise of giving him massages – which would then escalate to further unwanted contact and assault.
in 1993, Epstein purchased the largest property in the state of New Mexico: a sprawling 26,700 sq/ft home on 10,000 acres complete with a private air strip. He purchased it from the then-governor of New Mexico. Though the purchase price was undisclosed, it was widely understood that Epstein paid far below its market value. New Mexico’s land commissioner eventually concluded it was likely obtained through “illegitimate means for purposes other than ranching or agriculture.”
At least by 1994, Epstein had turned his sights on underage girls – usually ranging in age from 14-17. Still the conman, Epstein’s first victims were promised access to art, dance, or modeling schools. The young girls would come and live with Epstein – where they’d essentially become his slaves for the next few months, sometimes longer. A few of the girls would be successfully groomed to stay on in various more “legitimate” positions within his business operations. These girls would also help recruit other young girls.
Epstein developed another scheme: targeting underprivileged girls. Either his associate Ghislaine Maxwell or one of his “recruiters” would approach a teen girl from a troubled family and offer them money (usually $100-$500) to “massage” Epstein. Sometimes Maxwell would take the girls shopping for expensive clothes as part of the grooming process. As with the fashion models before, things would again escalate to sexual assault. The girls would then be offered additional money to bring their teenage friends back with them.
Before long, in both Manhattan and Palm Beach, FL where Epstein owned a third home, there were hundreds hundreds of girls rotating through – so that Epstein often received two to three massages daily. He also developed the same access to young girls in various European cities like Rome and London, recording them in his “Little Black Book” under “massage” plus their location – with 116 such entries in total.
In 1996, Epstein moved his corporation to the Virgin Islands for “tax purposes,” and two years later in 1998, he purchased his now infamous private island officially called “Little St. James” – or as the Virgin Island locals called it “The Island of Sin” or “Pedophile Island.” From his private island, it is alleged that Epstein ran a sex trafficking ring among the world’s elite. Among those accused or suspected of visiting Epstein’s island for this purpose are: Prince Andrew, Duke of York; former President Bill Clinton; and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
A Slap on the Wrist
Epstein’s daily victimization of underage girls continued undetected for over a decade until in March of 2005, a woman called the Palm Beach Florida Police to report that her 14-year old stepdaughter had been victimized by Epstein. For the next 13 months, Palm Beach Police conducted an undercover investigation of Epstein’s home. Evidence mounted against Epstein, yet the Palm Beach district attorney failed to act, prompting the frustrated chief of police to contact the FBI.
Five additional girls gave statements under oath of eerily similar stories of grooming and assault at the hands of Epstein. Police searched Epstein’s trash and found incriminating evidence of many more girls ages 14-18 that had been inside his home. Finally with 34 confirmed victims (the number would go up to 80), Epstein’s Florida home was raided. It would seem, however, that Epstein was tipped off because computer hard drives had been removed prior to the raid. Still, at least two hidden cameras were discovered and hundreds of explicit photos of girls – including photos of girls the FBI had identified as victims. It was also revealed that Epstein had been flying young girls from South America and Europe into the United States. Epstein was arrested.
Yet despite mountains of evidence, multiple corroborating witnesses and victim statements, and a grand jury indictment, Epstein received what has been derisively called “The Sweetheart Deal.” Without consulting the victims or their lawyers, then U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Alexander Acosta (and later Labor Secretary under President Donald Trump) cut a deal with Epstein where he would plead guilty to 1 state charge of prostitution with a minor. The particular minor chosen was 17 years old to limit the number of states where Epstein would have to register as a sex offender. Additionally, Epstein’s deal included a non-prosecutorial agreement barring any accomplices or co-conspirators from being investigated or charged.
Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in jail (of which he served 13) in a private wing of the Palm Beach County Stockade. He was permitted “work release” allowing him to leave the jail up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week – despite policies prohibiting sex offenders from such privileges. Even those lax rules were not adhered to: his cell door was never locked and he was allowed to come and go as he pleased using his own driver and contracted deputies to “supervise” him. He was allowed to enter his private residences for hours at a time while deputies remained outside, and one officer later reported that he saw young women entering and exiting Epstein’s office.
Upon his early release in 2009, Epstein was assigned “house arrest” – yet freely traveled to his private island, Manhattan home, and frequently went shopping “for exercise.” In 2011, Epstein was required to register as a ‘level 3 sex offender,” a life-time designation, meaning he was assessed at high risk of reoffending. This came with the usual requirements of checking in with the New York Police Department every 90 days, limiting access to minors, and various internet and email restrictions – none of which were enforced. All evidence points to the fact that Epstein likely never stopped offending or immediately returned to his criminal behavior upon his release.
In and Out of Court
Over the next 8 years, several of Epstein’s scores of victims who had been denied their day in court due to the “Sweetheart Deal,” filed multi-million dollar lawsuits against Epstein. Every one of these was either dismissed by judges or settled out of court by Epstein.
Epstein’s most outspoken and persistant accuser was (and still is) Virginia Giuffre-Roberts who alleged that when she was 17, Ghislaine Maxwell recruited her for Epstein. She was flown all over the world, appearing in photos in various locations alongside the world’s elite – including a now-infamous photo (below) of her with Prince Andrew and Maxwell. She has credibly accused Epstein of forcing her to sleep with the prince and other powerful men.
Catching the Monster
In November 2018, the Miami Herald published a lengthy and damning investigative report by Julie Brown on Epstein’s criminal enterprise. As a result of her reporting, Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges the following July as he returned from his secret residence in Paris. While awaiting trial, he was held in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.
The FBI also raided Epstein’s Manhattan townhome which produced a trove of salacious and incriminating evidence. Inside the home were massage tables, and other items used in the assaults that matched victim statements. Additionally the layout of Epstein’s townhome matched descriptions given by victims who said they had been trafficked inside his home. A safe was also discovered containing CD’s with hundreds – perhaps thousands, of victim photos, all hand-labelled with cryptic descriptions – some possibly pointing to additional abusers.
Epstein was charged with 14 counts of child sex trafficking and denied bail due to his shadowy assets, multiple homes, an assessed continued danger to the community, and concerns of witness tampering.
Epstein Didn’t Killed Himself
On July 23, 2019, just seventeen days after his initial arrest, Epstein was found either semiconscious or unconscious in his cell. It appeared he had been strangled. Though in the Special Housing Unit (SHU), a wing of the prison intended to isolate at-risk prisoners, Epstein had a cellmate – a convicted murderer, likely because Epstein was seen as a suicide risk if left alone. Epstein’s cellmate, however, denied attacking him and Epstein claimed to have no memory of the attack. One of the victim attorneys speculated that the July 23rd attack had been an assassination attempt.
For the next 6 days, Epstein was placed on suicide watch and housed in an observation cell, after which the suicide watch was lifted. He was returned to the SHU and placed in a cell just 15 feet from the correctional officer’s desk. Epstein was again supposed to have a cellmate, receive around the clock video surveillance, and be check on by a guard ever 30 minutes.
In the days and hours leading up to Epstein’s death, a number of disturbing and inexplicable occurrences transpired:
- On August 8th, just two days before his death, Epstein signed a new will placing his estimated $577 million in a newly created trust with undisclosed beneficiaries to be executed by two of Epstein’s attorneys.
- The following day, August 9th, Epstein’s mandated cellmate was transferred out and no replacement assigned.
- Later that evening Epstein met with two of his lawyers until 7:49 p.m.
- Despite the requirement to check on Epstein every 30 minutes, security cameras showed zero checks until 10:30 p.m. That was the last time guards checked on Epstein and that he was seen alive.
- The rest of the evening, showed the guards either playing on computers or napping – while falsifying the 30-minute check records.
- At some point that evening, the two security cameras aimed at Epstein’s cell reportedly malfunctioned.
- A third security camera had its tape reported as lost, then found, then said to be corrupted and unusable.
The official record states that Epstein was discovered unresponsive in his jail cell shortly after 6:30 a.m. The official record states that CPR was performed by jail staff, then by EMTs, and finally by hospital personnel before Epstein was declare dead. That morning another oddity occurred: 38 minutes before the news broke of Epstein’s death, an anonymous post showed up on a 4chan message board stating that Epstein had died an hour prior, complete with medically-accurate details of the life-saving measures attempted after he was discovered in his cell.
The Medical Examiner
An autopsy was performed the next day by the New York City medical examiner. Her initial finding was that there insufficient information to definitely rule a cause of death, and listed it as “pending further study.” Five days later, she updated Epstein’s cause of death to “suicide by hanging” accomplished by violently throwing himself off the cell’s top bunk while wearing a ligature. It’s unclear what further evidence convinced the medical examiner to update her ruling.
A Second Opinion
Sitting in on the autopsy was former New York City chief medical examiner and forensic pathologist Michael Baden. He sharply conflicted with the original medical examiner’s findings. Baden felt that the injuries to Epstein’s body were more consistent with homicide rather than suicide, for example: the number of and specific neck bones broken, and hemorrhages in Epstein’s eyes.
Despite these concerns, the ruling on Epstein’s death stands as “suicide by hanging.”
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The number of mysteries and strange connections surrounding Epstein make it impossible to cover every detail and angle of his life in a single blog post. I read upwards of 50 articles about Epstein and none of them contained every detail. You’re sure to find an interesting tidbit here and there that didn’t make it into this post. If you feel I missed something huge, mention it in the comments below.
Epstein’s Personality Profile
I believe he was a psychopath. When most people think of psychopaths, their minds automatically go to “serial killer,” but psychopathy is simply a personality profile that exhibits itself by “frequent deception and manipulation, lack of empathy and emotion, inability or apathy when it comes to distinguishing between right and wrong, impulsivity, lack of guilt, and other profound anti-social traits — all disguised by a superficial charm,” along with “frequent yet failed relationships and repeated brushes with the law.”
Epstein exhibited literally all of those traits. It’s what made him such an astute grifter, people collector, and then abuser – it seemed that everyone succumbed to his charms. It’s also how he could ruin the lives of possibly thousands of young women and still sleep every night. He also never married.
Perhaps Epstein’s greatest mystery was where he earned his hundreds of millions of dollars – again at one point in his life, he boasted of being a billionaire, and his final will listed assets over $577 million. So where did a guy with no college degree get so much money?
After hours and hours of research, I’m convinced it was mostly his grifting skills. Don’t get me wrong, I believe he acquired a lot of money through blackmail, human trafficking, and other illegal activity. But Epstein was extraordinarily good at disarming and earning the trust of his marks. He had an unusual knack for charming just about anybody. Even his closest friends who knew of his proclivities still talked highly of him and simply chalked the “icky” stuff up to “well that’s just Jeff – he’s always been a bit weird.” Despite being a creep morally, he didn’t give off that vibe. People genuinely seemed to like him. There were even a few of the girls he groomed who stayed on and became life-long friends/accomplices/employees.
I say all that to say that he was able to charm a lot of very rich, powerful, and influential people to trust him. And rich people give rich gifts. I’m a fan of the TV show NCIS. The father of one of the main characters Tony Dinozzo is that kind of professional grifter. Using charisma, Dinozzo Sr. was able to live a high-roller lifestyle simply by faking it and befriending rich and powerful people – by convincing the elite he was one of them. In just 4 years, Epstein went from zero investment experience to starting his own investment firm that only managed the portfolios of people with a net worth of over $1 billion. It just shows how good of a grifter he was.
Again, I do believe that Epstein eventually started blackmailing some of those who trusted him, as well as trafficking women and underage girls to the rich and powerful, but I also believe he had already acquired millions of dollars in assets on pure grift alone long before then.
It’s been suggested that Epstein was recruited sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s to be an intelligence asset due to his many connections with powerful people around the world – perhaps even by Robert Maxwell, who himself was suspected of being an Israeli spy. The implication is that the government knew of Epstein’s child trafficking ring and simply allowed it to continue so that they could leverage powerful people through the blackmail gained during their participation in Epstein’s crimes.
I’m not sure where I fall on this one. Sadly there’s a part of me that, if such a thing were ever proven, would not be shocked at all. Our nation’s leader’s, CIA, FBI, etc. have done a lot of shady, illegal, and downright shocking things in the past in the name of global politics and furthering their personal agendas. I’m firmly not a conspiracy theorist. But with how long Epstein seemed to operate his scheme while being so well connected, the amount of mystery money he accumulated, the power he seemed to wield, plus the “Sweetheart Deal” – I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he had in fact been an intelligence asset.
And concerning the “Sweetheart Deal,” initially Alexander Acosta said that he struck the deal because they were afraid Epstein would walk if the case went to court. Everyone knew at the time what a load of garbage that was – there were mountains of evidence and dozens of corroborating witnesses. Later though, in 2019 after Epstein was arrested, Acosta changed his story and claimed that he was told to back off of Epstein by higher ups because he was intelligence. So if Acosta can be believed…
I plan to write a future blog post about Epstein’s long-time girlfriend, business partner, and accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell. After Epstein’s arrest, she went into hiding, but was finally located and arrested a year later. She remains in federal custody, pending a November, 2021 trial.
However, Maxwell wasn’t Epstein’s only accomplice. He had two pilots that flew exclusively for him – both of which are supposedly cooperating with the police. But I wanted to discuss Epstein’s several other female accomplices. At least 4 additional women are reported to have been investigated as co-conspirators: Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, and Nadia Marcinkova. I’ll also mention one other woman: Gwendolyn Beck-Sutton.
Again, Epstein had a twisted knack for being able to groom and manipulate young girls. Four out of the 5 women I just mentioned were also potentially victims themselves before they allegedly assisted Epstein in his crimes. For instance, Gwendolyn Beck is listed in Epstein’s “Little Black Book” under “massage” – typically a reference to girls who were coerced into giving Epstein massages. The other 3 women: Sarah, Adriana, and Nadia were former models groomed by Epstein. Nadia was 15 when she was procured by Epstein (some sources say actually purchased); Sarah and Adriana were, from what I can tell, both 17. Lesley Groff is the outlier of the 5 women – being in her 30’s when she began working for Epstein, allegedly procuring and scheduling girls for Epstein’s massages.
Where I’m conflicted is the 4 women who were potential victims but then continued to assist Epstein or remained friendly towards him for years afterwards: Gwendolyn, Sarah, Adriana, and Nadia – the last one especially, whom Epstein once called his “sex slave.” They all likely suffered abuse from Epstein. Yet after reaching adulthood they stayed on, in some cases for years, working for Epstein or at least maintaining a friendship with him, despite having suffered abuse and witnessed other girls being abused.
Sarah, Adriana, and Nadia have all been named as accomplices/co-conspirators. My first reaction was that, while they aren’t guiltless (they stayed on with Epstein for 20 years), they should be given a pass or extremely reduced charges due to mitigating circumstances – compared to Ghislaine Maxwell for instance. But I decided to get a woman’s input, so I talked to my wife.
Her analysis – and probably the correct one, is that had these women left Epstein years ago, then one could argue leniency. But not after stay on with him well into their 30’s and facilitating the abuse of so many others. Especially since none of them seem to be cooperating with the police after Epstein’s capture and death. Sarah simply reemerged with a new last name, a new wealthy partner (a NASCAR driver), and a new interior design business. Nadia, who was trained to be a pilot, rebranded herself as “Global Girl” and now offers flying lessons. Adriana went into hiding. Their actions lead me to conclude that they are not repentant and are still trying to (at least in Sarah and Nadia’s case) maintain the elite life they had grown accustomed to with Epstein. Consequently I believe they should be held accountable for any and all crimes they committed while working for Epstein, despite their previous victim status.
Lastly, I’ll address Epstein’s death. Do I think he killed himself? Or was he murdered? Despite my joking headline earlier “Epstein Didn’t Killed Himself” (a nod to the famous “Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself” meme), I am undecided either way. There seems to be some research data lending validity to Dr. Baden’s conclusion about the broken neck bones being far more common in homicide strangulation versus suicide by hanging. Though, such breaks are not unheard of, especially in older suicide victims – and Epstein was 66.
If it wasn’t for the other craziness around his death – the removed suicide watch, the transferred cellmate, the “malfunctioning” security cameras and “unusable” 3rd camera footage, the missed security checks, the fact that the guards 15 feet away heard nothing (even though the medical examiner concluded that Epstein threw himself violently from the top bunk), and a few other things that didn’t make it into this blog post for space reasons – I probably wouldn’t second-guess the suicide by hanging conclusion. But I just have a hard time overlooking so many things going “wrong” on the night of Epstein’s death. It feels like he was intentionally left alone for an entire night so he could either end his life or be killed.
And it feels like some kind of coverup. Epstein was close to and potentially had blackmail on many powerful people. He was also potentially an intelligence asset. There was a lot of motivation to silence him before a trial. After all my research, if I had to pick a cause of death, I’d say Epstein did kill himself, but was allowed/told to do so to keep him from talking.
One final unanswered question is the trove of CD’s found in the Manhattan townhome safe. It’s like they’ve been memory-holed. I really hope one day we find out who, besides the victim girls, were on those CD’s.
Epstein on Epstein
I realize what I am.
I’m very comfortable in my own skin.
What I’m really free to do is,
I feel free to follow my own personality.
I can’t be totally wacko in what I do.
But on my own island or on my own ranch,
I can think the thoughts I want to think.
I can do the work I want to do,
and I’m free to explore as I see fit.