The Epstien story
The desperate woman who telephoned Detective Michele Pagan of the Palm Beach police declined to give her name and would not leave a call-back number. But she had some information that she had to tell someone.
Her stepdaughter, a 14-year-old pupil at Royal Palm Beach high school, had told a friend that she’d had sex with a middle-aged man who gave her money.
The man was said to have a long face and bushy eyebrows and he lived in a big house at the end of a dead-end street. His name was Jeff. A teacher found $300 in the 14-year-old’s purse.
That call to police – made 10 years ago this March – soon led Florida detectives to 358 El Brillo Way, a mansion owned by Jeffrey Epstein, one of America’s wealthiest hedge fund tycoons.
A decade later, the cascade of FBI investigations, secret plea deals and lawsuits which followed that telephone call would be felt 4,000 miles away, behind the gates of Buckingham Palace.
The connecting thread was Epstein, now 61, a convicted sex offender and one-time friend of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. The allegation: that Epstein forced another of his teenage victims into sexual encounters with Andrew on three separate occasions.
The accusation, contained in a court filing first reported by the Guardian and Politico, has become headline news across the world this week, even as it was forcefully and repeatedly denied by the Palace.
It has thrown a spotlight on Andrew’s relationship with Epstein and resurfaced questions over whether the disgraced financier used his extraordinary wealth and power to elude justice.
There is no suggestion Andrew ever encountered the 14-year-old – referred to in police incident reports as ‘SG’ – whose stepmother’s call to police triggered the initial investigation into Epstein in 2005.
SG told detectives that Epstein had made her remove her clothes and give him a massage while he masturbated, according to a police report.
Within weeks the FBI was listening to Epstein’s calls, rifling through his trash and searching for other potential victims. They eventually identified around 40.
Assistant US attorney Ann Marie Villafaña relayed a summary of the investigation to Epstein’s counsel in a letter in 2007.
Court Papers: Trump Ate At Jeffrey Epstein’s House
But he apparently ate at the servants’ table. Trump’s associates this year have downplayed the relationship between him and Epstein, the financier who was accused of sexually abusing minors in the 2000s.
Here Is Pedophile Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book
Donald Trump, Courtney Love, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and uber-lawyer Alan Dershowitz may have been identified by a butler as potential “material witnesses” to pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes against young girls, according to a copy of Epstein’s little black book obtained by Gawker.
An annotated copy of the address book, which also contains entries for Alec Baldwin, Ralph Fiennes, Griffin Dunne, New York Post gossip Richard Johnson, Ted Kennedy, David Koch, filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, and all manner of other people you might expect a billionaire to know, turned up in court proceedings after Epstein’s former house manager Alfredo Rodriguez tried to sell it in 2009. About 50 of the entries, including those of many of Epstein’s suspected victims and accomplices as well as Trump, Love, Barak, Dershowitz, and others, were circled by Rodriguez. (The existence of the book has beenpreviously reported by the Daily Mail. Gawker is publishing it in full here for the first time; we have redacted addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and the last names of individuals who may have been underage victims.)
According to an FBI affidavit, Rodriguez described the address book and the information contained within it as the “Holy Grail” or “Golden Nugget” to unraveling Epstein’s sprawling child-sex network. But despite having been subpoenaed for everything he had on his former boss, Rodriguez didn’t share it with the FBI or Palm Beach Police Department detectives investigating Epstein. Instead, he tried to make a $50,000 score by covertly peddling the black book to one of the attorneys launching lawsuits at Epstein on behalf of his victims.
The plot backfired when the attorney reported Rodriguez to the FBI, and he was promptly charged with obstruction of justice. But not before he had, according to the FBI affidavit laying out the crime, marked up the book and an accompanying notepad with “handwritten notes” that contained “information material to the underlying investigation that would have been extremely useful in investigating and prosecuting the case, including the names and contact information of material witnesses and additional victims.”
Rodriguez, who spent 18 months in prison, died in December after a long illness and never spoke out about the address book, so the precise significance of the names he circled remains fuzzy. But the FBI’s case against him makes clear that Rodriguez regarded the address book as crucial to understanding Epstein’s crimes; during a conversation with an undercover FBI agent posing as a potential buyer, he “discussed in detail the information contained in the book, and identified important information” to the agent.
In addition to the names above, as well as scores of apparent underage victims in Florida, New Mexico, California, Paris, and the United Kingdom listed under the rubric of “massage,” the circled entries include:
- Billionaire Leslie Wexner
- Former New Mexico Governor Bruce King
- Former New Mexico Governor and Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson
- Peter Soros, the nephew of George Soros
- Former Miss Sweden and socialite New York City doctor Eva Andersson Dubin
Some of the circled entries include additional notes—one address in New York City, for instance, is marked as an “apt. for models,” and two names bear the marking “witness.”
Asked why Rodriguez might have circled his name, Alan Dershowitz told Gawker, “I’ve never seen the book and I have no idea what it means. I was neither a victim nor a material witness—I never witnessed any crimes or participated in any crimes, and I can prove it.”
Virginia Roberts, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, has claimed in repeated court filings that Epstein instructed her to have sex with Dershowitz on several occasions, charges that Dershowitz categorically denies.
Trump, through a spokesperson, said, “Mr. Trump only knew Mr. Epstein as Mr. Trump owns the hottest and most luxurious club in Palm Beach, [redacted], and Mr. Epstein would go there on occasion.”
Although Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew have been mentioned in connection with Epstein’s sordid deeds, their names aren’t circled in the black book. But Epstein did have 21 contact numbers and various email addresses for Clinton, as well as several contact numbers for the prince.
Here is the address book:
Nick Bryant is the author of The Franklin Scandal, the true story of a nationwide pedophile ring that pandered children to a cabal of the rich and powerful, and the co-author of Confessions of a D.C. Madam: The Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail, which will be published in March. Additional reporting by J.K. Trotter. If you have information to share about Epstein’s activities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top image by Jim Cooke, photos via AP.