The theories and speculation surrounding Jeffrey Epstein are fueled by one fact: he was firmly embedded within the most powerful circles in the world. It’s an uncomfortable reality for the reason that the full scope of his network will likely remain unknown. Ranging from entertainment to academia to politics, the number of powerful individuals that are confirmed to be in Epstein’s orbit is remarkable.
When considering Epstein’s ordinary beginnings as a high school teacher, it becomes clear that his cunning ability to mingle & court elites played a big role in his rise. This is what landed him one of his most useful connections: billionaire Leslie Wexner — the CEO of the company that owns Victoria’s Secret as well as Bed, Bath & Beyond. Puzzling everyone, he gave Epstein power of attorney in 1991. One Wall Street executive explained “it’s just not typical for someone of such enormous wealth to all of a sudden give his money to some guy most people have never heard of.” Wexner’s longtime confidante and financial advisor, Sandy Lewis, was also stunned by this. In Vanity Fair, it’s reported that he “ couldn’t figure out why Wexner had turned to Epstein to manage his money.”
Sandy Lewis believes that Epstein was an effective smooth talker who managed to cozy up to the right people, describing him as a “con artist.” “I can’t imagine, frankly, why a man of his intelligence would simply hand the controls over to another guy … My feeling is that he had been […] seduced out of his loneliness to trust this guy”
Jeffrey Epstein befriending Wexner led to his acquisition of one of the most expensive mansions in Manhattan. One person says Epstein paid 20 million for it, others speculate that he only paid one dollar. Records of the transfer indicate that no money was exchanged between Epstein and Wexner for the mansion.
Epstein’s close friendship with him opened unique access to an elite network of powerful people. For one of his birthday parties, Wexner asked his friends to bring the smartest person they met that year. There’s no doubt Epstein used these sorts of events to his advantage. He told friends, “I invest in people — be it politics or science. It’s what I do.” One of Epstein’s girl friends reveals a more candid portrait. He told her, “I control everyone and everything, I collect people, I own people, I can damage people.”
In a Vanity Fair report, a Sports Illustrated model describes “Epstein watching her brush her hair and asking, “Do you use a Mason Pearson brush?”-the expensive brush favored by stylists in the fashion industry. She said yes, and he responded, excitedly, that he did too. “He said, ‘Oh, yes, they’re the best.’ He was like a little boy who got his cool toy. And then he’d collect people just like that hairbrush. It was so odd.”
Although Wexner did open opportunities to meet powerful financiers and senators, Epstein had already started embedding himself in elite circles. Honoring Wexner’s birthday wishes, Epstein brought Alan Dershowitz — one of the most high profile legal experts in the country. Dershowitz infamous for working with notorious clients ranging from Michael Milken, Claus von Bülow, O. J. Simpson, Mike Tyson and, in 2005, Jeffrey Epstein himself. Virginia Giuffre, one of Epsten’s most prominent accusors, alleges that Dershowitz was one of the elites who partook in Epstein’s sex trafficking operation. When a NY Mag reporter mentioned his reputation for running naked on the beaches in Martha’s Vineyard and hitting on students, Dershowitz admits thathe’s “occasionally gone skinny-dipping at a nude beach near his house,” but “denied the part about hitting on students.” He calls all the sexual abuse accusations “vicious lies.”
Prior to the Epstein scandal, Dershowitz suggested that he had a close friendship and enjoyed talking with Epstein. He sent rough drafts for one of his books to him — something he generally only shared with his immediate family. Flight logs published by Gawker indicate he had flown a few times on Epstein’s jet. While he maintains that he always travels with his wife, the logs don’t record her as being present on these flights. What it does show is that he had flown with an unidentified “female,” a “Hazel,” a “Claire,” and Ghislaine Maxwell. It’s alleged Maxwell was a recruiter in Epstein’s sex operation and participated in the sexual abuse.
Dershowitz, a law professor at Harvard for fifty years, was one of the many connections Epstein made at the university. According to a report from NBC, Epstein wanted to conceal his association with the school, but former president of Harvard, Larry Summers, “persuaded” him to take credit for a scientific program he bankrolled.
The late Marvin Minsky, an AI luminary and a leading figure in MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab is alleged to have engaged in sexual abuse at Epstein’s island when he was 73. In response to these allegations, a leading computer science pioneer and visiting MIT scientist, Richard Stallman, questioned whether it qualified as abuse. In older blog posts on his website, the MIT scientist wrote that “there is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children.”
In another post, he wrote that “prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia” should all be “legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness.” At the end of the post he writes, “ Once my dead body is no longer of any use to me, it may as well be of some use to someone. Besides, I often enjoy rhinophytonecrophilia (nasal sex with dead plants).”
In response to the flurry of media coverage, Stallman released this statement: Headlines say that I defended Epstein. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve called him a “serial rapist”, and said he deserved to be imprisoned.
MIT’s association with Epstein moves well beyond these two members. The university claimed to have only received 800,000 dollars in donations from Epstein and was “disqualified” from donating to the university after his sex offender conviction. Ronan Farrow, an investigative reporter at the New Yorker, uncovered that despite this, “the MIT Media Lab worked closely with him, secretly taking donations from him or labeled as having been secured at his direction, from his contacts, including “ The donations actually amounted to at least 7.5 million dollars. One professor objected to these cover ups and many staff members feared for their safety. Some took to calling Epstein “Voldemort” and “he who must not be named.”
Further establishing his position in these powerful academic circles, he was also a member of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee at Harvard, the New York Academy of Science, Rockefeller University Board, and the Edge Organization. Epstein’s network encompasses far more than academic institutions such as these. This much is reflected by his membership in powerful international relations organizations like the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. As is well understood by now, his reach in government extended to the very top.
The media’s primary focus is on President Donald Trump. In 2002, he said, “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” In subsequent years, however, a falling out between Epstein and Trump occured. According to the Washington Post, it happened two years later in 2004. It was over an oceanfront Palm Beach mansion. Joseph Luzinski, the trustee of the mansion, remembers “it was something like, Donald saying, ‘You don’t want to do a deal with him, he doesn’t have the money,’ while Epstein was saying: ‘Donald is all talk. He doesn’t have the money.
Court documents from 2011 suggest it may also be for another reason. In the documents, it’s alleged that Trump banned Epstein from Mar A Lago for sexually assaulting a girl on the premises. The president says the reason for the fallout “doesn’t make any difference.”
Epstein was able to maintain a relatively low profile until 2002 when former president Bill Clinton flew to Africa on Jeffrey Epstein’s jet. Upon his return, an excited Epstein told a friend, “If you were a boxer at the downtown gymnasium at 14th Street and Mike Tyson walked in, your face would have the same look as these foreign leaders had when Clinton entered the room. He is the world’s greatest politician.”
Clinton was also pleased with the trip. “Jeffrey is both a highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of twenty-first-century science. I especially appreciated his insights and generosity during the recent trip to Africa to work on democratization, empowering the poor, citizen service, and combating HIV/AIDS.”
Following Epstein’s arrest this year, Bill Clinton released a statement, claiming he had only gone on four trips in Epstein’s jet. One report from Gawker and another from Fox News suggest that the number of flights was higher. Clinton’s office did not get back when the New York Times requested clarification about the discrepancy. These flights included women repeatedly accused of not only acting as groomers and recruiters in Epstein’s sex trafficking operation, but participating.
Another contradiction surfaces in Clinton’s press release, where it’s stated that a Secret Service detail was always present. After filing a Freedom of Information Request, Fox News reports that: On a five-leg Asia trip between May 22 and May 25, 2002, not a single Secret Service agent is listed. […] Clinton would have been required to file a form to dismiss the agent detail, a former Secret Service agent told FoxNews.com. In response to a separate FOIA request from FoxNews.com, the U.S. Secret Service said it has no records showing agents were ever on the island with Clinton.
On one flight to Africa in 2002, Clinton and Epstein were joined by Kevin Spacey: the actor now accused of sexual misconduct by at least a dozen men — one said he was 14 when Spacey made sexual advances.
Epstein was also friendly with film director, Woody Allen. The two have been photographed their and Epstein had a photo of the director in his Manhattan home. Engelhardt, one of Allen’s romantic interests, went on to become a personal assistant for Epstein.
Prince Andrew, a member of the British Royal family, was accused in a 2014 court filing to have been one of the men who Epstein forced a girl to have sex with. In 2015, it was ruled that the allegations were “immaterial and impertinent.” Prince Andrew’s legal team further claims that the photo of him featuring the alleged victim and Ghislaine Maxwell is fake. He does acknolwedge that, in spite of Epstein’s conviction as a sex offender, he continued his friendship with him. He was photographed with him in Central Park in 2010.
A testimony given by Jeffrey Epstein’s accountant suggests that his political connections may extend well beyond the US. In the accountant’s testimony, it’s stated that Jeffrey Epstein got his “money start” from Ghislaine Maxwell’s father: Robert Maxwell. Ghislaine Maxwell is widely understood to be one of Epstein’s closest associates and longtime friend. The Telegraph reports that Robert Maxwell was suspected to be associated with a number of intelligence agencies — ranging from the KGB to Mossad. Maxwell died mysteriously after he reportedly fell overboard from his boat.
While it appears Epstein owed part of his financial start to this figure, one can’t overlook the more glaring association with a former prime minister and defense minister of Israel: Ehud Barak. Reaching the army’s highest rank, he was the most decorated soldier in Israeli history. While he acknowledges that he did visit Epstein’s island, he denies ever meeting any girls. In August, The Daily Beast reported that he frequently visited Epstein’s Manhattan home. He told The Daily Beast he couldn’t comment due to the political environment in Israel.
The quote from one of his girlfriends “I control everyone and everything, I collect people, I own people, I can damage people” coincides with what Jeffrey Epstein told a New York Times’ reporter in 2018 under the condition of anonymity. Now that he’s died, the reporter reveals that Epstein claimed that he had “damaging” and “embarrassing” information on powerful people. While Tesla & Elon Musk flatly deny any connection, Epstein claimed that he was consulting with Musk after his tweets had ignited a controversy with the SEC.
Instances like these seem to reveal part of Epstein’s strategy in finessing his way into elite circles, he would simply suggest that he was associated with powerful people and only sometimes could it be corroborated. One person close to Epstein described him as a “star fucker,” a person obsessed with and who seeks out personal interaction with celebrities. The New York Times reporter noticed this was a “pattern” with Epstein: “When I later reflected on our interview, I was struck by how little information Mr. Epstein had actually provided. While I can’t say anything he said was an explicit lie, much of what he said was vague or speculative and couldn’t be proved or disproved.”
In a Daily Beast report, Edward Jay Epstein, a well known journalist and former professor at Harvard and MIT, recounts that he got a similar sense from Jeffrey Epstein. The two are not related. He described Jeffrey Epstein as an “ unreliable witness and “a liar,” once claiming to Edward that he was, among other things, a private detective, and, another time, that he flew every month to Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin. “Maybe he was a calculated liar, but I had a feeling it was pathological.”
In the end, the number of powerful and wealthy individuals who successfully kept their involvement in Jeffrey Epstein’s schemes under wraps is likely more extensive than what we’ll ever know. With Epstein now dead, his obscure network no doubt still exists — ready to be taken over by someone more methodical and obscure than he.