Jeff-pal guilt trips: Rushing to judgment

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By Dan Sears

Back in 2019 as the feds were closing in on Jeffrey Epstein for a second time, I embarked on a story to debunk a conspiracy theory on why he got off so lightly the first time: That he was an informant for the government in its crackdown on financial-crisis-related crimes.

By talking with SEC officials, prosecutors and Wall Street executives with knowledge of what the feds were doing after 2008, I had concrete proof it was all BS.

I was ready to write except I had to make one more call — to the convicted sex offender himself. But how do you get in touch with someone like Epstein? It’s not like he’s in the telephone book. He was then an increasingly reclusive figure hounded by plaintiffs’ attorneys representing his victims, and prosecutors who wanted to do what they failed to do the first time: put him away for life.

That night, I had dinner with two New York City power brokers and told them my problem. One, a billionaire and a known quantity in New York business circles, whipped out his iPhone and proceeded to give me Epstein’s number.

The next day I called Epstein, and he did answer my questions, providing me with some interesting details about his life. “I’m not a pedophile,” he said. “Maybe the only thing worse than being called a pedophile is being called a hedge fund manager.” And he wasn’t one of those either; he was a high-end broker to the super-rich. He also said he wasn’t a rat; it’s all “bulls–t” that he cooperated with the feds to get a light sentence.

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A few months later he was arrested, and a few weeks after that he was found dead in his jail cell in an apparent suicide.

The point of this story is not to show how connected I am, but how connected Epstein was to the power elite. He knew everyone on Wall Street, many in Washington, and a lot of powerful people in academia.

The person who gave me his number, I have total confidence in saying, is not part of Epstein’s notorious pedophile ring. He may or may not have been on Epstein’s allegedly freaky “Lolita Express” private jet, and if he was, it was all business.

Why just a wrist slap?

Epstein, of course, is a thoroughly repulsive human being for the crimes he committed. It’s still a mystery why he received such a light sentence the first time he was charged with having sex with children — which was the original point of my reporting.  But the release this past week of a bunch of documents has taken the sordid spectacle of Epstein to a whole new level.

If you listen to many in the chattering class, every single person Epstein had ever said hello to could be part of his ring of deceit and debauchery. And it’s a shame. Guilt by association is how we got the Red Scare, crazy conspiracy theories like Pizzagate, and the madness of crowds.

I’m not a fan of Bill Clinton’s behavior and policies, but he is now “convicted,” at least by some in the court of public opinion, as a charter member of Epstein’s pedophile ring.

The reason: a victim of Epstein said in a deposition that Epstein told her “Clinton likes them young,” referring to girls.

How young is young and where is the proof he acted on this alleged fetish? There isn’t any.

The late Stephen Hawking is listed in the recent Epstein document dump. That’s right, the eminent Cambridge physicist who spent so many of his later years in a wheelchair, his body ravaged by ALS, gets the Epstein treatment, no matter how preposterous it appears. That’s because as part of the unsealed documents, we find an email from Epstein to Ghislaine Maxwell, his alleged accomplice in the child sex-trafficking ring. Epstein was looking to get some of his accusers to back off the Hawking angle.

“You can issue a reward to any” accuser to “help prove her allegations are false . . . that Stephen Hawking participated in an underage orgy,” Epstein writes. Are we really supposed to believe Hawking had the wherewithal to engage in sex with minors because of that statement?

Donald Trump’s name is found as well; he and Epstein were pals back in the day, seen partying in Palm Beach. Back in 2002, Trump told New York magazine that Epstein was a “terrific guy” and that “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. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

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I know Trump says he had a falling out with Epstein since, the details of which remain murky. But his quote is not meant to be criticism that Epstein sleeps with kids; Trump was bragging about Epstein’s taste in women. Like Clinton, he likes them young.

Should we convict Epstein, Clinton and now Trump in the child-sex scheme? Of course not.
For years attorney Alan Dershowitz, one of Epstein’s original lawyers, had his name dragged through the mud because one of Epstein’s accusers also accused Dershowitz of rape. Finally, after years of litigation and embarrassment, the accuser did a 180 and said it  may have been a big mistake.
Remember that as you begin connecting the dots on the next round of the Epstein documents.

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