Dozens of court documents related to the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and open wednesday Includes the names of several prominent figures. Among them: former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
Neither Clinton nor Trump have been charged with any crimes related to Epstein, who committed suicide in jail while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.
Where did the documents come from?
Documents – which add up to almost 1,000 pages. – were part of a 2015 defamation lawsuit filed against Epstein and his ex-girlfriend and convicted accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell for Virginia Giuffreone of his accusers.
In the documents, Giuffre alleged that many of the sexual encounters occurred under the guise of massages that Maxwell, a British socialite, arranged for Epstein and others.
Giuffre claimed that as a teenager, Epstein and Maxwell pressured her into having sexual encounters with powerful men, including Prince Andrew. Giuffre reached an out-of-court settlement with Andrew, who denied her allegations.
U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska ordered the documents unsealed in mid-December, saying most of the information and names they contained were already public.
What do they say about Clinton and Trump?
The newly unsealed documents include a transcript of a 2016 deposition in which a second accuser, identified as Johanna Sjoberg, testified that Epstein “once said that Clinton likes young women, meaning girls.” She did not give further details.
Sjoberg testified that Epstein told her he would take her to Trump’s casino in Atlantic City, but did not allege any wrongdoing. She also said in a statement that Prince Andrew had touched her inappropriately at Epstein’s New York mansion.
In total, Clinton’s name appears 73 times in the documents revealed Wednesday; Trump’s name appears four times.
What was Clinton’s relationship with Epstein?
The former president has acknowledged that he had flown on Epstein’s plane and had met with the jet-setting financier on several occasions.
In previously released court documents, Giuffre said she met with Clinton on Epstein’s private Caribbean island but did not accuse him of any crime. Clinton, who has been photographed on Epstein’s plane, denied ever visiting the island.
In 2019, after Epstein was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges, Clinton’s office issued a statement saying the former president knew “nothing about the terrible crimes” Epstein was accused of.
Epstein committed suicide in federal prison a month later.
What was Trump’s relationship with Epstein and Maxwell?
Trump and Epstein were longtime friends long before Trump became president.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years,” Trump told New York magazine in 2002. “He’s a fantastic guy. He’s very fun to be with. He even says that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are younger.”
In 2005, Epstein was arrested in Palm Beach, Florida, accused of paying a 14-year-old girl for sex.
In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to state charges of soliciting and recruiting a person under 18 for prostitution. Under the terms of a secret agreement his attorneys signed with then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, Epstein was sentenced to 13 months in county jail, with daily work release privileges, and a related federal investigation into possible crimes.
He was required to reach financial settlements with dozens of his victims and register as a sex offender, but Epstein could have faced life in prison if convicted of federal charges.
After the plea deal was revealed in An explosive 2018 Miami Herald investigationTrump defended Acosta, then his Labor secretary, but distanced himself from Epstein, saying he was “not a big fan.”
In 2020, while Maxwell was awaiting trial for helping Epstein sexually abuse underage girls, Trump was asked what he thought about the case.
“I don’t know. I haven’t really followed it too much. I just wish her the best, frankly. I’ve seen her numerous times over the years, especially since she lived in Palm Beach.” Trump told reporters at the White House.. “But I wish him the best, whatever that may be.”
In 2021, Maxwell was convicted and subsequently sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
What other notable names appear in the documents?
Other names in bold that appear in the documents revealed Wednesday include Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer and former Harvard Law professor; Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico; Glenn Dubin, a billionaire hedge fund manager; Les Wexner, billionaire founder of Bath & Body Works; and Jean-Luc Brunel, a French modeling agent who committed suicide in prison in 2022 while awaiting trial on charges of raping girls.
More documents (and names) are expected to be released on Thursday.
Could the people named in the documents face any criminal or civil liability?
Not just by being named.
“There is likely a spectrum of involvement with respect to all of the individuals identified,” Tom Bosworth, founder of Bosworth Law and an attorney for catastrophic injury victims, told Yahoo News. “The existence of criminal or civil liability for a person will depend largely on the particular facts of each case.”