Florida

Huge cache of records details how Jeffrey Epstein and madam lured girls into depraved world

A chilling picture emerged Friday of how hundreds of girls and young women were allegedly trafficked for sex to a number of wealthy business, political and world leaders by Jeffrey Epstein and his madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, as nearly 2,000 court documents were unsealed in a federal civil case in New York.

Update: Jeffrey Epstein kills himself in his Manhattan jail cell

The documents, the largest cache to be released in the 13 years since Epstein’s case began, offer brutal details about Epstein’s trafficking of teenage girls in Palm Beach, New York and overseas — as well as Maxwell’s obsessive and often abusive quest to provide him with new girls over a span of years in the early to mid 2000s.

VirginiaRoberts 2_fitted.jpeg
Virginia Roberts, now Giuffre, says she was 16 and working as a locker room attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort when she was approached by Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s associate, about becoming a masseuse for Epstein. Courtesy of Virginia Roberts Giuffre

The documents raise new questions about whether powerful people pressured federal prosecutors in Florida to give Epstein a secret non-prosecution agreement in 2008 that not only granted him immunity, but allowed an untold number of other people who have never been identified to escape sex trafficking charges.

One of the men accused of having sex with one of Epstein’s victims is former Maine Senator George Mitchell, the once formidable Senate Democratic minority leader who in 2008 — the same year the Epstein deal was finalized — was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people.

Mitchell flatly has denied the allegations, which were buried amid the thousands of documents that were part of a 2015 federal defamation lawsuit brought against Maxwell by Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

Giuffre, who turned 36 on Friday, names a number of other men in politics, academia and business that she says she was directed to have sex with. In a 2017 interview with the Miami Herald, Giuffre said that Epstein wanted her to please various influential people then so that he could learn about their sexual peccadilloes and use them as leverage if he needed to.

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While there’s no direct evidence contained in the court record substantiating her accounts with prominent men, Giuffre did provide testimony and evidence to corroborate her claims of exploitation at the hands of Epstein and Maxwell through photographs, plane logs and even a medical record from Presbyterian Hospital in New York where Giuffre was taken by Epstein after a particularly abusive sex episode.

Her story was also supported by a sworn deposition from an ex-boyfriend, whom she told about the abuse at the time, and another woman who worked as an assistant for Maxwell and Epstein named Johanna Sjoberg. Sjoberg, who was a college student at Palm Beach Atlantic University when she was recruited by Maxwell, said that Maxwell’s primary role in Epstein’s life was to provide him with young girls at least three times a day.

“He explained to me that, in his opinion, he needed to have three orgasms a day. It was biological, like eating,’’ Sjoberg said in a sworn deposition in 2015.

The names of some prominent men Giuffre says she was directed to have sex with are spattered throughout the approximately 2,000 pages released Friday.

Besides Mitchell, they include: the late scientist Marvin Minsky, modeling scout Jean-Luc Brunel, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, 71, Hyatt hotels magnate Tom Pritzker, 69, and prominent hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin, 62. Giuffre has previously identified Epstein’s lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, 80, and Prince Andrew, 59, as two of the people with whom she had sex.

All the men have issued denials, with some, including Dershowitz, insisting they never met Giuffre. No charges have been filed against anyone other than Epstein, who was indicted last month in New York on two counts of sex trafficking.

Some of the testimony released Friday is difficult to read, as when one 15-year-old Swedish girl, shaking and crying in fear, told a butler who worked for two of Epstein’s closest friends that she had been taken to Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean and ordered to have sex with him and others. The butler, in a sworn statement, said the girl, visibly traumatized, told him that Epstein and Maxwell had physically threatened to harm her and seized her passport to keep her on the island, according to the butler’s statement.

The houseman, Rinaldo Rizzo, worked for Dubin and his wife, Eva, a former Miss Sweden who is a physician and founder of the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai. Rizzo said that the girl was so distraught she couldn’t recall how she got back to the U.S. mainland but that it was Maxwell who returned her to the Dubin residence in New York.

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Virginia Roberts poses for a photo with Prince Andrew as Guislaine Maxwell smiles in the background. Roberts reports that she was lent out to the prince when she was a teenage sex slave for Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and his partner, Maxwell. Copy Photo Courtesy of Virginia Roberts

The cache of court documents, part of the defamation case’s motion for summary judgment, also shows that in 2006, when the Palm Beach police were first investigating Epstein, he was being assisted by Maxwell as part of a pyramid-like scheme the pair operated to lure young girls from around Palm Beach County, focusing on schools, colleges and spas.

City of Palm Beach Detective Joe Recarey, who has since died, testified in the case that he was never able to question Maxwell, but the fact that the police had evidence of Maxwell’s involvement raises new questions about why the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Florida failed to pursue sex trafficking charges against Epstein, Maxwell and others.

Giuffre, as part of her sworn testimony, also states that she met former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and future President Donald Trump, and that Epstein once held a dinner for Clinton on his island, Little St. James, off the coast of St. Thomas.

She said in a 2016 deposition she met Trump through her father, Sky, who worked as a maintenance man at Trump’s Palm Beach home, Mar-a-Lago, and that to her knowledge, neither Trump nor Clinton had any intimate contact with “us’’ — referring to a group of girls Epstein kept at his beck and call for sex.

Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, said there is nothing in the Maxwell case that showed any wrongdoing by Clinton, Gore or Trump.

“We know both Trump and Clinton were associated with Epstein at various times in various ways, but in terms of what we have, there’s no indication that any of the three of them did anything improper.’’

Little St. James 002 Epstein EKM
Jeffrey Epstein’s home on the island of Little St. James in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Former workers on the island said that Epstein’s bedroom was in the building on the right, the larger main house can be seen to the left, and then four smaller cabana rooms can be seen in the courtyard behind the main house. Emily Michot emichot@miamiherald.com

The lawsuit was settled in 2017 in Giuffre’s favor, Boies said. But besides the monetary settlement, Boies said Giuffre’s goal was to chronicle, in testimony and evidence, the scope of Epstein’s and Maxwell’s sex trafficking operation.

“What the lawsuit was about is this massive sex trafficking operation which went on for years, right in front of everybody — and the way in which every institution in our society failed these girls. The courts failed them, the prosecutors failed them, the lawyers failed them, the media failed them — everyone in our system failed them,’’ he said.

He added that even after Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 as part of a plea deal that amounted to minor prostitution charges, Epstein served a cushy jail term — he was allowed to leave the jail for 12 hours a day — and went back to his jet-setting social life. At the same time, Giuffre and Epstein’s other victims continued to suffer trauma as details of his crimes spilled out over the years — and the criminal justice system continued to ignore the case.

Boies, whose firm is now engaged in a similar defamation lawsuit brought by Giuffre against Dershowitz, said that there were a lot of people who, if they weren’t involved knew what Epstein and Maxwell were doing.

“I think one of the general points worth making is how many people knew about this and did nothing, and how long it went on right in plain sight, hiding in plain sight,’’ Boies said.

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A mugshot of Jeffrey Epstein from March 28, 2017.

Maxwell, in portions of her deposition unsealed Friday, refused to answer questions about whether she saw Epstein with any underage girls. She denied she ever had sex with Giuffre, calling her a liar and, at one point, pounding her fists on a table during questioning.

“Again, Virginia is absolutely totally lying. This is a subject of defamation about Virginia and the lies she has told and one of the lies she told was that President Clinton was on the island where I was present. Absolutely 1,000 percent that is a flat-out total fabrication and lie.’’

Clinton has admitted that he made four plane trips with Epstein as part of the charitable work of the Clinton Foundation.

“President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,’’ a statement from his spokesman, released last month, said.

President Trump has recently claimed that he was not really close with Epstein and had not spoken to him in years. Giuffre, however, said in a deposition released Friday that Trump and Epstein were good friends. She admitted that Epstein was the one who characterized his friendship with Trump and that she herself had never seen the two of them together.

The Herald was unsuccessful in reaching Brunel.

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The Miami Herald obtained thousands of FBI and court records, lawsuits, and witness depositions, and went to federal court in New York to access sealed documents in the reporting of "Perversion of Justice." The Herald also tracked down more than 60 women who said they were victims, some of whom had never spoken of the abuse before.

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Devin Broda, a spokesman for the Dubins, issued the following statement:

“Glenn and Eva Dubin are outraged by the allegations in the unsealed court records, which are demonstrably false and defamatory. The Dubins have flight records and other evidence that definitively disprove that any such events occurred.”

A spokesman for Richardson issued a statement saying that he has never met Giuffre.

“These allegations and inferences are completely false. ...To be clear, in Governor Richardson’s limited interactions with Mr. Epstein, he never saw him in the presence of young or underage girls.”

“I have never met, spoken with or had any contact with Ms. Giuffre,” Mitchell told the Portland (Maine) Press Herald. “In my contacts with Mr. Epstein I never observed or suspected any inappropriate conduct with underage girls. I only learned of his actions when they were reported in the media related to his prosecution in Florida. We have had no further contact.”

Giuffre named at least two other women who were considered “sex slaves,’’ but said there were dozens of others who were directed to perform sex acts for politicians, businessmen and world leaders during the two and half years she spent with Epstein starting in 2000 when she was 17.

The civil case had previously been sealed by a federal court judge. The Miami Herald, which published a detailed investigation of the Epstein case last November, Perversion of Justice, petitioned the court in January to unseal the entire case. Two other parties, blogger Mike Cernovich and Epstein lawyer Dershowitz, had previously asked that certain portions of the case be unsealed.

Support investigative journalism

The Miami Herald obtained thousands of FBI and court records, lawsuits, and witness depositions, and went to federal court in New York to access sealed documents in the reporting of "Perversion of Justice." The Herald also tracked down more than 60 women who said they were victims, some of whom had never spoken of the abuse before.

Your digital subscription, starting at $0.99 for the first month, supports investigative journalism like this.

Giuffre has said that Epstein forced her to have sex with both Dershowitz and Prince Andrew, an allegation they both have denied. Another woman, Sarah Ransome, said that Epstein and Maxwell directed her to have sex with Dershowitz, which the famed attorney has also denied.

The court documents revealed new details about her alleged sex acts with Dershowitz, including times that she says she had sex with him on Epstein’s jet and in a limo with another girl while Epstein was present. In her deposition, she also said she briefly visited Dershowitz’s Massachusetts home, waiting for him with another woman in the foyer.

Dershowitz has previously told the Herald that Giuffre is a liar and that he intends to prove it in court.

A three-judge panel agreed to release the documents in April. One of the three cautioned that just because an allegation is in the documents doesn’t make it true.

On Thursday, another U.S. district judge, Loretta Preska, will hold a hearing to determine how to unseal the remaining documents in the case.

Miami Herald staff writers Veronica Penney and Aaron Brezel contributed to this report.

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