Financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City on Saturday. His death is being considered a suicide.
Epstein, who was arraigned on sex-trafficking charges in July, saw himself as a collector of famous friends. "I invest in people — be it politics or science," he told New York magazine in 2002. "It's what I do."
But it's not all he did. Prior to his death, Epstein was facing up to 45 years in prison ("basically a life sentence," according to prosecutors) for allegedly abusing dozens of underage girls as part of his sex-trafficking operation. Now, with an investigation into his death pending, there's continued interest in the people he surrounded himself with. This is especially because when he faced similar charges more than a decade ago, he struck up a shockingly lenient plea deal that promised immunity for his "co-conspirators."
Epstein's indictment describes how the 66-year-old, who pleaded not guilty, ran what's been called a "sexual pyramid scheme," through which he ensnared the girls he allegedly abused to bring in more girls, at his residences in New York City and Palm Beach, FL, between 2002 and 2005. British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly helped him, luring girls under the guise that they would obtain modeling and educational opportunities.
The billionaire investor had connections to some of the most powerful people in the world, including former President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump. His "little black book," which Gawker obtained and published in 2015, was full of contacts for politicians, celebrities, and wealthy people.
Ahead, the powerful men who have been linked to Epstein.
Former President Bill Clinton
In the early 2000s, Epstein flew former President Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey, and comedian Chris Tucker to Africa so they could participate in a tour of prevention and treatment centers for AIDS. Epstein was reportedly a supporter of the Clinton Foundation.
Flight logs obtained by Gawker in 2015 show that Clinton, who has been accused of sexual assault, flew in Epstein's private plane at least 11 times in the mid-2000s. In a statement, Clinton's press secretary Angel Ureña said that Clinton had only taken four flights on Epstein's plane.
"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," he said. Ureña added: "He's not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and has never been to [Epstein's private island] Little St. James Island, Epstein's ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida."
President Donald Trump
Epstein used to frequent President Donald Trump's Palm Beach property, Mar-a-Lago, and the real estate magnate spoke highly of him. "I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy," Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by at least 21 women, told New York magazine in 2002. "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."
According to Politico, court filings show Trump flew on Epstein's private plane at least once. The financier also had Trump’s phone numbers in his personal phone directory. The legal team for one of Epstein's accusers has also claimed Epstein was banned from Mar-a-Lago after being accused of sexually assaulting a young girl at the property. Trump has not confirmed this.
“As I have previously explained, he had no relationship with Mr. Epstein and had no knowledge whatsoever of his conduct,” Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten told Politico in 2017. “This has all been reported countless times in the press.” On Tuesday, Trump's senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said the president has not spoken to Epstein in “years and years and years.”
Attorney Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz, a high-powered attorney and Harvard Law professor, was part of Epstein's legal team in 2007. He was one of the lawyers who helped broker the lenient plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal prison, serve only 13 months in county jail, be granted a work release, and obtain immunity for "any potential co-conspirators" in his crimes. Dershowitz was also named in a civil lawsuit brought forward by one of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Giuffre claims that Epstein trafficked her to Dershowitz while she was a minor. The Palm Beach Post reported that in 2017, he won the legal fight against her. A second alleged survivor of Epstein's alleged abuse, Sarah Ransome, also claims Epstein forced her to have sex with Dershowitz. The documents related to Dershowitz are currently sealed, according to The Daily Beast.
Dershowitz has denied all the allegations. "The accusation by Virginia Roberts Giuffre is the same one she made, and I conclusively disproved, more than four years ago. I produced all my travel and American Express records, which proved that I could not have been, and was not at the places and times she claims to have had sex with me. The former Director of the FBI carefully reviewed these records as part of a thorough investigation and concluded that 'the totality of the evidence found during the investigation refutes the allegations,'" Dershowitz told The Daily Beast. Of Ransome, he said: "Let me be clear: I never met either of these liars."
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
According to The Guardian, Prince Andrew and Epstein's relationship goes back to the early 1990s. Virginia Roberts Giuffre has claimed that Prince Andrew forced her to have sex with him as well. (See: A court filing obtained by The Guardian.) Buckingham Palace has denied the allegations.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr
U.S. Attorney General William Barr served as counsel for the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, which was part of Epstein's legal team in 2007 and helped him obtain his plea deal. Barr is not recusing himself from the current case against Epstein, but he "has been and will remain recused from any retrospective review of the resolution of the earlier case in Florida," according to CNN reporting.
Attorney Kenneth Starr
Kenneth Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, was also part of Epstein's defense team in 2007 and played a role in securing the infamous plea deal. Dershowitz said in 2015 that Starr was brought on board because he "had experience in investigating sex investigations. He had experience as the solicitor general and as a judge. He had all the bases covered."
Filmmaker Woody Allen
The Daily Beast reported in 2011 that Epstein hosted Woody Allen, who has faced sexual assault allegations himself, and other celebrities for dinner at his New York City townhouse in December 2010, more than a year after Epstein had served 13 months in jail for soliciting underage prostitution.
Physicist Lawrence Krauss
Krauss, a so-called “celebrity scientist,” directed a Harvard University program that was made possible by Epstein's $30 million donation. In 2011, he defended Epstein in a Daily Beast article. “If anything, the unfortunate period he suffered has caused him to really think about what he wants to do with his money and his time, and support knowledge,” Krauss said. “Jeffrey has surrounded himself with beautiful women and young women, but they’re not as young as the ones that were claimed. As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.” Krauss, who taught at Arizona State University, would go on to be accused of sexual misconduct in 2018. The school found the allegations to be truthful, while Krauss still denies the claims.
Former Maine Senator George Mitchell
In an unsealed deposition from a 2015 defamation civil suit, Virginia Giuffre accused Epstein of using her as a sex slave from 2000 to 2002, starting when she was 16, and forced her to have sex with numerous men including the former Senator George Mitchell. Giuffre said she was recruited by Maxwell. Mitchell called the accusation false and said in a statement that he has not met or had contact with Giuffre, and denied knowing Epstein was abusing underaged girls. An attorney for Giuffre said, "The truth will have the final word. Virginia Roberts Giuffre is a survivor and a woman to be believed. She believes a reckoning of inevitable accountability has begun." The court records do not contain direct evidence linking Giuffre to the numerous powerful men she accused, the Miami Herald notes she did provide numerous pieces of evidence that link her to Epstein and Maxwell and indicate she suffered abuse at their hands.
Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson
Richardson was also named by Giuffre in the 2015 suit as a man Maxwell and Epstein asked her to have sex with. Mitchell denied the accusations in a statement, saying he has never met Giuffre and that the accusations were "completely false." He added that in his "limited" interactions with Epstein, he had never seen the man in the presence of underaged girls.
Financier Glenn Dubin
Dubin was also named by Giuffre in her deposition. Dubin is the principal for the private investment company Dubin & Co. and a founder and former Board chair of the Robin Hood Foundation. Additionally, Dubin is a board member of Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Museum of Modern Art, and a member of the Dean’s Executive Committee of the Harvard Kennedy School. His net worth is estimated to be $2.1 billion. A spokesperson for Dublin said he was outraged by the accusations, saying he had flight records and additional evidence to disprove them.
Modeling Executive Jean-Luc Brunel
MC2 Model Management co-founder Brunel's name also surfaced in Giuffre's accusations. She claimed Brunel helped supply Epstein with underaged girls by recruiting them through his modeling agency. He denies the allegations.
Hotelier Thomas Pritzker
Pritzker another man accused of abuse by Giuffre; his name was previously listed in Epstein's "little black book" and in his private jet log. Pritzker is executive chairman of Hyatt Hotels, chairman and CEO of The Pritzker Organization, serves on the board of directors for Royal Caribbean Cruises, founded the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium, is chairman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago. He is one of the 11 heirs to the Hyatt fortune and is net worth is estimated at $4.2 billion. Pritzker denies the accusations by Giuffre.
Refinery29 reached out to Lawrence Krauss for comment, and we will update this story if we hear back.
This story has been continually updated throughout with new information.