[Marxism] The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 13 08:49:12 MDT 2019
(The author is a renowned business journalist who covers Wall Street.)
NY Times, Aug. 13, 2019
The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People
By James B. Stewart
Almost exactly a year ago, on Aug. 16, 2018, I visited Jeffrey Epstein
at his cavernous Manhattan mansion.
The overriding impression I took away from our roughly 90-minute
conversation was that Mr. Epstein knew an astonishing number of rich,
famous and powerful people, and had photos to prove it. He also claimed
to know a great deal about these people, some of it potentially damaging
or embarrassing, including details about their supposed sexual
proclivities and recreational drug use.
So one of my first thoughts on hearing of Mr. Epstein’s suicide was that
many prominent men and at least a few women must be breathing sighs of
relief that whatever Mr. Epstein knew, he has taken it with him.
During our conversation, Mr. Epstein made no secret of his own
scandalous past — he’d pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting
prostitution from underage girls and was a registered sex offender — and
acknowledged to me that he was a pariah in polite society. At the same
time, he seemed unapologetic. His very notoriety, he said, was what made
so many people willing to confide in him. Everyone, he suggested, has
secrets and, he added, compared with his own, they seemed innocuous.
People confided in him without feeling awkward or embarrassed, he claimed.
I’d never met Mr. Epstein before. I had contacted him because my
colleagues and I had heard a rumor that he was advising Tesla’s
embattled chief executive, Elon Musk, who was in trouble after
announcing on Twitter that he had lined up the funding to take Tesla
The Securities and Exchange Commission began an investigation into Mr.
Musk’s remarks, which moved markets but didn’t appear to have much basis
in fact. There were calls for Mr. Musk to relinquish his position as
Tesla’s chairman and for Tesla to recruit more independent directors.
I’d heard that Mr. Epstein was compiling a list of candidates at Mr.
Musk’s behest — and that Mr. Epstein had an email from Mr. Musk
authorizing the search for a new chairman.
Mr. Musk and Tesla vehemently deny this. “It is incorrect to say that
Epstein ever advised Elon on anything,” a spokeswoman for Mr. Musk,
Keely Sulprizio, said Monday.
When I contacted Mr. Epstein, he readily agreed to an interview. The
caveat was that the conversation would be “on background,” which meant I
could use the information as long as I didn’t attribute it directly to
him. (I consider that condition to have lapsed with his death.)
He insisted that I meet him at his house, which I’d seen referred to as
the largest single-family home in Manhattan. This seems plausible: I
initially walked past the building, on East 71st Street, because it
looked more like an embassy or museum than a private home. Next to the
imposing double doors was a polished brass plaque with the initials
“J.E.” and a bell. After I rang, the door was opened by a young woman,
her blond hair pulled back in a chignon, who greeted me with what
sounded like an Eastern European accent.
I can’t say how old she was, but my guess would be late teens or perhaps
20. Given Mr. Epstein’s past, this struck me as far too close to the
line. Why would Mr. Epstein want a reporter’s first impression to be
that of a young woman opening his door?
The woman led me up a monumental staircase to a room on the second floor
overlooking the Frick museum across the street. It was quiet, the
lighting dim, and the air-conditioning was set very low. After a few
minutes, Mr. Epstein bounded in, dressed casually in jeans and a polo
shirt, shook my hand and said he was a big fan of my work. He had a big
smile and warm manner. He was trim and energetic, perhaps from all the
yoga he said he was practicing. He was undeniably charismatic.
Before we left the room he took me to a wall covered with framed
photographs. He pointed to a full-length shot of a man in traditional
Arab dress. “That’s M.B.S.,” he said, referring to Mohammed bin Salman,
the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The crown prince had visited him many
times, and they spoke often, Mr. Epstein said.
He led me to a large room at the rear of the house. There was an
expansive table with about 20 chairs. Mr. Epstein took a seat at the
head, and I sat to his left. He had a computer, a small blackboard and a
phone to his right. He said he was doing some foreign-currency trading.
Behind him was a table covered with more photographs. I noticed one of
Mr. Epstein with former President Bill Clinton, and another of him with
the director Woody Allen. Displaying photos of celebrities who had been
caught up in sex scandals of their own also struck me as odd.
Mr. Epstein avoided specifics about his work for Tesla. He told me that
he had good reason to be cryptic: Once it became public that he was
advising the company, he’d have to stop doing so, because he was
“radioactive.” He predicted that everyone at Tesla would deny talking to
him or being his friend.
He said this was something he’d become used to, even though it didn’t
stop people from visiting him, coming to his dinner parties or asking
him for money. (That was why, Mr. Epstein told me without any trace of
irony, he was considering becoming a minister so that his acquaintances
would be confident that their conversations would be kept confidential.)
If he was reticent about Tesla, he was more at ease discussing his
interest in young women. He said that criminalizing sex with teenage
girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was
perfectly acceptable. He pointed out that homosexuality had long been
considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of
Mr. Epstein then meandered into a discussion of other prominent names in
technology circles. He said people in Silicon Valley had a reputation
for being geeky workaholics, but that was far from the truth: They were
hedonistic and regular users of recreational drugs. He said he’d
witnessed prominent tech figures taking drugs and arranging for sex (Mr.
Epstein stressed that he never drank or used drugs of any kind).
I kept trying to steer the conversation back to Tesla, but Mr. Epstein
remained evasive. He said he’d spoken to the Saudis about possibly
investing in Tesla, but he wouldn’t provide any specifics or names. When
I pressed him on the purported email from Mr. Musk, he said the email
wasn’t from Mr. Musk himself, but from someone very close to him. He
wouldn’t say who that person was. I asked him if that person would talk
to me, and he said he’d ask. He later said the person declined; I doubt
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. He did have at least
some ties to Mr. Musk — a widely circulated photo shows Mr. Musk with
Ghislaine Maxwell, Mr. Epstein’s confidante and former companion, at the
2014 Vanity Fair Oscars party.
“Ghislaine simply inserted herself behind him in a photo he was posing
for without his knowledge,” Ms. Sulprizio, the spokeswoman for Mr. Musk,
It seemed clear Mr. Epstein had embellished his role in the Tesla
situation to enhance his own importance and gain attention — something
that now seems to have been a pattern.
About a week after that interview, Mr. Epstein called and asked if I’d
like to have dinner that Saturday with him and Woody Allen. I said I’d
be out of town. A few weeks after that, he asked me to join him for
dinner with the author Michael Wolff and Donald J. Trump’s former
adviser, Steve Bannon. I declined. (I don’t know if these dinners
actually happened. Mr. Bannon has said he didn’t attend. Mr. Wolff and a
spokeswoman for Mr. Allen didn’t respond to requests for comment on Monday.)
Several months passed. Then early this year Mr. Epstein called to ask if
I’d be interested in writing his biography. He sounded almost plaintive.
I sensed that what he really wanted was companionship. As his
biographer, I’d have no choice but to spend hours listening to his saga.
Already leery of any further ties to him, I was relieved I could say
that I was already busy with another book.
That was the last I heard from him. After his arrest and suicide, I’m
left to wonder: What might he have told me?
More information about the Marxism