[Marxism] Jeffrey Epstein Is the Ultimate Symbol of Plutocratic Rot

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jul 9 07:22:56 MDT 2019

NY Times Op-Ed, July 9, 2019
Jeffrey Epstein Is the Ultimate Symbol of Plutocratic Rot
By Michelle Goldberg

In 2003, the journalist Vicky Ward profiled Jeffrey Epstein, the 
financier indicted Monday on charges of sexually abusing and trafficking 
underage girls, for Vanity Fair. Her piece painted him as an enigmatic 
Jay Gatsby type, a boy from a middle-class family in Brooklyn who had 
scaled the rungs of the plutocracy, though no one could quite figure out 
how he made his money. It detailed dubious business dealings and 
mentioned that Epstein often had lots of beautiful young women around. 
But it left out Ward’s most important finding.

Twelve years later, in The Daily Beast, Ward wrote about how, in the 
course of her reporting, two sisters allegedly preyed upon by Epstein, 
as well as their mother, had spoken to her on the record. But shortly 
before the story went to press, Ward wrote, the Vanity Fair editor 
Graydon Carter cut that section, saying, of Epstein, “He’s sensitive 
about the young women.” (In a statement on Monday, Carter said Ward’s 
reporting hadn’t been solid enough.)

Over the last couple of months, Ward told me, she’s started going 
through transcripts of the interviews about Epstein she did more than 16 
years ago. “What is so amazing to me is how his entire social circle 
knew about this and just blithely overlooked it,” she said of his 
penchant for adolescents. While praising his charm, brilliance and 
generous donations to Harvard, those she spoke to, she said, “all 
mentioned the girls, as an aside.”

On Saturday evening, more than a decade after receiving a sweetheart 
plea deal in an earlier sex crime case, Epstein was arrested after 
getting off a private flight from Paris. He has been accused of 
exploiting and abusing “dozens” of minor girls, some as young as 14, and 
conspiring with others to traffic them. Epstein’s arrest was the rare 
event that gratified right and left alike, both because it seemed that 
justice might finally be done, and because each side has reason to 
believe that if Epstein goes down, he could bring some of its enemies 
with him.

Both sides are likely right. The Epstein case is first and foremost 
about the casual victimization of vulnerable girls. But it is also a 
political scandal, if not a partisan one. It reveals a deep corruption 
among mostly male elites across parties, and the way the very rich can 
often purchase impunity for even the most loathsome of crimes. If it 
were fiction, it would be both too sordid and too on-the-nose to be 
believable, like a season of “True Detective” penned by a doctrinaire 

Epstein socialized with Donald Trump, who in 2002 described him to New 
York Magazine as a “terrific guy” whom he’d known for 15 years. “It is 
even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of 
them are on the younger side,” said the future president. In 2000, a 
porter who worked next door to Epstein’s Manhattan home told a British 
newspaper, admiringly, “I often see Donald Trump and there are loads of 
models coming and going, mostly at night. It’s amazing.”

Epstein also hung out with Bill Clinton, who rode on his jet several 
times. Ghislaine Maxwell, a close companion of Epstein who has been 
accused of working as his procurer, attended Chelsea Clinton’s wedding 
in 2010, long after Epstein’s exposure. Following his arrest on 
Saturday, Christine Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 
tweeted, “It is quite likely that some of our faves are implicated but 
we must follow the facts and let the chips fall where they may.”

Among the mysteries of the Epstein case are why powerful prosecutors of 
both parties treated him with such leniency. Alexander Acosta, now 
Trump’s labor secretary, was the federal attorney who oversaw the deal 
Epstein received in 2008. Though facing potential federal charges that 
could have put him away for life, Epstein was allowed to plead to minor 
state charges instead, an arrangement that was kept secret from his 
victims. He served 13 months in a county jail, where he got to spend six 
days a week in his office on work-release. In February, a judge ruled 
that Acosta’s team’s handling of the case violated the Crime Victims’ 
Rights Act. (Naturally, Acosta still has his job.)

After Epstein served his time, he had to register as a sex offender. 
Inexplicably, the Manhattan district attorney’s office, under Democrat 
Cyrus Vance Jr., asked a judge to downgrade Epstein’s sex offender 
status from Level 3, the most serious, to Level 1, the least. The judge, 
stunned, refused. “I am a little overwhelmed because I have never seen a 
prosecutor’s office do anything like this,” she said.

In a detention memo submitted on Monday, federal prosecutors outlined 
some of the evidence seized from a search of Epstein’s house on Saturday 
night. It included hundreds — possibly thousands — of sexually 
suggestive photographs of girls who appear underage, as well as 
hand-labeled compact discs with titles like “Girl pics nude,” and, with 
the names redacted, “Young [Name] + [Name].”

It seems, at first, astonishingly reckless for Epstein not just to 
allegedly keep such material, but to keep it in Manhattan, instead of, 
say, on his private Caribbean island. Maybe, however, it’s simply a sign 
of how protected he felt. “In my mind there has always been this huge 
question mark: What is Jeffrey Epstein’s leverage?” Ward said. If we 
find out, we’ll know just how rotten our rulers really are.

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