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Columnist: Jeffrey Epstein claimed to have dirt on powerful friends
A year before Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in jail, the pedophile told a journalist that he had blackmail on his rich and powerful friends.
New York Times columnist James B. Stewart wrote Monday that Epstein said he had “potentially damaging or embarrassing” information about the “sexual proclivities and recreational drug use” of people in his circle.
Epstein’s mysterious death in jail Saturday left Stewart with the impression that some people “must be breathing sighs of relief that whatever Mr. Epstein knew, he has taken it with him.”
The interview was on-background, but Stewart said he believed the conditions expired with Epstein’s death.
A year before Epstein killed himself, he received a visit at his New York mansion — one of the biggest in Manhattan — from Stewart, Fox News reports. The columnist wanted to talk to Epstein about rumors that he was advising Tesla founder Elon Musk on finding a new executive, but Epstein’s 90-minute interview veered into much darker territory.
Stewart was reportedly given an “overriding impression…that Mr. Epstein knew an astonishing number of rich, famous and powerful people,” people whom Epstein claimed had confided in him salacious secrets.
Stewart said that he was greeted at the door by a young blonde in her teens or early 20s, which struck Stewart as “too close to the line” given Epstein’s crimes. Epstein then gave him a tour of his palatial townhouse, showing him photos of friends like Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Woody Allen, and President Bill Clinton.
Drawing the line
Stewart wrote that Epstein was “evasive” about Tesla, but was “unapologetic” and spoke with great liberty about his disturbing views on pedophilia, and at one point, bragged that he had dirt on the drug and sex habits of powerful people in the tech industry, according to The Washington Examiner.
Epstein apparently told Stewart that although he was a pariah in the eyes of society, powerful people continued to associate with him, claiming that his notoriety encouraged them to share their comparatively harmless skeletons.
“He said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable,” Stewart wrote for the Times. “He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world.”
Epstein told Stewart that he had advised Musk, but that he could not go into detail since he was seen as “radioactive” and would be forced to cut ties with Tesla if his relationship were made public. Stewart wrote that Epstein likely embellished his story for attention, and both Musk and Tesla “vehemently” denied it.
The pedophile also told Stewart that he’d seen high-powered tech executives “taking drugs and arranging for sex,” but Stewart said that Epstein came across as an untrustworthy storyteller who struck him as having “embellished” his importance. After the interview, Epstein invited Stewart to dinners with Woody Allen, author Michael Wolff, and Steve Bannon — but Stewart wasn’t sure the dinners actually took place.
It’s not adding up
Epstein’s death in a Manhattan jail was immediately reported as a suicide, but the strange circumstances — and Epstein’s connections with the global elite — have encouraged conspiracy theories. The money manager counted among his friends U.S. presidents, British royalty, Hollywood elites, and high-powered businessmen like Victoria’s Secret mogul Leslie Wexner, who gifted Epstein his New York mansion.
Epstein’s death came one day after 2,000 documents were unsealed in a now-settled defamation suit against his former girlfriend and alleged madame. In the documents, one of Epstein’s accusers alleges that a bevy of powerful men in Epstein’s orbit, including Prince Andrew and two Democrats with ties to former President Clinton, abused her when she was an underage girl.
The more that comes out about Epstein’s death, the harder it gets to view his demise as the product of plain incompetence. Epstein was taken off suicide watch — at the request of his lawyers — only weeks after an apparent suicide attempt, and he was left alone, unmonitored, for hours before his death.
Given his ties to powerful people, some have speculated that Epstein was murdered — by the Clintons, by President Donald Trump, or possibly by Russians.
At the very least, Epstein’s “suicide” was facilitated by profound oversight that looks almost purposeful. Or was there more to it than that?
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