Epstein’s list: Judge unseals documents with names of people cited in the case

Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump are mentioned, but these names were already known and the reasons why they appear do not automatically entail wrongdoing

Jeffrey Epstein y Ghislaine Maxwell
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in New York in March 2005.Patrick McMullan (via Getty Images)
Miguel Jiménez

The Epstein case and its derivatives continue to generate great expectation years after the death of the financier and sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in August 2019 in his cell in a high-security prison in Manhattan. The judge in charge of the case stemming from a lawsuit filed in 2015 by one of the victims, Virginia Giuffre, against Epstein’s lover and partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, has unsealed hundreds of pages of documents from that case, which ended with an out-of-court settlement.

The documents mention victims of sexual assault, people who interacted with Epstein, lists of potential witnesses and friends and collaborators of the financier. Although many of these documents have so far cited people generically as John Doe and Jane, there were also numerous personalities who had ties to Epstein and whose names were already known, such as Prince Andrew and former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. But the list of people and the reasons why they appear are so varied that their presence in the documents must be treated with enormous caution. The vast majority of people whose names appear in the documents are not accused of any crime. If anyone expected a list of Epstein’s clients, this is not the case, despite the misinformation and conspiracy theories that have circulated on social media.

For example, former President Donald Trump is mentioned, but only in a question to a witness who was asked if she had relations with him or gave him massages, to which she answered no, in a series of questions that also mentioned the scientist Marvin Minsky, the filmmaker George Lucas and the lawyer Alan Dershowitz, in all cases with negative answers. Giuffre withdrew an accusation she had made against Dershowitz, who was Epstein’s lawyer, in 2022, saying she may have made a mistake in reporting him.

In another statement, a witness is asked if she saw Trump at one of Epstein’s homes, on his island in the Virgin Islands, in New York or in New Mexico, with the same answer on all four questions: “Not that I remember.”

Interest in the documents was so intense that within minutes of their being unsealed, the website that distributed them, CourtListener, crashed. The unsealed material is distributed between 40 documents, mostly witness statements, but also emails, subpoenas and other legal documents.

Epstein was arrested in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2005 after being accused of paying a 14-year-old girl for sex. Dozens of other minors described similar sexual abuse, but prosecutors finally allowed the financier to plead guilty in 2008 to a charge involving a single victim. He served 13 months in a work release program.

Some famous acquaintances broke ties with Epstein after his conviction, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, but the millionaire continued to associate with the rich and famous for another decade, often through philanthropy. Reporting by The Miami Herald renewed interest in the scandal, and federal prosecutors in New York charged Epstein in 2019 with sex trafficking. He took his own life in prison while awaiting trial. His partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of media mogul and fraudster Robert Maxwell, was convicted of sex trafficking of minors and sentenced to 20 years in prison in June 2022.

It was The Miami Herald that requested the release of the documents, to which the judge has finally agreed, although some names of victims remain crossed out.

Giuffre stated at the time that the summer she turned 17, she was hired at the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago club to become Epstein’s “masseuse,” which included performing sexual acts. She also claimed that she was pressured to have sexual relations with men in Epstein’s orbit, including Prince Andrew, with whom she reached an agreement in 2022 to withdraw the sexual abuse lawsuit. Prince Andrew is mentioned on multiple occasions in the documents that have been unsealed.

Johana Sjoberg statement

One of them contains a 179-page long statement by Johana Sjoberg, in which she describes how he touched her breast while they took photos. Although the story was already known, her testimony had remained under wraps until now. She recounts that at a meeting where Virginia Giuffre was also present she discovered that it was Prince Andrew because there was a puppet of the prince himself and that she thought it was funny. “I just remember someone suggested taking a picture, and we were told to get on the couch. So Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet on their lap. And then I sat on Andrew’s lap, and I think of my own free will, and they took the puppet’s hands and put them on Virginia’s chest, and then Andrew put his hands on mine,” she recounts.

In the same statement, the victim claims that Epstein once told her that [Bill] Clinton likes them young, referring to girls. In 2019, the former president acknowledged that he had flown on Epstein’s private plane on several occasions in 2002 and 2003, but claimed he knew nothing of the billionaire’s “terrible crimes.” Sjoberg also said that once she was on the tycoon’s private plane and the pilots said they could not land in New York and that they would divert to Atlantic City, and then “Jeffrey [Epstein] said, ‘Great, we’ll call Trump and go [...] to the casino.”

Sjoberg also said that she met Michael Jackson at the Epstein mansion in Palm Beach, and on another occasion she saw the magician David Copperfield. The investor Glenn Dubin, the modeling agent Jean Luc Brunel (who committed suicide in prison in France before being tried for rape) and the former CEO of Limited and Victoria’s Secret, Leslie Wexner, are also mentioned in a compromising way. Those names had previously been made public. In one statement, Giuffre says she had sex with businessmen, politicians and others, including the billionaire Tom Pritzker, CEO of Hyatt Hotels; former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson; and scientist Marvin Minsky, as well as others whose names she could not remember. In another statement, she said that in the case of the “owner of a large hotel chain” she was sent to Paris to give him a massage around the time of the birthday of supermodel Naomi Campbell, with whom she had already appeared in several photographs.

Some of the names on the documents remain secret at the request of subpoenaed individuals. One of these, according to U.S. media, might be Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has publicly regretted the meetings he had with Epstein, according to him to discuss philanthropic collaboration. There are also legal documents and subpoenas requesting Virginia Giuffre to provide any photographs and videos she may have in which she appears with a number of people, without it being clear why they appear on the list or whether such material actually exists. Among them are Bill Clinton, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and scientist Stephen Hawking.

Likewise, celebrities are mentioned who at some point flew in Jeffrey Epstein’s private plane or who coincided with him at a party, but there are no incriminating elements that would cast doubt on their conduct.

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