New batch of unsealed Jeffrey Epstein documents includes photographs and unconfirmed allegations

In 17 new documents, victim Sarah Ransome claims that former presidents Clinton and Trump and tycoon Richard Branson were part of the pedophile’s circle of clients, though she herself disavowed her testimony five years ago

Jeffrey Epstein y Donald Trump
Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach (Florida), in 1997.Getty (Getty Images)
María Porcel

With the utmost caution and with a lot of perspective. This is how one must read the 17 newly unsealed court documents concerning the network of abuses set up by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in the early and mid-2000s. The files, declassified Monday by Judge Loretta A. Preska, come on top of the nearly 200 documents that were released last week. The fresh batch of documents includes court petitions, e-mail exchanges, photographs and some victim statements, which — always taken with great caution — include explosive accusations with unverified indirect testimonies about some of the people who moved within Epstein’s circle.

Some of these files discuss former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, as well as businessman Richard Branson and the ubiquitous Prince Andrew of England, third son of the late Elizabeth II and brother of King Charles III.

Of the 17 documents, the most important are two, for different reasons, but with one person in common: Sarah Ransome, a woman who claims to have been a victim of Epstein’s scheme and to have several friends who were also victims. However, she herself retracted her statements years ago. Hence, the special caution with which we must read these documents.

In document number 7 — the first of the new round and which is 29 pages long —, Ransome gives her testimony and provides documents and photographs about her experience. The photos included show Ghislaine Maxwell (both alone and with French modeling agent Jean Luc Brunel, who committed suicide in prison in Paris while awaiting trial), Epstein riding an ATV, and the alleged victims, all of them very young women. They’re all in Little Saint James, Epstein’s island, allegedly in 2006.

Ransome talks about how there were many girls — very young girls — who rotated at Maxwell’s request to give massages (the code name for non-consensual sex) to Epstein and his colleagues. Both she and her friends, the whistleblower says, would try to run away and hide around the island (and even swim away from it) so as not to be called upon.

Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein on Little St James Island in 2006.United States District Court

Ransome explains (and has repeated in many interviews over the last decade) that she entered the network because she was studying in Edinburgh and, unable to pay tuition, took her last savings and went to New York to try to make contacts to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a prestigious fashion school in the city. That is where she met Maxwell and Epstein. They were going to help her get into FIT and pay for her schooling, until she became one of their sex slaves.

According to Ransome, Maxwell and Epstein always recruited “girls from very underprivileged families. They gave them accommodation, they gave them food, gave them money for transportation, you know, private planes...” They also paid for their studies, so they stayed: “So if I didn’t have sex with Jeffrey, I would be homeless and starving in New York... and my dream of getting a full time education at one of the top fashion institutes in the world would be diminished. And that’s what he held over my head.” Ransome claims to be testifying before the judge so that her story will be known and these abuses will end. However, the defendants have always accused Ransome of lying and being motivated by money.

The most delicate and explosive details are included in the penultimate document, the 16th. In it, Ransome accuses Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and businessman Richard Branson of having been part of Epstein’s client network and of having sex with minors. However, precisely these statements — obtained from Ransome’s e-mails — are brought to light by Epstein’s lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, who uses them to cast doubts on the victim’s testimony.

“[Dershowitz] seeks the de-designation of the emails to challenge Ms. Ransome’s false and defamatory accusations that, among other things, she had sexual intercourse with [Dershowitz] when she was 23. Ms. Ransome’s allegations concerning [Dershowitz] are categorically false. Professor Dershowitz has never met or had contact with Ms. Ransome, was not her lawyer, and certainly never had a sexual encounter with her. Prior to this action, [Dershowitz] had never heard of Ms. Ransome. Her testimony was fabricated from whole cloth. Ms. Ransome’s testimony also contains a slew of other incendiary claims concerning the sexual proclivities of Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and other prominent individuals,” the document reads.

Indeed, the accusations included in the document are incendiary. Sarah Ransome claims that her mail was hacked, that she has talked to Russian media, that she has pictures and, above all, videos: “I will make sure that everyone on the God damn planet sees [...] that footage and photos [...] and will release them to Wikileaks [...] I will take down Epstein and his bunch of fuck wit cronies myself! [...] Clinton and Trump must pay for what they did to us, as must the rest of the men that were involved in their seedy inner circle.”

Jean Luc Brunel
Jean Luc Brunel with Ghislaine Maxwell, in 2006.United States District Court

When referring to possible abuses committed by this group of powerful men, the whistleblower does not speak in the first person, but refers to “a friend” who told her her account, which, therefore, would not be first-hand. “My friend had sexual intercourse with Clinton, Prince Andrew and Richard Branson, sex tapes were in fact filmed on each separate occasion. [...] I eventually managed to persuade her to send me some of the video footage which she kept, implicating all three all men. [...] I have backed up the footage on several USB sticks and have securely sent them to various different locations throughout Europe.”

However, in a lengthy piece in The New Yorker in 2019, journalist Connie Bruck claims that Ransome herself confided to her that that footage did not exist: “Ransome told me that she had invented the tapes to draw attention to Epstein’s behavior, and to make him believe that she had ‘evidence that would come out if he harmed me.’”

Another of Ransome’s accusations — which, let’s not forget, were later used in the trial against her and portrayed as exaggerations — includes former president and current presidential candidate Donald Trump: “[Another] friend [...] was one of the many girls that had sexual relations with Donald Trump. [...] She confided in me about her casual ‘friendship’ with Donald. Mr. Trump definitely seemed to have a thing for her and she told me how he kept going on about how he liked her ‘pert nipples.’ Donald Trump liked flicking and sucking her nipples until they were raw. One evening when we were showering together she showed me her nipples. They looked incredibly painful as they were red and swollen and I remember wincing when I looked at them. I also know she had sexual relations with Trump at Jeffery’s [New York] mansion on regular occasions, as I once met Jen for coffee, just before she was going to meet Trump and Epstein together at his mansion.”

According to the court document, these statements were taken from an email from Sarah Ransome, which, according to Dershowitz’s lawyers, “fatally undermine Ms. Ransome’s credibility.” “For this reason, the deposition transcript standing alone leaves an incomplete and, thus, false impression of Ms. Ransome and her outrageous claims.”

For the moment, none of those involved have commented on the matter, beyond spokespeople for Branson, who referred to what the victim already told The New Yorker in 2019: “Ransome admitted that he made up the existence of the tapes. We confirm that her claims are unfounded and without any basis whatsoever.”

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Sobre la firma

María Porcel
Es corresponsal en Los Ángeles (California), donde vive en y escribe sobre Hollywood y sus rutilantes estrellas. En Madrid ha coordinado la sección de Gente y Estilo de Vida. Licenciada en Periodismo y Comunicación Audiovisual, Máster de Periodismo UAM-EL PAÍS, lleva más de una década vinculada a Prisa, pasando por Cadena Ser, SModa y ElHuffPost.

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