The first batch of documents unsealed in a settled lawsuit involving the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was released Wednesday evening — containing important names but little in the way of new information.
While the forty exhibits — hundreds of pages — released Wednesday night by a federal court in New York City include the names of former U.S. presidents, a member of the British royalty and other high-profile figures, most have previously been reported. But, it’s likely only the first stage of the public revealing of documents expected to make public the names of more than 150 people. The rest are expected on a rolling basis, a spokesman for the court said.
They are part of the civil defamation lawsuit first filed in 2015 against British socialite and Epstein confidant Ghislaine Maxwell by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who said she was a victim of sex trafficking and abuse. Maxwell is serving a 20-year prison sentence for recruiting and grooming teenage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein.
According to a transcript of her deposition, Giuffre said at different times she was directed to have sex with Prince Andrew; another prince; and the unnamed owner of a large hotel chain; and Glenn Dubin, a billionaire hedge fund manager.
A request for a response from Prince Andrew was not immediately returned Wednesday night, but Andrew has strenuously denied the claim previously. A spokesperson for Dubin in 2019 and again Wednesday said they “strongly deny these allegations,” and called them unsubstantiated statements.
Former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump also were mentioned in depositions by Maxwell and one of the girls she hired for Epstein, although neither contains allegations of wrongdoing.
In a 2016 deposition from the woman who said she was hired by Maxwell and took a photo with Prince Andrew in which he placed his hand on her chest, Johanna Sjoberg said Epstein once spoke about former President Bill Clinton, who is not accused of wrongdoing.
“He said one time that Clinton likes them young, referring to girls,” the deposition reads. There is no mention of wrongdoing in that document, and the questioning moves on. Sjoberg said she had never met Clinton and never saw him on Epstein’s island.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for Clinton referred to a statement from 2019 that said the former president had not spoken to Epstein in over a decade and was unaware of any criminal activity at that time.
Trump’s name also appears in the deposition by Sjoberg, which contains no allegations of wrongdoing.
She recounted that when Epstein’s plane would have to land in Atlantic City, New Jersey, “Jeffrey said, Great, we’ll call up Trump” and go to a casino, she said in her deposition. Sjoberg also said she never gave Trump a massage.
Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday but has previously said he hadn’t been in touch with Epstein for 15 years before his death.
The depositions allege that Epstein, who had a private plane and island in the Caribbean, among other properties, was associated with powerful people in politics, and even royalty; referring to two princes.
Clinton flew on the millionaire financier’s planes numerous times, flight records made public in 2019 show.
In a deposition, Maxwell said that Clinton had dined on Epstein’s plane, but Maxwell denied he ever visited Epstein’s Caribbean Island, Little St. James. She said allegations that Clinton had had a meal on Epstein’s island were “100% false.”
Trump was also found to have flown on one of Epstein’s planes at least once, and video emerged in July 2019 of Epstein and Trump partying together at Trump’s Florida mansion in the early 1990s.
In 2019, Trump said he hadn’t communicated with Epstein in 15 years and was “not a fan of his.”
In the newly unredacted filings, attorneys for Giuffre reveal that at some point during his deposition, Epstein invoked his Fifth Amendment right rather than answer a question about his former attorney Alan Dershowitz. It is not known what question prompted that response from Epstein.
Dershowitz did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but has strenuously denied any involvement with underage girls. He has said he was looking forward to the document release to help clear his name.
In her deposition, Sjoberg said she’d also met singer Michael Jackson at Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, Florida, but did not massage him. She also said she met magician David Copperfield at a dinner at Epstein’s. She recounted how there was another woman at dinner who looked very young and wondered if it was possible she was in high school, according to the documents.
Sjoberg said Copperfield did magic tricks at the dinner, and “he questioned me if I was aware that girls were getting paid to find other girls,” the deposition reads. Asked if Copperfield described any specifics of that, Sjoberg said no.
Copperfield did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday night.
Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019, as he faced serious federal charges. Since then there, have been public conspiracy theories about the case and those he interacted with.
“The public interest must still be served in learning more about the scale and scope of Epstein’s racket to further the important goal of shutting down sex trafficking wherever it exists and holding more to account,” Giuffre’s attorney, Sigrid McCawley, said Wednesday evening. “The unsealing of these documents gets us closer to that goal.”
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska last month ordered the materials to be released after Jan. 1. However, the judge delayed whether to release documents associated with those who have objected to the disclosure of their names until a later date, the spokesman said.
In one case, an attorney for J. Doe 107 asked Preska for clarification on Dec. 20 of whether the name of his client would be unsealed. The attorney said his client lives in a “culturally conservative country” outside of the United States and is “in fear of her name being released.” Preska asked for information supporting her claim.
Epstein was facing multiple sex trafficking charges when he hanged himself in a federal jail in New York in August 2019, as a trove of incriminating material had just been unsealed in court.
A Department of Justice report last June uncovered a cascade of misconduct, negligence and errors by Metropolitan Correctional Center employees that created the conditions allowing Epstein, 66, to take his own life, and found no evidence to contradict the official conclusion that he died by suicide.
The circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death had propelled a slew of online conspiracy theories, some amplified by conservative commentators and prominent Republican officials, including Trump.
Giuffre alleged that Epstein sexually abused her and that Maxwell and Epstein directed her to have sex with other men from 2000 to 2002, starting when she was 17. The case, which Giuffre brought after Maxwell accused her of lying when she said Maxwell and Epstein had exploited and abused her, was eventually settled out of court in 2017.
An email contained in the documents released Wednesday appeared to show Epstein in January 2015 telling Maxwell to offer “a reward” to any of Giuffre’s friends or acquaintances who could help disprove Giuffre’s allegations.
In 2022, Giuffre also settled a high-profile lawsuit out of court against Britain’s Prince Andrew. Andrew has denied the allegations and has said he has no recollection of ever having met Giuffre.
A year after Epstein’s death, Maxwell, the daughter of late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, was arrested on charges connecting her with the recruitment of teenage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein. At trial, Maxwell’s accusers provided graphic accounts of how they say she “groomed” them to have sex with Epstein or pressured them into massages, in which she sometimes groped them herself. She was convicted of five federal sex trafficking charges and sentenced in June 2022 to 20 years behind bars.
Maxwell, now 62, is in a federal prison in Tallahassee, Florida, and filed an appeal of the verdict, claiming prosecutors used her as a scapegoat.