Thousands of pages of legal documents related to Jeffrey Epstein were unearthed with a sad thud when they were finally unsealed over several days this month. There are hopes that the late sex offender's involvement with some of the most powerful people on the planet, including Bill Gates, Jess Staley, and Bill Clinton, will provide some kind of “closing blow.” It was increasing. That didn't happen.
Still, the paper is illuminating for those who have spent years trying to understand the inner workings of the dark world Epstein created and the broken characters who inhabit it. After pages of depositions, the allure of private jets and Palm Beach fades, and the underlying shadyness is revealed.
This voluminous testimony also shines an overdue spotlight on Epstein's women. In stories dominated by powerful men, women ultimately take center stage as witnesses, interrogators, victims, and even villains.
Chief among them is Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's longtime friend and accomplice. She was largely silent during her 2021 criminal trial in which she was convicted of sex trafficking and later sentenced to 20 years in prison. But Maxwell's voice comes through in the transcript of her nine-and-a-half hour deposition she gave in 2016.
One can hear the grandeur when she describes her job as caretaker of Epstein's home as if trying to impress attendees at a networking event. That included hiring an architect, coordinating construction plans, designers, layout, materials, and more, she explains. Finding someone to massage Epstein was just one part of it, she claims.
To this, Sigrid McCauley, a formidable lawyer for one Epstein victim, countered: “How old was the youngest woman you ever hired for Jeffrey Epstein?”
Maxwell is arrogant. “First of all, I don't hire girls like that. So let me be clear,” she said flatly at one point.
She can also get bored.
McCauley: “How would you describe sex toys?”
Maxwell: “I'm not going to explain sex toys.”
At some point, as the exam dragged on and the facts piled up, she seemed to realize that her social pedigree and public school confidence alone wouldn't get her through. “You don't ask me such questions. First of all, you are trying to trap me. I will not be trapped,” she said bitterly.
Deliberate insensitivity is the last line of defense: “I don't understand what you mean by 'woman.'”
In the end, she breaks her back. A woman who is on first-name terms with several world leaders says she is a victim of the “system.”
For those who believe that Epstein may have had ties to Israeli intelligence through Maxwell's late father, news tycoon Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine suggests this is not the case. Epstein did not know her father, she said.
Still, there are hints of some kind of espionage. One of Epstein's underage victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, testified that she was supposed to report intimate details to her bosses not only to please the powerful but also as material for her blackmail. did.
There are also reminders of the subservient roles Epstein wanted women to play. When I wanted coffee at my Palm Beach, Florida mansion, I would order it through her New York secretary.His Amazon order included books. SlaveCraft: A roadmap for erotic service.
Beyond palm trees and azure waters, the documents depict Epstein's dystopian private island as a depraved, drab place dotted with private cabanas and boxes of condoms.
The girls are locked in a bar and forced to wear clothes provided free of charge by Victoria's Secret, a lingerie company owned by Epstein's friend and patron Leslie Wexner. They spend their days lounging on the central patio, making small talk, and waiting to be called upon to serve Epstein, under Maxwell's watchful eye.
“There was a constant influx of girls. There were so many girls,” recalled Sarah Ransom, another Epstein victim. “I think it's the same as going into a brothel of prostitutes and seeing how they run their business. I mean, it's just a general conversation about who gets to have sex with whom, and , you know, what are you talking about when you just have sex every day on rotation?”
The court documents are a reminder of the dire situation of her and other women who improbably found themselves with princes and billionaires.
Giuffre, who appeared as a teenager in the now infamous photo with Prince Andrew, had a third-grade education, lived in an orphanage, and claimed to have been sexually abused by a family friend as a child. . She worked briefly at Taco Bell and at a spa at Donald Trump's Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, where after women used the restroom, she made toilet paper into neat triangles for $9 an hour. Folded.
Her boyfriend ended up driving Ms. Giuffre to Mr. Epstein's Palm Beach mansion and then facilitating the abuse by recruiting other young girls for a fee. He also crashed Giuffre's car while stealing her prescription drugs and was sent to prison.
Giuffre seems eerily isolated from everything. When she was once asked if she would like to recall a particular sexual encounter, she replied, “I remember the smell of paint.”
Meanwhile, Ransom told how he grew up in a broken family in Johannesburg and headed to New York at the age of 22 with dreams of becoming a fashion designer. She tries her hand at modeling and ends up working as an escort.
One night, she meets an attractive young woman at a nightclub who introduces her to Epstein. Soon he had her living in an apartment building with her other girls.
“They were just acquaintances,” Ransom says of the girls he met in Epstein's world. “I don't make many friends in New York.”