"I would say probably over 100 in my stay there."
August 9, 2019 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Today, the Second Circuit handed down a mandate to unseal a large tranche of documents with regard to Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell from the defamation lawsuit between the latter and Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre. Releases include the ruling from said lawsuit, along with documents listing witnesses to Maxwell's conduct and a deposition of Epstein's former house manager.

This is only a part of the sealed documents from the defamation case, with the remainder to be unsealed by District Judge Loretta Preska on remand, but is a substantial release nonetheless

Epstein previously on the Blue.
posted by NoxAeternum (475 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
 
The title of the thread, by the way, is the response by Epstein's former house manager when asked how many females he saw visit for "massage" services.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:01 AM on August 9 [5 favorites]


I mean.... I don't even know what to say. I'm following this case, have been for years, and it never ceases to nauseate me. The total abuse of power, the dehumanization, the way men will protect one another, the way girls and women are bought, sold and discarded and then unbelieved.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:06 AM on August 9 [15 favorites]




I didn't realize Marvin Minsky was implicated. That's a gut punch.
posted by Jpfed at 11:52 AM on August 9 [16 favorites]


Another mark against former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (Wikipedia), once a presidential hopeful (in the running against Obama, who nominated for the cabinet-level position of Secretary of Commerce in his first administration, until Richardson was was investigated for possible improper business dealings in New Mexico), and another black eye for the state, to borrow a term used by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, in response to investigation into Epstein's New Mexico ranch (AP News, July 13, 2019).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:02 PM on August 9 [3 favorites]


I am horrified by this, but also a touch gleeful at the prospect of some of these guilty ratfinks finally feeling a touch of the fear, powerlessness, and vulnerability they inflicted upon so many victims. Hope they're squirming.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 12:30 PM on August 9 [29 favorites]


Is Ghislaine Maxwell in trouble over any of this? She seems central to everything, but I've heard nothing about her being arrested or charged or even investigated.
posted by fatbird at 12:32 PM on August 9 [7 favorites]


This is getting little coverage over here in the UK, in comparison to other similar US news, and the conspiracy theorist in me feels this may be due to the hangover of press deference to the royals as Prince Andrew (8th in line) was implicated due to his friendship with Epstein.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 12:35 PM on August 9 [17 favorites]


Ghislane Maxwell's dad was one of those nexi of world-level creepiness and power.
posted by lalochezia at 12:41 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


With regard to the UK, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a super-injunction in place.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:00 PM on August 9 [9 favorites]


Is Ghislaine Maxwell in trouble over any of this? She seems central to everything

She apparently can’t be subpoenaed cause ...no one knows where she is?

Given her ties to intelligence agencies and basically everyone at VS shows knowing she was grooming and procuring, I’m not super surprised she’s suddenly very hard to find.

Like just go down even the slightest bit in the publicly available info on her and you Star you sound like a crazy person.
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on August 9 [10 favorites]


There should be a word to describe "sexual encounters" with children..."caroused" doesn't seem to fit exactly.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 2:43 PM on August 9 [8 favorites]


Another mark against former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson

This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Dude was well-known for being a creep. I lived in Santa Fe when he was in office. It wasn't unusual to spot him sitting in the back of his black car (illegally) parked outside of a bar while his cronies went inside to pick up women for him.
posted by joedan at 2:44 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


..."rendezvous?"...not quite, but the 'r' sounds right.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 3:14 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Epstein victim Johanna Sjoberg recounting Epstein's thoughts on his "massage" habit: "He explained to me that, in his opinion, he needed to have three orgasms a day. It was biological, like eating."

And now I feel like I need to take a shower.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:51 PM on August 9 [8 favorites]


That's fine as far as it goes but like learn to jerk off properly or something.
posted by idiopath at 3:55 PM on August 9 [23 favorites]


The post links to reporter Adam Klasfeld's twitter account; here is the first link unspooled via Threadreader.

Epstein's Amazon orders included the following books: "SM 101: A Realistic Introduction," "SlaveCraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude," "A Workbook for Erotic Slaves and Their Owners," and there's a photo of the receipt.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:59 PM on August 9 [5 favorites]


Entire 354-page packet of released documents embedded at the end of this CNBC article.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:05 PM on August 9 [5 favorites]


I don't feel that I can bear to know too much about this. But I am glad that the light of day, and of justice, is finally shining on what lies beneath this finally overturned boulder, and that there are people digging into this. We're likely all going to be horrified by the width and the breadth of what's uncovered, and by the names of the maggots that get exposed.
posted by orange swan at 4:31 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Reddit, owned by Conde Nast, whose upper management are feeling a little hot under the collar, is actively removing all threads about these documents.
posted by ocschwar at 4:31 PM on August 9 [20 favorites]


Got a link about Reddit trying to purge the documents?
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:58 PM on August 9 [3 favorites]


Reddit, owned by Conde Nast, whose upper management are feeling a little hot under the collar, is actively removing all threads about these documents.

All threads? I found this one on r/news that seems to be around 7 hours old with ~1K upvotes and >200 comments.
posted by mhum at 4:59 PM on August 9 [9 favorites]


Worth watching this vid on Epstein and legalities.
posted by greenhornet at 7:19 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Reddit, owned by Conde Nast, whose upper management are feeling a little hot under the collar, is actively removing all threads about these documents.

Comments along the lines of “The mods are deleting posts about X!!!1” is like 90% of the activity on Reddit. It’s literally never true.
posted by sideshow at 9:38 PM on August 9 [16 favorites]


There should be a word to describe "sexual encounters" with children..."caroused" doesn't seem to fit exactly.

..."rendezvous?"...not quite, but the 'r' sounds right.


Rape.
posted by axiom at 9:59 PM on August 9 [20 favorites]


> With regard to the UK, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a super-injunction in place.

Nah. The Guardian. Daily Mail. Independent.

I mean, nothing much but denials in The Telegraph but come now. That would detract from Kate Middleton's ability to wear both formal clothes and sportswear.
posted by humuhumu at 4:29 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


@juliamacfarlane (ABC) Breaking: Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide overnight at MCC Manhattan, the federal lockup where he had been held pending trial on federal sex trafficking charges, three law enforcement officials told @ABC News. Via @AaronKatersky
posted by pjenks at 6:04 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


Even if this was an actual suicide, the fact that he had already attempted it once and was still in a position to kill himself means the prison authorities were might as well have signed off on it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:15 AM on August 10 [59 favorites]


No dot for that asshole.

Dead men tell no tales.
posted by lalochezia at 6:21 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


Oh my god...that is just horrifically unfair to the victims. An absolutely travesty of justice. The entire command structure of that prison should be dismissed.
posted by sallybrown at 6:22 AM on August 10 [55 favorites]


"Don't worry about anything, Frankie Five Angels" -- Tom Hagen to Frank Pentangeli
posted by mikelieman at 6:24 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


I mean...I don't believe it, right? Does anyone believe it? If nothing else, people had to have been paid to look away. It feels absolutely ridiculous that anyone would take this at face value. All the names in those documents that were released yesterday? This can't be the end of this; it has to be the beginning.
posted by Merricat Blackwood at 6:25 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


NYT: Jeffrey Epstein Commits Suicide at Manhattan Jail
It was not immediately clear on Saturday whether the authorities had put in additional safeguards to watch him after the incident last month.
posted by box at 6:27 AM on August 10


re: the previous suicide attempt, it was reported that prison officials weren't even ruling out assault. So wasn't a suicide watch, it was a look the other way while people above their pay grade do the things we all expected them to do. Really, we should all be channeling Principal Ed Rooney and asking to see the body.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:28 AM on August 10 [12 favorites]


We don’t know anything yet to be able to say where the failure was here, but there was clearly a failure. Either at a “low” level by the people guarding his cell or at a higher level by someone deciding not to put extra security on him given his status and history of attempts.
posted by sallybrown at 6:29 AM on August 10


I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of conspiracy theory here, because part of me is like "Fucking of course, no way they'd let him spill his guts".

It's a big damn part.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:32 AM on August 10 [39 favorites]


Oh my god...that is just horrifically unfair to the victims. An absolutely travesty of justice. The entire command structure of that prison should be dismissed.

the entire command structure of the country should be dismissed. the pedophile pimp of world leaders and the elite was just silenced. whatever system we have that allowed this whole fucking mess to occur needs to be burned to the ground. this is “failed state” territory.
posted by JimBennett at 6:33 AM on August 10 [28 favorites]


I hope his estate gets sued beyond belief and not a penny goes anywhere but his victims.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:36 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


the entire command structure of the country should be dismissed. the pedophile pimp of world leaders and the elite was just silenced. whatever system we have that allowed this whole fucking mess to occur needs to be burned to the ground. this is “failed state” territory.

We'll always have the court records in Doe v. Trump (1:16-cv-07673) , even if Epstein can't be a defendant in it.
posted by mikelieman at 6:37 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


I am still perhaps naive enough to cling to the general law of conspiracies, that the larger it is, the higher the chances someone will fuck up and information will emerge. For Epstein to have been killed would have to be an immense conspiracy involving a number of different people with competing interests and incentives. For him to have been permitted in some prearranged way to kill himself—again, would require a lot of smaller agreements. For this to be a surprise would require stupidity on the part on a lot of people beyond the line of plausibility...but never underestimate stupidity.
posted by sallybrown at 6:38 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of conspiracy theory here

The whole affair was a conspiracy, the unnamed co-conspirators literally received immunity in 2007
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:38 AM on August 10 [32 favorites]


It's not as if he was ever going to talk. He wasn't silenced. He was allowed to escape.
posted by Scram at 6:40 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


>>For Epstein to have been killed would have to be an immense conspiracy involving a number of different people with competing interests and incentives.

All you need is one guard with significant debt and a kid or two who can't quite seem to nail down that scholarship to a good college.
posted by splen at 6:41 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


It wasn't about him talking. It was about what would come out at trial.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:43 AM on August 10 [16 favorites]


All you need is one guard with significant debt and a kid or two who can't quite seem to nail down that scholarship to a good college.

We will certainly hear more about the security measures inside the prison, but it would be unlikely that a single guard would be able to effect a murder in this situation, especially given security cameras.
posted by sallybrown at 6:45 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


They didn't have to murder him, just look the other way while he took the easy way out. Both could have been encouraged in their decisions by any number of wealthy and powerful people.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:48 AM on August 10 [9 favorites]


> We will certainly hear more about the security measures inside the prison, but it would be unlikely that a single guard would be able to effect a murder in this situation, especially given security cameras.

No, but they could look the other way while Epstein is allowed to do what he's been told. Make the cell check a little later than usual. Cause a disturbance with another inmate and divert resources elsewhere.
posted by humuhumu at 6:48 AM on August 10


It’s pretty easy to imagine that he killed himself to escape consequences. What the prison did was allow him to.
posted by Selena777 at 6:49 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


Suicided. Wonder what’s up with Ghislaine Maxwell now
posted by Auden at 6:49 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


>>it would be unlikely that a single guard would be able to effect a murder in this situation, especially given security cameras.

Literally slip a cyanide pill onto his food tray, tucked inside a napkin with an encouraging note.

I'm sure Epstein would have jumped at the chance to take a less violent end than what he knew would have otherwise happened.
posted by splen at 6:54 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I guess I can add this to my list of data points where men will go to extreme lengths to protect one another in the services e of exchanging, procuring, using and discarding women and girls like objects.

Bonus: we won’t have to go through the effort of continuing to not believe victims if there is no trial.

Pardon my...unrelenting nausea.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:01 AM on August 10 [17 favorites]


I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of conspiracy theory here

The phrase "Clinton Body Count" is currently trending on Twitter.

I beg you, even though you're thinking along different lines, please don't give in to this. Wait for more evidence of a conspiracy before speaking like this. Too many people are standing by waiting to spin this to their own ends.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:04 AM on August 10 [26 favorites]


The acting head of the BOP is a near-lifelong government employee who served under Obama as well as Trump. The deputy director position is vacant. The regional director of the Northeast Region is another lifelong employee of the BOP. These aren’t Trump cronies. I do wonder if Trump’s laziness about appointments lead to shortcuts or holes in leadership that let security for Epstein slip through the cracks. A google search isn’t turning up the name of the warden for the MCC.

Literally slip a cyanide pill onto his food tray, tucked inside a napkin with an encouraging note.

He died by hanging.
posted by sallybrown at 7:04 AM on August 10 [20 favorites]


I'm perfectly willing to believe Epstein killed himself entirely on his own initiative; the rest of his life was going to be hellish for as long as it lasted. I'd also believe he was killed and the hanging faked; neither is ludicrous given the circumstances. But even in the first scenario all the guard has to do to "help" is linger out of view for half an hour or so.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:05 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]




What I don’t understand is how special measures weren’t taken here. If I was the BOP head I would have been walking around with a streaming video of his cell security like it was a baby monitor.
posted by sallybrown at 7:16 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


With the list of names he's linked to, there's no difference here between negligence and complicity. The negligence is all the evidence of conspiracy needed.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:16 AM on August 10 [8 favorites]


>>He died by hanging.

Shoelaces tucked into his mashed potatoes

The point is you don't need a grand conspiracy to give someone the means to kill themselves in prison. One or two motivated actors.
posted by splen at 7:18 AM on August 10


NY Daily News with some tidbits of info to be read critically.
"His cellmate — former cop Nicholas Tartaglione, who is facing quadruple murder charges — told authorities he found the perverted multimillionaire unconscious and alerted correction officers and possibly saved his life, a source told the Daily News at the time.
Epstein, who was facing up to 45 years in prison for sex trafficking, was shocked over the fact that he couldn’t make bail and return to his $77 million Upper East Side mansion, sources said.
The suicide represents a disastrous breakdown in security measures at MCC."
posted by Harry Caul at 7:19 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Renato Mariotti: "Jeffrey Epstein's suicide ends the criminal case against him because no one else was charged in the indictment"

Lisa Bloom: "Our civil cases can still proceed against his estate. Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started."

Matt Yglesias: "Epstein’s deal with Acosta mysteriously immunized unnamed co-conspirators who are now conveniently off the hook again."
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:23 AM on August 10 [19 favorites]


one guard with significant debt 
slip a cyanide pill onto his food tray
Shoelaces tucked into his mashed potatoes

Your knowledge of jailhouse practices wouldn't happen to be based entirely on bad TV shows, would it?
posted by neroli at 7:27 AM on August 10 [32 favorites]


Lynne Patton is already spreading Hillary conspiracy theories on her instagram. This kind of crap is why I hope we can be careful here how we talk about this. Negligence and conspiracy aren’t the same thing. An organized hit is not the same as permitting Epstein to die by suicide, or as Epstein biding his time until someone made a mistake. A high status federal prisoner can’t just be be slipped shoelaces in his mashed potatoes through the intervention of a single guard.
posted by sallybrown at 7:30 AM on August 10 [16 favorites]


I'm fucking furious. How dare he dodge responsibility and a full and fair accounting?

There better be some state and federal commissions given subpoena authority investigating THE WHOLE FUCKING THING and making the results public.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:31 AM on August 10 [46 favorites]


Photos show Jeffrey Epstein as he’s wheeled into Downtown Hospital

NYC Power Couple’s Butler Says Swedish Teen Told Him of Epstein Island Horrors
Newly unsealed court documents in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal contain testimony from an ex-employee of New York City power couple Glenn Dubin and Eva Andersson-Dubin about a “distraught” Swedish teen’s claim that she was pressured to have sex on the pedophile financier’s private island.
The Biggest Bombshells in Newly Unsealed Epstein Documents
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:35 AM on August 10


This is obviously fishy, and some random right wingers trying to make hay out of it doesn’t mean we need to pretend it’s not.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:37 AM on August 10 [24 favorites]


[Couple deleted. This dude was a monster and this shouldn't have been allowed to happen, but please use your judgment. Please don't be gross/comic/overgeneral about suicide, which is something that touches a lot of people's lives unrelated to this one case; and ffs don't rush to "Clintons did it" or whatever.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:42 AM on August 10 [12 favorites]


As with everything in this case, it’s the sheer brazenness and openness with which everything was conducted. Everybody knew about the damn island, AD wrote op-Ed’s about how the age of consent should be lowered, they never even tried to pretend the hedge fund was real in anyway (hire a fake staff? Put out some phony papers? Nope!) they never put in any plausible deniability for this nobody from Coney Island’s sudden meteoric rise in high society, they didn’t even bother to fake sale documents of the upper east side mansion, the first case against him was given such insane rulings it was all but daring people to call it fake, and the guy* who found him in his cell during the first ...attempt was seen with a contraband cellphone the day he got arrested the second time.

Like, these are the actions of people who are convinced, to the bone, they will never get caught or see any consequences, they are not even bothering to hide it even a little. And they’re right, that’s the takeaway here. The rich and well connected are absolutely above the law and free to do whatever they want to whoever they want.

*a cop serving a no doubt life sentence for killing three people and barely attempting to hide the bodies, a metaphor so on the nose I can’t believe we’re in reality anymore.
posted by The Whelk at 7:47 AM on August 10 [54 favorites]


Yeah, like, it was already pretty clear that rich people can do anything they want in the 21st century, but this whole Epstein saga is so over the top and bald faced that it’s like a finger in the eye. Feels like they’re laughing in our faces.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:51 AM on August 10 [17 favorites]


This guy was rich, he was gonna go to Club Fed, he wasn't going to be targeted by, like, burly neo-nazis who claim to hate pedophiles. I don't get it. Maybe it's just the embarrassment.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 7:55 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


At the end, maybe even monsters feel shame.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:02 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Consider what it would take to keep a genuinely suicidal inmate alive for a period of months.

Anyway, there's going to be a prison superintendent sitting in front of a House committee in the next month or so, on the back of a subpoena for facility protocols, logs, etc. I'd like to see a letter today regarding document preservation, just so nobody gets any ideas.
posted by holgate at 8:02 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]




I may or may not believe that Epstein committed suicide but let's suppose that he did. Prosecutors were getting ready to put him in jail for the rest of life. Epstein had money and our justice system is very corrupt. The best case scenario for him would have been if he had managed to stall until this political moment passed, turned in some of his less powerful clients, and gotten away with a few decades in prison instead. The worst case scenario would have been that he'd spend the rest of his life in federal prison. There would be no reason to send him to a super max so he would be in an ordinary federal prison. That's not the life I'd want but it's federal prison so under ordinary circumstances he'd be relatively safe. I'd understand if he got a year or two into his sentence and he then decided that he wanted to end his life but the only way suicide makes sense now is if he knew that he wouldn't be safe in prison. Either that the man decided that life was not worth living without all the baubles that wealth and privilege get you which wow, how completely hollow do you have to be to confuse the stuff you own with your own self worth?
posted by rdr at 8:05 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Club Fed is nice compared to other prisons, but it’s still prison. It’s not a place anyone here would want to spend a week, let alone the rest of our lives. This guy lived in the lap of luxury for decades and according to the Giuffre suit was abusing multiple girls and women a day in a compulsive way even after being caught the first time.
posted by sallybrown at 8:07 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]




Who is Webb and what is Mint Press News? I’ve never heard of either.
posted by sio42 at 8:10 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


Some good past work on death by suicide in custody from Dana Liebelson and Ryan J. Reilly: SANDRA BLAND DIED ONE YEAR AGO AND SINCE THEN, AT LEAST 810 PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES IN JAIL and a related article.
posted by sallybrown at 8:11 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


I read one thing on Mint Press News a while ago and it was really unreliable. I don't trust it as a news source.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:12 AM on August 10


I don't know anything about Mint Press either, but wow does that article look like it's about a shady Jewish conspiracy. I'd really beware of stuff like this.
posted by neroli at 8:17 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]



I didn't realize Marvin Minsky was implicated. That's a gut punch.
posted by Jpfed at 11:52 AM on August 9 [14 favorites +] [!]

Wow. Let me suggest that you are not female and not over 40 years old. I had fully expected that Minsky and other elderly male CS persons would be comfortable with Epstein like behavor. Ask me why I thinkthis way....

Tumbling
posted by tumbling at 8:19 AM on August 10 [21 favorites]


It’s weird, it does not matter where people fall on the political spectrum. No one seems to think Epstein killed himself. Doesn’t matter who they support, who they wish Epstein would have revealed as a pedophile.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:21 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Joanne Leon has a podcast called “Around the Empire” that I subscribe to, and she’s done a couple of interviews with Webb about the series.

115 Epstein, Trafficking & Blackmail feat Whitney Webb
posted by Auden at 8:23 AM on August 10


I believe Epstein could easily have killed himself. I just don't believe anyone was interested in stopping him, even though by their own account he was suicidal.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:24 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


This guy was rich, he was gonna go to Club Fed, he wasn't going to be targeted by, like, burly neo-nazis who claim to hate pedophiles

He was going to proper prison. There was nothing left for the establishment in protecting Epstein. That's why he was allowed to kill himself.

Determined people are prevented from killing themselves for years. This was allowed.
posted by howfar at 8:27 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


So kind of Jeff to minimize coverage of his suicide-watch-suicide by timing it to blend in with the Friday night news dump.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:29 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


Is there anywhere here free enough of cynicism that they didn't see this or something like this coming?

If so may I have a hug?

What a fucking travesty of justice.
posted by loquacious at 8:30 AM on August 10 [14 favorites]


I mean, according to NBC, he was not on suicide watch.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:32 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


hend amry (@LibyaLiberty):
Epstein’s entire life was a conspiracy. Don’t tell me his death wasn’t.
posted by non canadian guy at 8:34 AM on August 10 [17 favorites]


Preet Bharara: "So it seems that Epstein was in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) but not recently on suicide watch, which according to BOP’s Suicide Prevention Program, requires removal from the SHU. "
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:36 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


. Consider what it would take to keep a genuinely suicidal inmate alive for a period of months.


Regular guards doing their jobs. That's all.
posted by emjaybee at 8:38 AM on August 10 [19 favorites]


Determined people are prevented from killing themselves for years. This was allowed.

Hundreds, nearly a thousand, people are permitted to die by suicide in US prisons every year. It’s allowed because our prison system allows all kinds of horrific treatment and behavior. If there’s even the slimmest silver lining to this at all, it will be an increased focus on this fact.
posted by sallybrown at 8:46 AM on August 10 [18 favorites]


Club Fed is nice compared to other prisons, but it’s still prison.

Idk, this journalist on Lovett Or Leave It who came on to share deets about Michael Cohen's stay there called it "shitty summer camp." Although if you have the amount of ego you have to have to do what Epstein did, maybe any downgrade is too much.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 8:51 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


@sallybrown - Oops, I basically repeated your comment, I'm sorry, I should not have read so quickly.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 8:54 AM on August 10


I don't want to go conspiracy theorist, but how does this not seem like it was either deliberately allowed or just an outright hit to kill him to keep him quiet?

I also remember that back when he was first arrested we didn't see in any news reports about the files in his estates, any attempt to secure his estates to prevent accomplices from destroying evidence incriminating others, or anything like that. Does this mean the FSB or CIA sent some cleaners to get rid of and/or secure for their own blackmail ops anything that might implicate other powerful people in Epstein's pedophile ring? Or am I just delving into Tom Clancy level conspiracy here?

And now he's dead. By suicide. While on suicide watch.

It's really damn difficult not to think that this is suspiciously convenient for a lot of very powerful people.
posted by sotonohito at 9:01 AM on August 10 [12 favorites]


Consider what it would take to keep a genuinely suicidal inmate alive for a period of months.

My sister is a nurse, she's been on suicide watch duty. It isn't really difficult. It just takes a person monitoring 24/7 so they can hit a button and call guards if it looks like the person is doing anything to try and kill themselves. It's not difficult.
posted by sotonohito at 9:03 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


Also, as people have noted he was in MCC, which houses federal inmates and managed to keep tabs on el Chapo just fine
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


He was not on watch it seems

https://twitter.com/PreetBharara/status/1160211039864197121?s=20

So it seems that Epstein was in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) but not recently on suicide watch, which according to BOP’s Suicide Prevention Program, requires removal from the SHU.
posted by sio42 at 9:07 AM on August 10


How the fuck would he have been taken OFF suicide watch????

Also, I agree there is incompetence in our prison system. I disagree that (if he were still on suicide watch) this is a simple case of incompetence. He was not only the most high-profile prisoner in the country, he was the most high profile prisoner who had already tried to commit suicide once just two weeks ago! Plus, a suicide was literally one of the most predictable things that might have happened. And we still think that Joe Schmo prison guard would have been allowed to keep watch without the slightest mention or thought as to the importance of this specific guy NOT HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMMIT SUICIDE?
posted by triggerfinger at 9:15 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


[A few more deleted. Folks, unless there's some further news, let's skip the speculation about "maybe he's not dead", "maybe Prince Phillip offed him", etc.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:30 AM on August 10 [8 favorites]


The world’s richest people have class consciousness in a way that regular people don’t these days, and they consistently act to defend their class. This whole Epstein saga is an excellent example of that.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:30 AM on August 10 [27 favorites]


The alternate take I've seen is that while there's not going to be an Epstein trial, now nobody has standing to challenge the search of his house.
posted by ckape at 9:33 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


The world’s richest people have class consciousness in a way that regular people don’t these days, and they consistently act to defend their class

If Epstein did in fact kill himself, it's testament to the power of that class solidarity. Dying to protect your comrades is the sort of thing that wins and sustains revolutions.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:37 AM on August 10 [14 favorites]


The world’s richest people have class consciousness in a way that regular people don’t these days, and they consistently act to defend their class

This is why I said in the last thread that the NYT profile of scientists he hung around was the proof they had nothing to fear.
posted by The Whelk at 9:41 AM on August 10 [9 favorites]


FWIW, rather than DOJ closing ranks on this one, I think it will lead to a war between SDNY (which has a reputation for leaks), BOP, FBI, and Main. The prosecutors have got to be furious.

Once we know what Epstein used to hang himself, it will give us a clearer picture if another person was actively involved (not just negligent).
posted by sallybrown at 9:45 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


It’s weird, it does not matter where people fall on the political spectrum. No one seems to think Epstein killed himself. Doesn’t matter who they support, who they wish Epstein would have revealed as a pedophile.

"I made the most accurate political spectrum of the 21st century" Twitter.

Image description: a 4-quadrant political compass meme along economic left/right and authoritarian/libertarian axes. All 4 quadrants are marked "Epstein was was killed" and the centre reads "nothing to see here".
posted by Acid Communist at 9:58 AM on August 10 [11 favorites]


"Nothing to see here" is pretty much where the political center has been on Epstein since 2006. It is interesting to go back and look at his old Wikipedia page revisions and see how the Florida case was covered in the press (not much) and how his page was edited to portray him as a benevolent gentleperson of science.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:07 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


Suspicious circumstances aside, I am 50/50 torn between 1) anger that he's evaded accountability yet again and denied his victims another turn at justice, and 2) a light, almost gleeful feeling that his life has ended and we have one less monster on the planet.
posted by witchen at 10:11 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Consider what it would take to keep a genuinely suicidal inmate alive for a period of months.
For a period of months you would prevent the genuinely suicidal inmate from gaining access to the tools to kill himself. That would involve assigning three (3) crapwage workers to monitor the person for eight hours each day for the duration of the months-long period. We've been running a prison in Cuba for years that is chockfull of genuinely suicidal people willing to starve themselves to death. In that case, we've had what it takes to keep them all alive for many, many months. Is there something different about this particular genuinely suicidal inmate, maybe?
posted by Don Pepino at 10:16 AM on August 10 [21 favorites]


William Barr just announced that DOJ will be conducting a coverup investigation of Epstein's death.
posted by theodolite at 10:20 AM on August 10 [16 favorites]


So does this end the investigation? Maxwell has her own indictment right?
posted by sio42 at 10:27 AM on August 10


We were warned.

I'm just waking up, but the first glimmers of hope I've seen so far have been that nobody can challenge the search warrants anymore.
posted by rhizome at 10:29 AM on August 10


But if he’s dead does it mean the case continues and they try his estate instead? I’m a bit lost legally.
posted by sio42 at 10:31 AM on August 10


I am 50/50 torn between 1) anger that he's evaded accountability yet again and denied his victims another turn at justice, and 2) a light, almost gleeful feeling that his life has ended and we have one less monster on the planet.

Sadly, I think we can be sure that 10 or so years ago someone took his place in society. I really doubt a singular monster has been removed, where in reality he was just the shed skin of a snake that is very old indeed. Said another way: his clients and friends are unlikely to have just gone back home to their wives after decades of decadence. Kinks (to put it lightly) don't just disappear.
posted by rhizome at 10:32 AM on August 10 [27 favorites]


But if he’s dead does it mean the case continues and they try his estate instead?

The criminal case against E ends with his death, but victims can (continue to) sue his estate.
posted by shenderson at 10:34 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


I'm seeing people saying that there remains a bunch of physical evidence, and with a will to do so, others could most certainly be charged.

But at this point, will any of us be surprised if the "and there was another surprise fire, wouldn't you know it" style predictions end up having a glimmer of foresight?
posted by Acid Communist at 10:35 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


The only reason Epstein survived as long as he did was that so many rich and powerful criminals, cultists, political factions, and intelligence agencies were trying to kill him at once that they couldn't get through his cell door. We call it "True Detective Three Stooges Syndrome"
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:35 AM on August 10 [24 favorites]


William Barr just announced that DOJ will be conducting a coverup investigation of Epstein's death.

Seems like a non-compulsory and complicated way to go about a cover-up. If Barr has announced an investigation, it’s probably to bring the full might of the DOJ to bear on the burdgeoning Clintons-murdered-him theory. Given that the Russian IRA and associated online trolls and info-warfare-makers are already pushing variations on ‘the Clintons had him killed to cover up Bill’s crimes’ in the meme-sphere, I’m betting that’s Barr’s aim here, to legitimize the info-warfare and conspiracy theory-mongering.

(Yes, the implied absence of any trust in the DOJ is intentional: there is no way that Bill Barr is opening an investigation into Epstein’s death for any real legal, moral, or ethical concern. That dude is Team Fascism all the way, so if he’s opening an investigation that he doesn’t have to, well, I’m pretty skeptical about motives, is all I’m sayin’.)
posted by LooseFilter at 10:42 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


I'm seeing people saying that there remains a bunch of physical evidence

Has his island even been searched?
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:44 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


Kinks (to put it lightly) don't just disappear.

Pathologies don't just disappear. FTFY.
posted by erattacorrige at 10:54 AM on August 10 [29 favorites]


Fuck. I knew I was wrong to have optimism in the first thread. I am sure some of his victims feel absolutely devastated. They had the bravery to come forward hoping some justice could be done in metoo times and then he chooses this to escape the consequences. Death of a rapist can be freeing to survivors but also bring up mixed emotions when you are able at last to think the world might believe you and support you for once. I hope they have support as I also assume if they try to go forward they will be flooded with even more hate.
posted by kanata at 10:58 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Ironically, the conspiracy theories imply some amount of margin to all-is-already-lost. I mean, it means we're not already fully in "Yeah, we did it, so what, punk? I'm rich." territory.

I'm not sure I share that optimism.
posted by ctmf at 11:16 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


I hope they have support as I also assume if they try to go forward they will be flooded with even more hate.

I would think 500 million spread across a couple hundred victims would procure a not insignificant amount of the various types of therapy that could help these poor girls.

I’ll sit here and hold my breath that it actually ever happens though.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:23 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I'm just gonna be over here listening to Praying by Kesha very loudly while simultaneously feeling like it's not angry enough to deal with my feelings.
posted by aclevername at 11:39 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


The current administration is deeply corrupt. A prisoner who had a previous assault or suicide attempt was able to 'apparently' hang himself. It is not easy to commit suicide in prison. He somehow had the tools and opportunity. I would find it extraordinarily difficult to believe that he wasn't provided assistance or outright murdered.
posted by theora55 at 11:39 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


ckape: "The alternate take I've seen is that while there's not going to be an Epstein trial, now nobody has standing to challenge the search of his house."

The highest-profile prisoner on Earth with knowledge of the sex crimes of scores of powerful politicians and billionaires just suicided in government custody days after already attempting, but yeah, I'm sure his blackmail documents are perfectly safe.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:49 AM on August 10 [32 favorites]


Related: "The central question William Barr's critics pose is: How far will he go to protect his master? The answer, some feel, already exposes Barr to the risk of a grand jury investigation and maybe worse." From the village voice archive.

And that Bill Barr’s dad was the one who hired a two time college drop out with no observable skill at math to a top position at a fancy manhattan private school which somehow caused him to get a job at Bear Sterns. Somehow.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on August 10 [27 favorites]


Fuck. Just fuck. This is denying justice. We NEEDED to see that guy in court. With evidence being brought against him. It honestly doesnt matter if he was killed or allowed to suicide, this is a terrible dead end for the investigations.
posted by happyroach at 12:39 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


Source: Jeffrey Epstein taken off suicide watch before death

Carol Leonnig: "People close to Epstein fear he was murdered...as Epstein told authorities someone tried to kill him in a previous incident weeks earlier. He was described as being in good spirits in recent days..."

Huge cache of newly unsealed records detail how Jeffrey Epstein and his madam allegedly lured girls into sexual servitude
Giuffre, as part of her sworn testimony, also states that she met former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and future President Donald Trump, and that Epstein once held a dinner for Clinton on his island, Little St. James, off the coast of St. Thomas.
Michael Moore: Here’s what I know about the uber-rich: They never drive themselves, they’ve never done a load of laundry, and they have no friggin’ clue how to tie a knot in a noose
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 12:40 PM on August 10 [29 favorites]


> Here’s what I know about the uber-rich: They never drive themselves, they’ve never done a load of laundry, and they have no friggin’ clue how to tie a knot in a noose

You know, I'm almost willing to believe this one.

Either way - whether he was killed or he committed suicide - it's awfully convenient for a lot of rich and powerful people. So it goes.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:47 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


With the victims coming after his estate, it will be interesting to see what they find. We know about the properties, but what about the supposed investment funds? Who is managing them? Will any of his supposed clients come out of hiding with claims on the hedge funds assets? Was it a ponzi scheme all along? I guess we'll find out.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:01 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]




Sooo. ....what are the odds of Maxwell never appearing in public ever again? Not even in a suspicious way just in a living undercover forever way?
posted by The Whelk at 1:25 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide is unfathomable (Harry Litman, WaPo)
At this point, questions abound, and BOP has to address them promptly.

The first: Was Epstein on suicide watch, and if not, why not? Among the reports cascading out in the few hours since Epstein’s body was found are anonymous statements that Epstein had been on suicide watch but was taken off it. If so, the decision to remove him appears to have been a colossal error that must be thoroughly probed.

The second: How exactly did Epstein manage to kill himself, and why exactly was it that he had access to the tools?

Third, is there a video of Epstein’s cell at the crucial time? There should be, and it will reveal exactly how and when Epstein killed himself.

And none of this begins to address the royal mess it leaves in the efforts to take stock of Epstein’s crimes and their prior slap-on-the-wrist treatment, nor the shambles in which it leaves Epstein’s victims.

Almost certainly, we will know a lot more in a few days. But it seems certain that when the facts are known, this will stand as one of the biggest black eyes in the history of the Bureau of Prisons.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:26 PM on August 10 [15 favorites]


Jesus. I've only just twigged that Ghislaine Maxwell is daughter of Robert. What. A Dynasty.
posted by penguin pie at 1:47 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


NYmag has a decent summary of coverage thus far: Everything We Know About Jeffrey Epstein’s Death
posted by shenderson at 1:56 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


If there exists even one situation in which one is allowed to doubt a suicide and lean towards a conspiracy to execute (or encourage the suicide) of a suspect, this is it. I'd even go so far as to say that in this one case, with dozens of high-level conspirators already well-documented including law enforcement at the highest levels, the burden of proof for once lies on those claiming it's just what it looks like and is not a conspiracy. But of course we will never know.
posted by chortly at 2:04 PM on August 10 [11 favorites]


chortly, why why why would you ever follow up that kind of post with "of course we will never know"? Either you believe what you wrote or you don't, but don't hedge your bets!
posted by dmit at 2:38 PM on August 10


Can anyone who has spent more time down the rabbit hole give me a summary on whether there is any potential connection between the Epstein ring and the Pizzagate scandal?

Pizzagate seemed like obvious manufactured conspiracy at the time, but the social circles overlap and the Epstein child sex trafficking ring was obviously very real. Is there any reason to ask if maybe Pizzagate wasn't as crazy as it seemed?
posted by 256 at 2:47 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


No.
posted by reductiondesign at 2:51 PM on August 10 [37 favorites]


Pizzagate was crazy and dangerous and entertaining it is also dangerous.
posted by Justinian at 2:56 PM on August 10 [14 favorites]


Pizzagate is nonsense.

If you are ever pondering a conspiracy (and they become popular because they are tempting and it’s only human to ponder them), try to map out what’s the fewest number of people, with the fewest disparate interests, it would take to accomplish it? The higher the numbers, the more implausible it is. That is usually more telling than the power of the people supposedly involved. The plausibility that a conspiracy could be maintained in secret comes down to the weakness of the links and the potential for conflict between them.
posted by sallybrown at 3:06 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Untangling the web that connects Jeffrey Epstein, the mafia, and intelligence agencies reveals a deep rabbit hole.
Unthread the Mint news link was dismissed for being antisemitic or at least leaning in that direction.
Robert Maxwell (the bouncing check) and his involvement with the Israeli security forces is not an uncommon theme. in fact there is book about Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy:
With Epstein's suspected involvement of being an intelligence agent it seems that Ghislaine Maxwell probably is too.
posted by adamvasco at 3:06 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


There’s even a suggestion the whole impetus behind Pizzagate was to throw off the scent/make the real truth sound ridclpus and it then spun it of control.

That’s why it and Q are so infuriating, we have documented! Legal and civic evidence of a sex traffic ring involving children by some of the most powerful people in the world , directly in front of us! They didn’t even try to hide it! And y’all are there trying to set a pizza place on fire cause Jeff Prosobic accidentally said the quiet part loud

I just keep cycling back to the account of one of the victims who was recruited as a towel folder while working at Mar-A-Lago, if that place doesn’t spontaneously and mysteriously explode the instant Trump kneels over mid-tweet i’ll Give everyone here a dollar.
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 PM on August 10 [35 favorites]


POTUS is pushing the Clinton murder theory on Twitter, if you want to be totally not surprised today.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:12 PM on August 10 [18 favorites]


Also! We probably wouldn’t have gotten this far if Trump didn’t remind everyone of Epstein on the campaign trail cause he’s not bright enough to realize it also implicates him - while also ..forgetting? Not caring? About how openly and publicly he’s talked about his mafia ties.

I swear to god it’s like if three days of the condor was written by a toddler.
posted by The Whelk at 3:15 PM on August 10 [27 favorites]


Conspiracy theories of the usual fake type draw people in, in part, by building on certain things that are well-known -- such as the readily-observable fact that men* who have sufficient power** will often use that power to commit horrific sexual crimes.

Of course those who have a particular desire to commit horrific sexual crimes will also tend to seek out the kinds of power that will allow them to do so, which probably goes a good way to explaining the apparent Epstein/intel overlap.

* In particular
** Wealth being one particular form of power over others
posted by shenderson at 3:17 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


There’s even a suggestion the whole impetus behind Pizzagate was to throw off the scent/make the real truth sound ridculous and it then spun it of control.

Limited hangout. Make the overall theme true, make most of the details not.

POTUS is pushing the Clinton murder theory on Twitter

You know, I hadn't been thinking that Trump himself gave the order.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:18 PM on August 10 [10 favorites]


So, are we doing our Informed Yet Grim predictions?

1. Maxwell is never seen in public again.
2. This is the effective end of the leaks and information, like when the NYT but dropped I figured the people who could be implicated had finally burned that bridge or secured themselves from it to allow JE to be the fall guy without it blowing back on them.
3. Alan Dershowitz dies rich and warm in his sleep.
4. The Estate pays off the accusers in some form in order to bind against future exposure.
5. Accident destroys evidence in the mansion or Mar A Largo or wherever.
6. If we’re alive in 50 years it comes out that the hedge fund was a slush fund for off the books money for all kinds of places and organizations.
7. Someone else related to the case will die in an iffy way but it’ll be during a busy election year and no one really notices.
posted by The Whelk at 3:49 PM on August 10 [20 favorites]


The only X factor is our big boy president’s big wet brain cause he doesn’t know not to just say whatever wanders past his limited focus even if it implicates him in a massive decades long criminal conspiracy
posted by The Whelk at 3:58 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


So, are we doing our Informed Yet Grim predictions?

8. Little St James will be a bare rock that smells like bleach the next time anyone with a camera gets there. Critical support for and solidarity with the mobile incinerator unit operators who are surely working long thankless hours right now.

Alan Dershowitz dies rich and warm in his sleep.

Incorrect: he'll die rich and in his sleep but the air conditioning will nicely take care of the heat from the nasty increasingy-common summer firestorm outside, thank you very much.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:58 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


[We really, really don't need conspiracy theories or gross jokes about this; it's all gross and horrible enough on its own.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:18 PM on August 10 [15 favorites]


Jacobin: Jeffrey Epstein Is the Face of the Billionaire Class

Epstein was the face of a larger systemic failing of capitalism and how it supercharges patriarchy and white supremacy. The clearest way to ensure no more billionaire rapists is to do everything possible to ensure no billionaires at all.
posted by Ouverture at 4:34 PM on August 10 [20 favorites]




9. The FBI/DOJ investigation either is never heard from again, or resurfaces in October 2020 with a dubious report pushing #clintonbodycount. There's no legitimate investigation findings from any responsible agency.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:26 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


The MCC inmates statement seems to be based on thinking Epstein was on Suicide watch; if he wasn't then things could be different.

With Epstein's suspected involvement of being an intelligence agent it seems that Ghislaine Maxwell probably is too.

If Epstien was working for the Mossad (or whomever) that's a pretty big win for them. And they might be the only ones who actually have the full story.

The only X factor is our big boy president’s big wet brain cause he doesn’t know not to just say whatever wanders past his limited focus even if it implicates him in a massive decades long criminal conspiracy

I fully expect the Cheeto, like on the Access tape, to get caught bragging on tape some day about how many 15 year olds he's abused or about the time he abused a 12 year old. And like with Moore his base just won't care. The only question is whether he suffers any consequences at all.
posted by Mitheral at 6:26 PM on August 10


Look, given the Russian/GOP trolls (funny how I still assume there's a difference?) are already piling on to the Clinton angle, can we at least push the "Trump did it" angle? I mean, seriously people, the enemy keeps bringing guns to a knife fight, and we end up being told to use a Q-tip instead of a knife because it's safer and more polite.
posted by aramaic at 8:00 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


I fully expect the Cheeto, like on the Access tape, to get caught bragging on tape some day about how many 15 year olds he's abused or about the time he abused a 12 year old.

Hasn't Trump literally bragged on Howard Stern that he'd barge into the changing rooms while contestants were naked when he ran Miss Universe? Trump's proven time and time again that the only way you get got for stuff like this is if someone richer wants to get you.
posted by Reyturner at 8:01 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Who is Webb and what is Mint Press News? I’ve never heard of either.

MintPress News is a mysteriously funded fringe site [Buzzfeed] that popped into existence in 2011. The most generous interpretation is that it's someone's vanity project. It runs conspiracy theories that fit into its pro-Assad, pro-Iran, anti-Israel mindset; and like most such fringe sites it isn't at all careful about avoiding antisemitism.

Its latest ouevre appears in today's edition of academic lawyer and commentator David Schraub's long-running series,
Things People Blame the Jews For, Volume LIII: The Suicide of Jeffrey Epstein
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:35 PM on August 10 [9 favorites]


While the three individual articles have been linked in various threads before, I think it's worth reposting in entirety the Miami Herald reportage by Julie K. Brown that brought this case into the light again.

Here's an interview with her just after his arrest in July and here are her comments following his death. It was a case by the Miami Herald that led to the unsealing of the documents released on Friday. (Which, incidentally, was the the 36th birthday of Virgina Giuffre.)
posted by roolya_boolya at 9:02 PM on August 10 [8 favorites]


My gut reactions:
1. Epstein being murdered is more likely than suicide, though incompetence is another strong possibility.
2. The criminal investigation is over. No more searches or public sharing of information.
3. Barr's investigation will be a years long political hit job heavily featuring Epstein's Democratic ties.
4. The president has already implied Hillary did this. His capacity to shock me never ends.
posted by xammerboy at 9:08 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


I think the general popular consensus thus far has been, "There's no way this is a suicide," which is a different reaction than a lot of other news stories that brush up against the world of conspiracies.
posted by StopMakingSense at 9:22 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


One data point in favor of incompetence is the New York Magazine article says Epstein was at first being held in general population, which strikes me as grossly incompetent. Any criminal on a sex charge involving minors would be in danger of being murdered in general population.
posted by xammerboy at 9:41 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


One data point in favor of incompetence is the New York Magazine article says Epstein was at first being held in general population, which strikes me as grossly incompetent. Any criminal on a sex charge involving minors would be in danger of being murdered in general population.

Doesn't it prove the opposite? Even regular citizens know it would be a bad idea to put Epstein in with the general population, how is it possible that the prison system just happened to think that a guy who has crossed several billionaires, politicians, members of the royal family, and a current president should be treated as less risky than an average child molester?
posted by benzenedream at 11:04 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


Ken White (@Popehat) has a Twitter thread about Epstein's death and his conclusion is
[…] Could there be more than malign indifference and incompetence? Sure. Maybe they hoped he would kill himself. Maybe he even bribed someone to look the other way so he could. Maybe there even is deliberate foul play. But if your belief is “it has to be murder, because nobody is this incompetent or indifferent,” you’re a willfully blind fool, a useful idiot for a despicable system.
If Ken White says that this sort of thing can happen just because, he's almost certainly right.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:35 AM on August 11 [19 favorites]


Reflecting on the Miami Herald stories I linked above it strikes me that Epstein's downfall was probably that the girls he went after in Palm Beach were American.

The 2003 Vanity Fair profile, despite holding back on a well sourced accusation of sexual misconduct, still makes for chilling reading today. It has this description of social events at Epstein's mansion:
“These were not women you’d see at Upper East Side dinners,” the woman recalls. “Many seemed foreign and dressed a little bizarrely.” This same guest also attended a cocktail party thrown by Maxwell that Prince Andrew attended, which was filled, she says, with young Russian models. “Some of the guests were horrified,” the woman says.

“He’s reckless,” says a former business associate, “and he’s gotten more so. Money does that to you. He’s breaking the oath he made to himself—that he would never do anything that would expose him in the media. Right now, in the wake of the publicity following his trip with Clinton, he must be in a very difficult place.”
However long it took the stories of these young women to come out, they might never have been know if they were foreign and trafficked in a similar manner.
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:48 AM on August 11 [9 favorites]


I tend to agree with Ken White. The criminal justice system is not only more incompetent than you imagine, it's more incompetent than you can imagine. But that said we'll know with great certainty whether there is something fishy when we learn whether the cameras were on or not. Should be relatively quickly?
posted by Justinian at 2:10 AM on August 11 [4 favorites]


The rich and powerful hang together like a keystone arch. They hold each other up because they are part of the same structure and because of gravity, not cement.

Trump is the biggest cement salesman on the planet. Even if you're not buying what he's selling at least you're obsessing over cement and not the structural changes needed to make things better. So it's all good (from his point of view).
posted by dudleian at 2:11 AM on August 11 [5 favorites]




Here's the thing: Epstein wasn't primarily important to any properly functioning criminal justice system as a suspect. His importance, to that system, was as a witness. Except he clearly wasn't being treated that way.

You don't need a nefarious plan for the powerful to have put Epstein in a position where he'd end up dead: they designed the system to enable them to get the results they want without having to do anything but allow their interests to be known. All that had to happen was for Epstein to know that everyone was going to make sure his life was unendurable and for him to be taken off suicide watch. And everyone walks away with a clean conscience because the system allows the interests of the powerful to be disguised as or within legitimate public or administrative interests. This is how privilege works.
posted by howfar at 2:24 AM on August 11 [16 favorites]


They might never have been know if they were foreign and trafficked in a similar manner.

I had the same thought about Weinstein. People this rich usually just procure prostitutes. There's some kind of additional element to their sickness that drove them to personally involve themselves in their abuse in such a personally involved manner. Also, I would never have thought they could have gotten away with it as successfully as they did for as long as they did considering the victims they were choosing, especially in Weinstein's case, where I would have considered some of those women to be some of the more powerful on the planet. The cases highlighted the vulnerability of all women at all times in all circumstances.


This is one of the nuttiest things Trump has done on Twitter.

I'm completely shocked. It's like he's come out and said pizzagate is real and Hillary is in charge. It's shockingly irresponsible and just tinfoil hat time crazy. I would absolutely consider someone unbalanced if they suggested this might be the case to me. Also, is there no limit to the power and evil they believe Clinton capable of?
posted by xammerboy at 2:33 AM on August 11 [6 favorites]


All that had to happen was for Epstein to know that everyone was going to make sure his life was unendurable and for him to be taken off suicide watch.

Also possible. The New York Magazine article also said that Epstein was eating his meals off the floor, which I also find disturbing. I don't care who he is or what he did. It doesn't sound like what was going on in there was on the up and up, much less in the interests of keeping him alive as a witness.
posted by xammerboy at 2:38 AM on August 11 [4 favorites]


I listened to this interview with Julie K. Brown and this one with Vicky Ward and it also strikes me that without the tenacious reporting of these two women everything likely would have stayed in the shadows.

It's interesting that Epstein took measures to squash the allegations of sexual misconduct in the 2003 Vanity Fair piece but, according to Julie K. Brown, he pretty much ignored her investigation. She speculates because he thought she was just a little reporter from the Miami Herald.

Epstein with the biggest houses in New York and New Mexico and the youngest girls everywhere he went, it's such a paean to patriarchy it would read as parody if not such a tale of horror. In all the repugnance of it the work of these two women is a rare bright light.
posted by roolya_boolya at 4:40 AM on August 11 [15 favorites]


Epstein wasn't primarily important to any properly functioning criminal justice system as a suspect.

This is absolutely untrue. He leaves behind hundreds of victims. I promise you, the people who are prosecuting him cared a lot about putting him behind bars regardless of where else he might lead.

I would urge people to listen to reporters and others who have backgrounds in the US federal criminal justice system. Ken White is a good, thoughtful, informed source. For news, Tom Winter, Shimon Procupecz, Justin Miller have good sourcing inside DOJ. Wesley Lowery and Ryan J. Reilly have done significant work on the US prison system. Anyone going “it was murder!!!!33!!!!! The Clintons!!! Trump!!!! The Russians!!!!” at this point, given the lack of information we have, is not particularly trustworthy.

can we at least push the "Trump did it" angle? I mean, seriously people, the enemy keeps bringing guns to a knife fight, and we end up being told to use a Q-tip instead of a knife because it's safer and more polite.

Conspiracy theories aren’t a knife, they’re tinfoil crafted into the shape of a hat. How about we try to keep from descending into the pit of clowns that is the Clinton conspiracists?
posted by sallybrown at 4:54 AM on August 11 [24 favorites]




This is absolutely untrue. He leaves behind hundreds of victims. I promise you, the people who are prosecuting him cared a lot about putting him behind bars regardless of where else he might lead.

And as a witness he could well have been made to prevent thousands more. Jesus wept, if you think punishment is more important than crime prevention I pray your assurance isn't given from direct professional experience, because... crumbs
posted by howfar at 5:26 AM on August 11 [4 favorites]


One possible semantic gap, here, between Ken White and myself... if someone behind bars manages to kill himself with zero outside assistance, I'm still skeptical that "incompetence" is the right word for the inaction of the jail in that situation, because there's still a distinction between regular and malign indifference.

A surgeon's error can kill someone on the operating table without any of the people in that room actively wanting that death. In that light, what would it mean for this event to have happened with zero foul play? It would mean none of the people indirectly responsible for Epstein's death had an active desire for him to die, a desire contributing to their behavior of action or inaction. That's what I have trouble believing, and I'm not even sure the people reminding us of Hanlon's razor believe it either. They're just drawing the line between "conspiracy" and "business as usual" differently than I do, which is reasonable in itself.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:38 AM on August 11 [4 favorites]


To make my general point very clear, I think it's important to recognise that the "malign" part of "malign indifference and incompetence" means something. And that malignity goes to the heart of our justice systems and our societies. We bend to the powerful. We don't all break the rules, although plenty of us do; we just move into positions that suit their need. Incompetence and indifference don't exist by coincidence, but they don't exist by conspiracy either. They exist because our society, from top to bottom, is designed to bend to the interests of the powerful. In the end, people move just enough to protect the most powerful perpetrators. This is fundamentally no different to rape culture, it's just that rape culture is one particularly evil and heinous extension of our generalised cultural apparatus of coercion and abuse.

I think this is an accurate identification of something that conspiracy theorists mistake for a conspiracy. It's just how the world works. The powerful tend to get what they want. It's Chinatown.
posted by howfar at 5:48 AM on August 11 [9 favorites]


I'm still skeptical that "incompetence" is the right word for the inaction of the jail in that situation, because there's still a distinction between regular and malign indifference.

It might be similar to the way we distinguish between negligence and recklessness—in the latter case, the person makes his poor choices with a full awareness of the risks he’s taking.

The Daily Mail claims to have a source “who had seen the disgraced financier on several occasions during his incarceration at the Metropolitan Correctional Center” and says “Guards at Jeffrey Epstein's Manhattan jail did not follow procedure and check on prisoners every 30 minutes the night the pedophile took his own life” and seems to be painting a picture of Epstein being in such good spirits that guards weren’t worried (eyeroll). This is probably the best spin a BOP source could give under the circumstances, in that the extremely poor decisions were not specific to Epstein but were MCC-wide, and that guards had reason not to suspect a suicide risk. But like the distinction InTheYear2017 was making, this wouldn’t be just “regular” indifference—maybe for people who don’t know much about suicide risk in prison, a prisoner acting jolly wouldn’t appear to be a suicide risk, but BOP knows better than that and should be held to a different standard.
posted by sallybrown at 5:56 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Slightly off-topic, but: I’m seriously over the phrase “seemed to be in good spirits” regarding a person who attempts/commits suicide. Anyone who knows *anything* about mental health knows that a person who’s depressed suddenly “seemed to be doing so much better” is *exactly* the person most likely to attempt suicide. The relief of deciding it’s finally over makes everything seem better. And most people with chronic debilitating depression don’t show it to anyone; “seemed to be in good spirits” is nonsense and has nothing to do with a person’s internal state and likelihood to attempt suicide.

Okay, sorry, end of rant. Not directed at anyone here, just the general societal willful ignorance on the topic of metal health.
posted by Kelrichen at 7:36 AM on August 11 [48 favorites]


Also, is there no limit to the power and evil they believe Clinton capable of?

The Clinton-hate is strong in him. Something which may be contributing to Trump's unhinged behaviour ( moreso than 'normally' ) is probably the three recent court filings this week, two of which involve, what Trump refers to as, and I apologize if I don't have this right, "Deep State Clinton Agents" Peter Stroczk (Aug 6.) and Andrew McCabe (Aug 9), with The House Judiciary Committee suing to enforce the McGahn subpoena (August 7) rounding out the trifecta

IIRC, the McCabe and Stroczk have full on "Trump accusing them of treason on Twitter" evidence, and reading them, appear to be slam-dunk cases.
posted by mikelieman at 7:45 AM on August 11 [5 favorites]


I’d just like to say that, while I don’t think the Clintons sent an assassin or whatever dumb shit the right wing is saying, I’d be willing to bet that Bill and Hillary are feeling pretty relieved that Epstein died before he could explain the flight logs Bill was on. Trump too.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:21 AM on August 11 [7 favorites]


I think we can separate what Bill is feeling from what Hillary is feeling. I do wonder if Hillary is starting to feel that she should launch a defamation suit.
posted by amanda at 8:41 AM on August 11 [17 favorites]


I think perhaps people are using the term conspiracy theory a little liberally.

Surely at some point it is possible to draw credible conclusions by making some form of analysis of the factors involved.
- The large number of actors with great incentive to take action
- capacity we can barely comprehend in how vast it is in comparison to ours, state and economic power.
- Here, as jury we get to know about past crimes. Power has form.

Plus a lot really deserve to be called jokes. This Seinfeld bit (Twitter), is shared alongside conspiracy but is just clean fun on its own.

On preview: either HC believes BC is innocent, in which case she might be relieved he's a step closer to legal exoneration without a potential lying witness or she doesn't. Can you be married comfortably to someone you're undecided on the guilt of in this?
posted by Acid Communist at 8:55 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


Look, palling around with horrible men who are wealthy and powerful is standard operating procedure in our society. Standing by and doing nothing while women and children are abused is a privilege reserved for white society in aggregate and wealthy and powerfully connected people in particular. The long list of useful idiots and hangers-on and wealthy and powerful who groupthink their way into an Epstein "party" is just a list of this-is-how-America-is. For the regular schmo, the burdens of proof are very low to get put away forever. For the wealthy, long, drawn-out procedures, endless depositions, investigations, and loopholes are standard operating procedure.

Every one of those people should be shamed for the cover they provided whether they were a useful idiot or not. And if not, then they should be held accountable. But whether Hillary GD Clinton personally holds Bill responsible in her mind or in their home is way down on my list of shit that I care about.
posted by amanda at 9:53 AM on August 11 [15 favorites]


Just in general, the amount hold that the Clintons still have over the political mindshare of both the left and the right is wholly unwarranted on any rational level seeing as how both their political careers are definitively over. The day we can finally move on from the 90s and its boomer politicians that will not ever leave public life cannot get here fast enough.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:11 AM on August 11 [48 favorites]


CNN is reporting that “the two guards that were at the Special Housing Unit were both on overtime. One was working a mandatory overtime shift. The other was working his fifth overtime shift of the week.” Earlier reporting on MCC shows terrible conditions within the prison, including staff shortages and multiple double shifts per week and lack of medical care (there’s not even one full-time psychiatrist on staff for over 800 prisoners).

Not that that even begins to answer the questions of why Epstein was placed in the SHU instead of on suicide watch (if it’s even true that you couldn’t be on suicide watch in the SHU), who at the prison or BOP was responsible for making placement decisions, what role his legal team might have played in this, if someone from outside slipped him something that he used to hang himself, etc.

But there is more than one way Trump bears responsibility for this. Even if this is a story of how Epstein took advantage of conditions within the prison and manipulated guards and officials into giving him the space and time needed to kill himself rather than something more nefarious, this administration has responsibility for not fixing the problems at MCC.
posted by sallybrown at 12:05 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


I too feel that the "malign" part of White's "malign indifference or incompetence" is carrying a lot of weight. The criminal justice and carceral systems are not incompetent, at least not in the sense that "incompetence" connotes "accident." All the abuses that prisoners suffer, not least among them being allowed and passively encouraged to abuse each other, are not incompetent accidents. The issues have been brought to the attention of the system repeatedly for decades, both via complaints from within, and complaints from outside observers, journalists, academics, lawyers, and anyone else who pays even the slightest bit of attention. And of course they are evident to the eyes of any administrator who actually steps inside their own prison for even a minute. The refusal to do anything about it is an active, malign decision, not incompetence.

But that's just for the general abuse of most prisoners. For famous prisoners, the "incompentence" of ignoring them and allowing the internal abuses (including suicide provocations, absence of oversight and counseling, and the availability of suicide materials) is even less of an accident. Epstein was the most famous person at that jail at that time, and dozens of administrators and lawyers actively at work at the prison and on his case were well aware of that. No one could fail to notice that he was super-famous, suicidal, and at high risk of peer murder due to his specific crimes. So this can't even be part of the usual systemic "malign indifference," because he was not just another pebble in a machine designed to grind them into dust. To claim this is to imagine that he was just forgotten about by dozens of administrators and advisors within the jail system, his situation ignored as if he were just another murderer like his roommate. To me, this defies belief. It doesn't mean he was murdered, or that anyone deliberately staged the circumstances of his suicide in some intentional way. But the "malign indifference" -- which is always already more "malign" than "indifferent" -- is here much more specifically malign, since it must ignore not just the systemic knowledge of the abuses, but also the very specific attention and risks associated with this most famous prisoner.

I said "we'll never know" before, but in this case it seems possible that we may discover specific decisions made by specific administrators, lawyers, or psychologists who "looked the other way" and allowed him to be treated as if he were just another pebble, although most explanations will just take the form of "I never thought of it and/or was in no position to do anything" and even those who should have known better and could have done something about it will get at best a slap on the wrist. So assuming little to nothing of this sort is found, I guess the best anti-conspiracy defense is that this system of "malign indifference" is so powerful that even someone as famous and high-risk as he could be genuinely lost inside it. At that point were are positing a system of such power and labyrinthine complexity that it can overcome even the attention of dozens of lawyers and hundreds of journalists, but I suppose it may be that the conspiracy of the carceral system in itself is even more powerful than I had imagined.
posted by chortly at 12:22 PM on August 11 [17 favorites]


Oh... Yes. Thank God. This is beautifully put and blisteringly clear and what I've been trying to think/say coherently all weekend:

It doesn't mean he was murdered, or that anyone deliberately staged the circumstances of his suicide in some intentional way. But the "malign indifference" -- which is always already more "malign" than "indifferent" -- is here much more specifically malign, since it must ignore not just the systemic knowledge of the abuses, but also the very specific attention and risks associated with this most famous prisoner.

It's not as if my thoughts about this were complicated, but I have been having trouble putting them into words, and now you've done it for me, beautifully. Thank you.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:29 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


we may discover specific decisions made by specific administrators, lawyers, or psychologists who "looked the other way" and allowed him to be treated as if he were just another pebble

Via @popehat, here's a Twitter thread by @CZEdwards (Threadreader version) talking about suicidal ideation and suicide watch protocol with respect to Epstein's case. I don't know anything about the author but it seems sensible and informative. Before reading it I hadn't considered that suicide watch is oppressive to a prisoner, psychologically harmful to them, and that consequently there are guidelines about the length of time it can be imposed. Now that I think about it, there were suggestions that it was imposed on Chelsea Manning as a form of torture.

So turn the question around: here's a wealthy and well-connected prisoner whose case is under a great deal of scrutiny. Are you going to breach prison guidelines by imposing a suicide watch and risk a mistrial because the suspect had effectively been tortured? No; you're going to make sure he gets treated with the same malign neglect that every other prisoner receives.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:45 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


Yeah, suicide watch is effectively "suicide constant-distractions."

I’d be willing to bet that Bill and Hillary are feeling pretty relieved that Epstein died before he could explain the flight logs Bill was on.

I mean, possibly if not probably? But look at Clinton's accusers. Monica Lewinsky. He was President, there is little chance (uneducated guess) that wouldn't have come to light from non-participating witnesses. I'm not saying Bill is clean of Epstein stink, nor that he never partook, but as far as pathologies go we know his type is twentysomethings. I doubt that Trump panel was a veiled threat to expose younger victims of Bill's.
posted by rhizome at 2:18 PM on August 11


I’d be willing to bet that Bill and Hillary are feeling pretty relieved that Epstein died before he could explain the flight logs Bill was on. Trump too.

The complete wrongness of this kind of argument is plainly obvious. It in no way benefits Bill or Hillary for Epstein to be dead under any circumstances. If he had the goods and were going to use them, Epstein has had almost 15 years to do it, but he didn't. Him now being dead only makes their lives worse and has resulted in yet another round of nonsensical unhinged accusations. It's not like the last couple of times of this merry go round were good for them, so I have a really hard time seeing how they could possibly be relieved. Indifferent, perhaps.
posted by wierdo at 2:19 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


Bill Clinton was never sued for raping a 13 year old provided by Epstein, like Donald J. Trump was.
posted by mikelieman at 2:20 PM on August 11 [25 favorites]




There’s no video of Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide

Of course not. (ugh.)
posted by sjswitzer at 2:51 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


If I’m reading it right, Noisy Pink Bubbles’ link makes it sound like there was not video that was lost or switched off, but that there is routinely never video of cells in that area at MCC:
Although there are cameras in the 9 South wing where the convicted pedophile was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, they are trained on the areas outside the cells and not inside, according to sources familiar with the setup there.
Perhaps that means they are at least able to verify who might have approached Epstein’s cell or which guards were on duty or not (or were sleeping, etc).
posted by sallybrown at 2:51 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


but that there is routinely never video of cells in that area at MCC

Yeah, that is what it seems like. Although CNN is now reporting (if I'm reading them correctly) that the guards also did not make the rounds to his cell that night.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:08 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Hey Jad, mind getting me a piece of that cake? (Minority Report)
posted by rhizome at 3:14 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
posted by sjswitzer at 3:44 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


I wonder if Wexner turning on Epstein implied that Epstein would no longer be defended by his own class.
posted by benzenedream at 3:52 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


True Anon pooidcast "Well Epstein is dead"
posted by The Whelk at 5:01 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Well, Wexner wised up in 2007 and I believe it was reported at the time so Epstein had plenty of warning.

This Daily Kos piece, The Ghosts of Jeffrey Epstein, is primarily about narcissism and a theory re Epstein's motivation to stay alive. But first, this quote:
“The conventional wisdom among his friends was that Epstein has been victimized by greedy, morally dubious teenage girls and unscrupulous lawyers. "I've never condoned paying for sex, but if the young lady lied about her age it's her own fault," explained one socialite, who along with Wilbur Ross and Leon Black hobnobbed with Epstein at a Southampton movie screening just two months after his release from "community control" in Florida.”

-Alexandra Wolfe for the Daily Beast, 2011
And the theory:
Jeffrey Epstein was, to the core soul, a narcissist. As a narcissist he was driven by self interest first and foremost, but when things don’t go his way, his focus turned to revenge. For years Epstein has been collecting “dirt” on his associates- secretly recording their liaisons with underage girls and creating “files” on his friends and enemies alike. He used this as both leverage and blackmail. It allowed him to get away with his crimes for years. This indictment must have felt to him like a huge betrayal.

Epstein would not kill himself, in my opinion, without first enjoying the spectacle of watching those who double crossed him twist in the wind. A man focused on vengeance, a predator through and through, he would not hang himself in a jail cell before trial, the same night thousands of pages of documents were dumped. Please bear in mind, there is not a lot of new information to be found in there about Epstein himself- it is known, and finally officially acknowledged, that he was running an international sex trafficking ring for the power elite. His role in that is beyond dispute. And it’s also been an open secret for years. The only thing being revealed at this point- and what would have ultimately come out during the trial- is who his co-conspirators were. Who his clients were. This trial would have, in my opinion, been a monumental opportunity to see the ugly underbelly of the power elite, and lay bare how they ALL are complicit in the abuse, rape, and sex trafficking of young, powerless girls. And now that he was an outcast and not an insider, the Jeff Epstein I “know” would love nothing more than to see all of that dirty laundry aired.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:13 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]




I admit I'm just overwhelmed and confused by all of this--so, Epstein is obviously no longer able to stand trial and therefore the case itself can't be brought against him, but the documents and tapes and all the other evidence had entered into the system, right? What happens to that discovery? Is it in the record, as it were? Can anything be done with records which entered a case which cannot be brought forward to trial? Are any of the fucking rapists which took advantage of this asshole's perpetual power machine able to be held officially accountable from the records available to the court in this case, or does the law demand that some other reason for suspicion exist to bring these hundreds of rape cases to the courts?
Basically, what now?
posted by zinful at 5:39 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Especially since it sounds as if these are statutory rapes, so it's up the state to bring the charges based on evidence they have available...evidence they collected for a defunct and separate trial. Does that...matter?
posted by zinful at 5:41 PM on August 11




Criminal cases: SDNY says that the Epstein investigation remains ongoing through the conspiracy charge. It’s not clear how much evidence they have on that charge or who is tied through evidence to the conspiracy. Epstein’s death will cause some evidentiary problems for what’s already gathered (there are limits on introducing evidence in court, for example when the source of it can’t testify) but that doesn’t mean the prosecutors have to set it all aside or throw it away and begin again. If they are able to establish a conspiracy charge, they may be able to hold other people accountable for any acts Epstein took as part of the conspiracy. The criminal cases provide the best chance of finding evidence because the government has a lot of power in that respect.

Civil cases: These can proceed against Epstein’s estate and various other people who might have been involved. The victims can sue whomever they want—they don’t have to clear a bar the way a prosecutor does to bring criminal charges. That doesn’t mean the civil suits won’t get tossed out or will be successful. However, civil suits don’t have the evidence gathering power that criminal cases do—both sides request the production of documents from each other and then comb through them to see what they can find and to figure out whether anything requested has been left out. It’s nowhere near as thorough as the authorities combing through a room with a search warrant.
posted by sallybrown at 5:56 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


The other thing that could happen is that it's well within Congress's authority to open an investigation either into how the Justice Department handled the original case, or into Epstein's crimes as a whole. There has to be some legislative nexus to investigate the crimes, but investigating something to decide if legislation is appropriate counts, and "matters of national importance" are generally construed broadly.

This is a little bit politically tricky, because Congress, and it can go badly (remember all the hearings about steroids in baseball? snore) or it can go pretty well (Challenger explosion investigation). I think it's not the best way to investigate because there's a lot of complicated privilege and evidence questions, and the temptation for congresscritters to showboat would be overwhelming (can you imagine listening to GOP reps using their entire ten minutes, every time, to ask about the Clintons?). But it's a possibility that might become more appealing if legal investigations seem to stall out.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:25 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


So turn the question around: here's a wealthy and well-connected prisoner whose case is under a great deal of scrutiny. Are you going to breach prison guidelines by imposing a suicide watch and risk a mistrial because the suspect had effectively been tortured? No; you're going to make sure he gets treated with the same malign neglect that every other prisoner receives.

If the only two options are probable torture or probable suicide, that is far more than "malign neglect."

The OED defines a conspiracy theory as "a belief that some covert but influential agency (typically political in motivation and oppressive in intent) is responsible for an unexplained event." The death of Epstein seems to militate toward one of two conspiracies: a secret cabal who managed to silence Epstein much as he and others had conspired to silence their victims; or a prison system so powerful that even one of the richest men within it was almost instantly destroyed by the same machinery that destroys so many others. Either way, this supposed accident reveals a covert system of surprising malignity and destructive power.
posted by chortly at 6:52 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


I can't even with the "maybe Pizzagate was reeeeeal" and "Killary did it" above. Good fucking grief people. There are perfectly rational reasons to be very suspicious of the circumstances of Epstein's death, but there's nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by grasping at wingnut straws.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:15 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


"Killary did it" above

No-one here that I can see, on re-read, is asserting that it's likely either of the Clintons had anything to do with this. Ruling class solidarity doesn't mean they're in a Slack together acting in concert.
posted by Acid Communist at 9:40 PM on August 11 [11 favorites]


I think, somewhat lost in the fog of details here, there's a clear and essential chain of events we need to emphasize.


1) Epstein survived for weeks in custody at prisons not controlled by Trump.

2) At the insistence of Trump Epstein was transferred to a prison controlled by Trump.

3) Once in the prison controlled by Trump, Epstein died.

That's the important part. While knowing the details of what happened is good, the broad strokes are more important and it really doesn't matter that much whether Epstein died due to incompetence, accident, malcompetence, or even deliberate murder. What matters is that he lived while he was in non-Trump custody and he died almost immediately after being put into Trump's custody. That's the important and essential thing we have to keep hammering on.
posted by sotonohito at 8:54 AM on August 12


sotonohito, Epstein was held at the same prison (MCC) since he was first arrested off the plane from Paris in early July. He went back and forth to the hospital after his first suicide attempt I believe, but he wasn’t transferred to a different prison, just shuffled among different units within MCC, all of which is under the Bureau of Prisons (which is under DOJ (which is under Trump)).
posted by sallybrown at 9:08 AM on August 12 [13 favorites]


Bugger. I had him mixed up with Manafort who was moved from Riker's Island at Trump insistence.

Sorry, brain failure there.
posted by sotonohito at 9:19 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


AG Barr is now claiming to be appalled after “learning“ of the poor conditions and staffing issues at MCC. Meanwhile he had literally been asked about federal prison staffing shortages in his confirmation testimony!

Here’s a whole thread about security lapses at MCC over the past few yeast, including the bribery of a guard.

In the Post, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148 claimed at least one of Epstein’s working-overtime guards wasn’t actually a correctional officer but rather a different prison employee pressed into service as a guard because of staffing shortages.
posted by sallybrown at 9:21 AM on August 12 [5 favorites]


I mean, it’s one kind of depressing to imagine that a powerful world figure (whether that be Trump, Clinton, the Russians, etc) could send an assassin to successfully kill a prisoner in a US federal prison. But it’s also quite depressing (maybe even more depressing) if it turns out this was a combination of underpaid and overworked employees, lack of diligence by government appointees, budget cuts by Congress, and a general lack of care about / accountability for prison conditions in our country.
posted by sallybrown at 9:25 AM on August 12 [13 favorites]


And yet, from the standpoint of Trump and everyone else who stood to lose if Epstein started testifying, the outcome is the same whether it was a hit or just malcompetence!
posted by sotonohito at 9:43 AM on August 12 [5 favorites]


Epstein’s Death Has a Simpler Explanation: Baseless speculation abounded after the accused sex trafficker died, but criminal-justice scholars point instead to a broader suicide problem.

The number of Americans dying while incarcerated has surged while the US prison population has increased by 500% over the last 40 years.

Incompetence and apathy at scale is a far less satisfying, but often more probable answer than a secret conspiracy.
posted by Ouverture at 9:53 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


> But it’s also quite depressing (maybe even more depressing) if it turns out this was a combination of underpaid and overworked employees, lack of diligence by government appointees, budget cuts by Congress, and a general lack of care about / accountability for prison conditions in our country.

> Incompetence and apathy at scale is a far less satisfying, but often more probable answer than a secret conspiracy.


One more time and then I'll leave off, but again it's not "lack of care," "incompetence" or "apathy." The conditions of prisoners are obvious to anyone who works there, and are also brought to their attention repeatedly and loudly from many different outside sources over years, decades, and indeed centuries. While the general public may be apathetic, neither prison reformers nor prison administrators and government officials are: one side is vigorously pushing for change, and while the other works to preserve and expand the penal system. Actively resisting reform is costly and requires constant work driven by a malign desire to hurt or, where prevented from actively hurting, to foster and preserve the conditions that induce maximal suffering. If they think at all, they think of it as justified punishment, but underneath it's the same sociopathy that leads to withholding toothbrushes from immigrant children or cops shooting unarmed black men in "self defense." What I somewhat ironically dubbed the "conspiracy" here is that the carceral system claims that these poor conditions are due to underfunding, incompetence, and public apathy, whereas the truth is that they work constantly and diligently to preserve these conditions from reform.
posted by chortly at 10:39 AM on August 12 [11 favorites]


wasn’t actually a correctional officer but rather a different prison employee pressed into service as a guard because of staffing shortages.

I prefer the term "overpopulation."
posted by rhizome at 11:08 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I can't even with the "maybe Pizzagate was reeeeeal"

Just to be clear, because I may have been the first one in this thread to bring up Pizzagate, I definitely wasn't trying to breathe life back into a far right conspiracy. I was just, honestly, asking as a non-American who hadn't really followed the whole mess.

Because I remember when Pizzagate broke two years ago suggesting a massive child prostitution ring hiding in plain sight among political elites and everyone sensible dismissing it as totally manufactured. But now here we have a massive child prostitution ring hiding in plain sight among political elites that is very real. So I was legitimately asking whether, in retrospect, the first one might have been a bunch of craziness that was built on kernel of truth or if it was just a matter of a stopped clock rhyming with the truth twice a day.
posted by 256 at 11:12 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Oh fair enough, and like clearly there actually are human traffickers prostituting minors and a conspiracy of sorts among certain wealthy shitheads is required to perpetuate that.

It's just that the specifics related to this particular pizza parlor were fucking ridiculous, promulgated by a set of total wingnuts who grasped at the thinnest of far-fetched straws while studiously ignoring the actual current president's problematic associations with known pedophiles.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:18 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


It's just that the specifics related to this particular pizza parlor were fucking ridiculous, promulgated by a set of total wingnuts who grasped at the thinnest of far-fetched straws while studiously ignoring the actual current president's problematic associations with known pedophiles.

limited hangout
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:24 AM on August 12 [10 favorites]


That's the important part. While knowing the details of what happened is good, the broad strokes are more important and it really doesn't matter that much whether Epstein died due to incompetence, accident, malcompetence, or even deliberate murder.

Honestly how he died and who killed him exactly means SO GOSH DARN LITTLE to me. What I want to know is WHO IS RELEIVED HES DEAD? Go after them. Go after THEM
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:26 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Who would go after them? The powers that be don't seem interested.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:28 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Who's gonna go after them? Won't be our justice system.

Well we know a few names of folks we can publically drag. He conspired with people. There's also the possibility that now he's dead someone with little to lose would start flapping their gums (assuming *all* men aren't willing to protect their cabal of sex trafficking but I'm not holding my breath for that...)

In the meantime it's not too hard to turn our backs on the lawyers, politicians, public figures, scientists, philanthropists, filmmakers and so on... who were seen in this pig's presence.

But yeah, who gives a pooh crumb re: whether he was hung or poisoned? There are still victims that need justice. There are still monsters that need accounting for.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:35 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


256: Just to be clear, because I may have been the first one in this thread to bring up Pizzagate, I definitely wasn't trying to breathe life back into a far right conspiracy. I was just, honestly, asking as a non-American who hadn't really followed the whole mess.

Ok. So, just for the record, the genesis of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory is roughly (if I recall correctly): "Hey look at all these references to pizza in the hacked Podesta emails. What if instead of talking about actual pizza, they're using 'cheese pizza' as a code for 'child pornography' just like we do on 4chan?" I believe 4chan (or maybe 8chan?) was one of the main breeding grounds for Pizzagate theories. There literally wasn't (and isn't) anything in it more than that. No purported victims, no witnesses, nothing. Everything thing else you've heard about Pizzagate sprung forth from this tiny, insipid seed.

Epstein's stuff, on the other hand, has on-the-record testimony from actual victims. And also tons of people who saw and heard sketchy stuff, some of whom are now trying to hand-wave away what they saw and heard.
posted by mhum at 12:17 PM on August 12 [16 favorites]


mhum: "Everything thing else you've heard about Pizzagate sprung forth from this tiny, insipid seed. "

And grew to encompass many other things like Epstein to give the appearance of legitimacy before the most recent events. Now all the Pizzagaters are gloating and treating it like vindication even though Epstein existed before and independently of their BS.
posted by charred husk at 12:23 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


So I was legitimately asking whether, in retrospect, the first one might have been a bunch of craziness that was built on kernel of truth or if it was just a matter of a stopped clock rhyming with the truth twice a day.

Every single accusation of grotesquery that the right-wing hurls at their opponents has been demonstrable projection. "The gays are horrid moral abominations!" (immediately gets caught with male prostitute) "Democrats are the REAL racists!" (another racist trump fan goes on a shooting spree) "Obama=HITLER!" (creates actual literal concentration camps) At this point Trump promoting a 'Hillary did it' narrative is as good as admission that he strangled Epstein himself.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:46 PM on August 12 [12 favorites]




I think one of the disconnects between the "the prison system is so horrible this is common place" and the "it can't be a coincidence" viewpoints is the common misunderstand of statistics.

For the last year we have on record, there were 275 suicides per 100000 prisoners. This is correctly a horrible systemic problem that needs to be addressed. And suicide is only one small piece of the bigger problem there.

But do the math for any one individual prisoner. That's 275 per year, and we are talking about someone who was incarcerated for one month, so the expected rate is 23 out of 100000. For any one person, that's still a very rare outcome.

Unacceptably common in a population can still be very rare for an individual.
posted by bcd at 1:57 PM on August 12 [8 favorites]


Although, at the same time, not every prisoner has a equal suicide risk. I find it extremely believable that Epstein was suicidal.
posted by 256 at 2:07 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Wonder what took them so long... FBI Agents raid Little St. James
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:38 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


There is not a lot of reporting this yet from major sites (link above is Daily Mail). I did find an NBC link...

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fbi-agents-swarm-jeffrey-epstein-s-private-caribbean-island-n1041596
posted by sio42 at 2:47 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


If anyone here is an expert on suicidal ideation they're not telling us. But a guy who wears a new shirt every day being forced to wear the same prison jumpsuit (or whatever) for days or weeks at a time? The guy who boasted about "needing " three orgasms a day locked in a perpetually-lit cell with only the pleasures of his hand? The guy who revelled in controlling and subjugating others and is now subjugated beyond belief? I can see him becoming suicidal. And as the Twitter thread I linked above mentions, suicide, for people in a certain state of mind, can be a way of taking back control. I can totally believe Epstein was suicidal.

I can't deny that his death was very convenient for many powerful people, but they evidently weren't powerful enough to have Epstein killed before his incarceration, or silence his accusers, or have the investigations dropped. If they're responsible they must have a very precise and peculiar form of power that either involves sending assassins into a Federal prison, or (which is even less likely) somehow turning long-term Federal employees into assassins. Surely it's more plausible that Epstein killed himself.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:54 PM on August 12 [9 favorites]


someone posted epstein's little black book to their google drive. not going to link, but you can find it with a casual search on the terms used in my last sentence.

i want all of these rich trashbags exposed. i want the ruling class taken down and i want this to be the thing that takes them down. fuck trials: epstein's gang needs to face tribunals.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:03 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


This seems weird: Several articles are popping up that talk about the issue with suicides in correctional facilities, and they all mention Sandra Bland. Which was another case where the "official" story was that it was a suicide, but some things seem to point more to that she was killed. (In her case, no grand conspiracy, just probably racist/violent guards)

Why did all the articles decide to mention her all of a sudden, and why pick an example where the suicide is disputed?
posted by ymgve at 3:04 PM on August 12 [5 favorites]


Gawker back in the day had a big write up and photos of the black book entries and which ones where circled.
posted by The Whelk at 3:05 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


A followup to my bit about statistics. To be clear, I wasn't arguing that it wasn't suicide, or that he wasn't quite likely suicidal. While I wouldn't try to quantify it, I certainly wouldn't argue against him being more likely to be suicidal than your average inmate (who are still more likely be suicidal than the general population). The question, to my mind, is to what degree that rare event was facilitated by whatever combination of not checking on him, transfering his cellmate out, letting him have materials that could be used, etc.
posted by bcd at 3:21 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't mind a disclaimer for Daily Mail links and am not convinced their servers shouldn't be fired into the sun.
posted by aspersioncast at 3:28 PM on August 12 [8 favorites]


Fire the Daily Mail servers into the servers of The Sun and solve two problems.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:35 PM on August 12 [38 favorites]


Ok, so that little black book leaked and referenced earlier? There's names, names with boxes drawn around them, names with boxes labeled "Massage - [Place]", and circled names with the word "witness" written beside them, one of which is under the heading "Cleaners".

I know we shouldn't jump to conclusions based on a leaked document, but... I kinda feel like someone should maybe talk to anyone labeled "witness" in epstein's phone book of horror.
posted by mrgoat at 4:05 PM on August 12 [5 favorites]


...wasn't arguing that it wasn't suicide...The question, to my mind, is to what degree that rare event was facilitated by...combination of not checking on him, transfering his cellmate out, letting him have materials that could be used, etc.

And, let's see the paper trail and clinical notes of the psychiatrist and prison bureaucrat that took him off suicide watch.

Those guards are really being set up, IMHO. And I empathize with them. I just got directed to deliver code with tests failing. I need my job. If I worked in that hellhole and someone with any level of authority told me to "check that other unit", I'd totally do it.

This whole thing stinks, even if je offed himself.

/rant
posted by j_curiouser at 4:08 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


and I'd be paying close attention to the bank accounts and travel plans of *every* prison employee.
posted by j_curiouser at 4:13 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


They will also take a close look at his counsel and anyone brought with his counsel under the guise of being legal staff. It’s been reported that he met with counsel all day, every day and that his attorneys pushed to get him removed from suicide watch after his first attempt.
posted by sallybrown at 4:18 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Those guards are really being set up, IMHO.

Concur.

Management then:
"This prisoner is special; he doesn't need to spend all day in jail or wear a prison uniform, he can go to his office and wear his bespoke suits. Yes, he can have visitors. No, you don't need to be in the office with him, just stand around all day in the lobby."

Management now:
"This prisoner is special; he has to eat off the floor and we're evicting his cellmate and not being all that careful with the linens. No he doesn't merit a suicide watch, besides, we need you in cellblock 27-B/6."

USAToday readers, then and now:
"Those guards were [amoral and slobberingly sycophantic/malicious and cruelly indifferent], and as a result the prisoner received inappropriate treatment!"
posted by Don Pepino at 4:22 PM on August 12 [9 favorites]




Nader and Epstein were considered untouchable until recently, possibly because of their Israeli Intelligence ties and various cooperation agreements.
Jeffrey Epstein’s investment in an Israeli start-up reveals a myriad of links to Donald Trump and Israeli spies.
posted by adamvasco at 6:31 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


The “Israeli intelligence operatives are everywhere” stories are a little too “Jews run the world” for me. Is Narativ a legitimate source?
posted by gucci mane at 7:12 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


The whole understaffed prison excuse was reminding me of something all day that I couldn't quite put my finger on it until just now: They used the same excuse when Whitey Bulger was beaten to death less than a day after arriving at USP Hazleton ("Staffing Shortages Cited at Prison Where Bulger and Others Died Thus Year", WaPo 2018/11/02). Except, in that case, no one could possibly take that seriously as an excuse because Bulger -- a nationally-infamous, 89-year-old, wheelchair-bound mob informant -- was simply dumped into gen. pop. when he arrived at Hazleton. There was no way that anyone believes that was mainly a staffing issue.

In the Epstein case, however, this excuse is perhaps not quite as thin. Or, at least, slightly harder to dismiss out of hand as in the Bulger case.
posted by mhum at 7:14 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


i want all of these rich trashbags exposed. i want the ruling class taken down and i want this to be the thing that takes them down. fuck trials: epstein's gang needs to face tribunals.

This so hard. Part of what upsets me about Epstein's untimely deaths is the fact that, regardless of how his trial would have gone, this legal process would have set an incredible legal precent to follow for other uber-wealthy predators. There is not much of a precent for such prosection now; we have plenty of poor convicted for child abuse / child rape / molestation sex crimes, but so few with any significant amount of power, and prosecuting Epstein would have sent a very strong message to his roach-in-human-skinsuit buddies, as well as had far reaching historic significance. I'm not 100% sure about this as I'm not a lawyer, I'm just thinking.

Back up above a few different comments were made about the victims, statutory rape, etc. First, no. Some of the victims were as young as 12. That does not qualify as statutory rape. Second, no, because if you're 15 and being coerced- and coercion is a form of violence- suggesting that these kids "wanted it" and "agreed to it" is woefully misinformed. No. No. No. Not having the power, capacity, or understanding that not wildly fighting back or screaming no while being molested or abused does not count as a "yes" or enthusiastic consent. I'm largely positive that law enforcement is not looking at this from the perspective of "statutory rape." We all know it's much more serious than that. Statutory rape claims are the sort of thing that (I think? I can't really tell with absolute certainty) the Douche-owitz is talking about regarding age of consent laws aka a 16 year old kid being thrown into prison for hooking up with a 15 year old girlfriend/boyfriend. I hate Dersh so this is not a defense but that this is the most likely application of the statutory rape scenario than a gross sweaty aging megabucks large old guy touching tweens who are also not emotionally invested in him as a person / a relationship, but are more invested in acquiescing in a terrifying and unfamiliar situation without proper avenues of help to turn to in order to escape the situation. Throwing your wallet at the mugger- a bad metaphor, but doesn't change the status of victimhood.

Also: can I just say again, fuck Bill Clinton? It's a logical fallacy to say that because he enjoyed soliciting sex from someone in their early 20s he can't ALSO be into kids. Plenty of pedophiles have sexual intercourse with people their own age, older, or a bit younger. Plenty have very successful cover stories that make them look like the perfect well adjusted faithful spouse in a house with a white picket fence. Nonetheless they're still participating in gruesome child abuse. This is exactly how so many of them get away with it for so long.

It's another logical fallacy to assume that because Epstein hadn't managed to kill himself before that the timing was significant regarding the release of documents and other current events. Epstein was a quick study, and I'm sure was keenly noting (deliberate, institutionalized) chinks in the fabric of his environment. I'm sure he quickly noted when he was least actively monitored, which security guard was more interested in checking their phone, at what angle any camera in his cell was pointed, etc etc. He was not an unclever person. I do believe this was largely due to gross negligence, and I think he took a chance as soon as it was reasonably presented to him. He may have gotten the scoop from his prior cell mate as well, who knows.
I agree that it would have been in the best interest of the power structures that supported him or gained from him to silence him well before this. If the wealthy can somehow negotiate a murder through the bars of a fairly impersonal yet highly monitored system, Epstein could certainly have been done in with while rambling around on his beach or through the streets of Manhattan, with more efficiency and hush hush.

Epstein is a narcissist as mentioned in some prior articles. Being alone meant he didn't have anyone to manipulate. He had also known he was likely to be arrested based on that mural in his house. People like that can't stand to be alone, without prey to suck the soul/lifeblood from, and can't stand to not be in control. No victims and no control over anything else would have made that existence unbearable for him. Plus, I'd be willing to bet that he knew by killing himself he'd be denying his victims justice, and this was a final jab at hurting them rather than conceding that level of control. He could still hurt people, and that was the last weapon he had, and he knew it. It was his final act of evil, not against himself, but against his victims.

I'm also waiting to hear if any other governments/countries will release statements regarding his actions, because I'd bet dollars to donuts he was a sex tourist in poor countries in southeast Asia, etc.
posted by erattacorrige at 7:48 PM on August 12 [16 favorites]


Ok, so that little black book leaked and referenced earlier? There's names, names with boxes drawn around them, names with boxes labeled "Massage - [Place]", and circled names with the word "witness" written beside them, one of which is under the heading "Cleaners".

Was this information released legally?
posted by Mitheral at 8:41 PM on August 12


What law would have protected it?
posted by rhizome at 9:03 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Anywhere there's a twitter thread with the unredacted full black book listings if you're into that.

very much Bulldoze Harvard for the health of the nation but also a lot of international moneymen and politicians, Brazil, Italy, etc
posted by The Whelk at 11:18 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I would insist that the meaningful conspiracy is not who killed him or how he died, but rather who raped trafficked girls trough him.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 2:38 AM on August 13 [16 favorites]


Lots of interesting details in this AP update:
A person familiar with operations at the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein killed himself says one of the two people guarding him the night he died wasn’t a correctional officer.
...
France’s government wants prosecutors to open an investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s links to France following his death in a Manhattan jail cell.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:00 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


It's a logical fallacy to say that because he enjoyed soliciting sex from someone in their early 20s he can't ALSO be into kids

I'd go as far as to say that if a grown ass man in his 50s goes after college aged-students, they're creeps and the only thing stopping them from publicly going after mid-teens is the law.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:38 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


> A person familiar with operations at the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein killed himself says one of the two people guarding him the night he died wasn’t a correctional officer.

holy shit.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:54 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


The “Israeli intelligence operatives are everywhere” stories are a little too “Jews run the world” for me.
This not about “Jews run the world” which is a good way to shut the conversation down.
This is about operatives aligned to the Israeli security state apparatus.
Those operatives are known to act in and out of officially santioned operations and frequently use sexual blackmail or honeytraps.
Here is a threadreader from journalist Robert Young Pelton about Israeli cybersecurity company Carbyne linking Epstein / Ehud Barak/ Peter Theil / Erik Prince and Black Cube.
posted by adamvasco at 6:24 AM on August 13 [10 favorites]


Shrieking heard from Jeffrey Epstein's jail cell the morning he died
CBS News has learned that the morning of Jeffrey Epstein's death there was shouting and shrieking from his jail cell. Guards attempted to revive him while saying "breathe, Epstein, breathe."
...
CBS News has learned that Epstein's estranged brother Mark was called and he identified Epstein's body. The New York City Medical Examiner's office has performed an autopsy, but the results are still pending.
On the other hand...

Nearby inmate heard nothing when Jeffrey Epstein died, lawyer says
An inmate locked up a few cells away from Jeffrey Epstein heard nothing out of the ordinary the morning of his death, according to the man's lawyer.

"Nobody heard anything," said Bruce Barket, who represents Nicholas Tartaglione, a former upstate New York police officer awaiting trial on murder charges.
Meanwhile...

Wealth of Jeffrey Epstein’s Brother Is Also a Mystery
Asked to discuss his financial interests and how they intersected with his brother’s, Mark Epstein, 65 years old, declined. “I don’t have time to talk about it and I don’t see any purpose in talking about it with anybody,” he told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
Epstein death puts renowned pathologist back in spotlight
He testified for O.J. Simpson’s defense, helped investigate the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., hosted an HBO show and brought his pathology expertise to bear on celebrity deaths and police killings.

Now Dr. Michael Baden is enmeshed in another high-stakes case, as the private pathologist who observed Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy on his lawyers’ behalf.
The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People
Mr. Epstein then meandered into a discussion of other prominent names in technology circles. He said people in Silicon Valley had a reputation for being geeky workaholics, but that was far from the truth: They were hedonistic and regular users of recreational drugs. He said he’d witnessed prominent tech figures taking drugs and arranging for sex (Mr. Epstein stressed that he never drank or used drugs of any kind).
[Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell] seen at Naomi Campbell’s birthday party in 2001
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:39 AM on August 13 [8 favorites]


very much Bulldoze Harvard for the health of the nation but also a lot of international moneymen and politicians, Brazil, Italy, etc

Also includes an odd collection of celebrity contacts: Kevin Spacey (OK, sure...), Courtney Love (?), Minnie Driver (???), and more.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:26 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


I'm largely positive that law enforcement is not looking at this from the perspective of "statutory rape."

Horrifically (not to start a derail about rape law) statutory rape is absolutely more in the state’s interest than adult on adult crime—statutory means that the state has determined the victim is categorically unable to consent to sex acts and therefore if rape happens it can’t be up to the victim to press the charges. They don’t exist as a legal entity capable of saying yes or no, so the law says no in their place. It is theoretically more clear cut than legal adult victims, since an adult victim (capable of bringing their own charges to court) could consent, and the case is therefore about the consent, not whether the act occurred at all.
Should this be expanded? Uh, yeah probably. Should this take into account age of the perpetrator? Yeah, I think so. But if there’s clear evidence of a 15 year old being rape trafficked, the law is clear that her actions or claims about consent are irrelevant. I only hope that this expression of state power via the rule of law is more important than the individual rapists concerned.
posted by zinful at 8:40 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


But the rule of law isn’t looking too healthy in this fucking country, so.

Isn’t this international as well? Not that international rape cases have, like, ever gone well, but can another country attempt to bring charges against some of these shitbags based on the evidence? Do they get access to this evidence if one of their children-citizens was trafficked in this case?
posted by zinful at 8:43 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


About the guard who wasn’t a guard—the Washington Post reported this yesterday with more context:
Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, said the Metropolitan Correctional Center is functioning with less than 70 percent of the needed correctional officers, forcing many to work mandatory overtime and 60- or 70-hour workweeks.

She said one of the individuals assigned to watch Epstein’s unit did not normally work as a correctional officer but, like others in roles such as counselors and teachers, was able to do so. She declined to say which one or specify the person’s regular role.
So, the authorities know who the guard/not-guard was and he or she was a prison employee, just not someone who was supposed to be serving as a correctional officer. Still “holy shit” but not in the sense of “holy shit someone snuck into guard duty” if anyone was wondering that.
posted by sallybrown at 9:25 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]




said the Metropolitan Correctional Center is functioning with less than 70 percent of the needed correctional officers,

I still read this as "overcrowding at 150% capacity."
posted by rhizome at 9:36 AM on August 13 [16 favorites]


What law would have protected it?

I guess I was wondering if it came out because of some sort of public legal discovery or whether it was ninja'd out via some shadowy source to the National Enquirer. I'm assuming Epstein didn't make it available for perusal voluntarily.
posted by Mitheral at 9:48 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


As a journalist at heart (and at earlier on the résumé) it pleases me to see the correction in the Buzzfeed News article linked above. That's how you do it: provide the correct information without republishing the incorrect information. "We previously misspelled his name" instead of "We spelled it THIS WRONG WAY instead of THE CORRECT WAY."
posted by emelenjr at 10:17 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


> News of Epstein’s Death hit 4Chan before it was announced and now authorities are looking into it

holy shit.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:44 AM on August 13 [12 favorites]


> I guess I was wondering if it came out because of some sort of public legal discovery or whether it was ninja'd out via some shadowy source to the National Enquirer. I'm assuming Epstein didn't make it available for perusal voluntarily.

the story according to gawker is that the original person who got possession of it was one of epstein's butlers, and that instead of turning it in to authorities or whatever he tried to sell it to one of the attorneys representing victims of epstein. i guess the redacted version came out as part of the state's obstruction of justice case against the butler?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:47 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Thirty-Two Short Stories About Death in Prison
Americans who believe in their justice system assert that it is obvious that he was murdered, and that jailers could not possibly be so incompetent, cruel, or indifferent as to let such a high-profile prisoner commit suicide.
Here, to help you evaluate that claim, are 32 short stories about in-custody deaths or near-deaths in America.

These stories don’t mention Jeffrey Epstein, but they are about him. Epstein was incarcerated in the United States of America, and this is how the United States of America, the mightiest and richest nation there is or ever has been, treats incarcerated people.
posted by bitteschoen at 2:01 PM on August 13 [11 favorites]


> erattacorrige: Back up above a few different comments were made about the victims, statutory rape, etc. First, no. Some of the victims were as young as 12. ... Second, no, because if you're 15 and being coerced- and coercion is a form of violence- suggesting that these kids "wanted it" and "agreed to it" is woefully misinformed. No. No. No. Not having the power, capacity, or understanding that not wildly fighting back or screaming no while being molested or abused does not count as a "yes" or enthusiastic consent.

This is child sex trafficking, sexual molestation and rape of children. Don't call it anything else, because that normalizes and accepts it, and these people deserve better.
posted by theora55 at 2:21 PM on August 13 [13 favorites]




People get convicted for doing that with rando nobody criminals and they thought it was a good idea to falsify the logs for Epstein, who attempted suicided not more than a few weeks back? Guess they aren't hiring the cream of the crop over at the Bureau of Prisons.
posted by Justinian at 9:59 PM on August 13


so my theory is that every theory about how epstein died is true. he was in his cell just trying to peacefully commit suicide and meanwhile every powerful rich creep in washington d.c., hollywood, silicon valley, and the english royal family had sent goons to the prison to get the guards to look the other way while they murdered him.

basically picture a scenario where the assassination version of three stooges syndrome occurs. a big pile of goons all jostling to get through the cell door at the same time, meanwhile epstein is inside hanging himself with his sheets.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:17 PM on August 13 [17 favorites]




Guards from Epstein unit are now suspected of falsifying log entries

Guards have been slacking off for thousands of years, but it has been a solved problem for well over a century. That the BOP doesn't have an automated, verifiable record of officers' rounds is inexcusable. I hope the video records go back more than a couple of weeks, so we can clarify whether this is a suspiciously-recent thing. I don't expect it is, but it would be nice to know for sure.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:44 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Jeffrey Epstein Death: 2 Guards Slept Through Checks and Falsified Records
The two staff members who were guarding the jail unit where Jeffrey Epstein apparently killed himself fell asleep and failed to check on him for about three hours, then falsified records to cover up their mistake, according to several law enforcement and prison officials with knowledge of the matter.
...
The warden, Lamine N’Diaye, will be transferred to a Bureau of Prisons office in Philadelphia while the F.B.I. and the Justice Department’s inspector general conduct inquiries. The Justice Department said in a statement that it might take additional punitive actions.
...
One of the staff members was a former correctional officer who had taken a different position at the detention center that did not involve guarding detainees. He had volunteered to work again as a correctional officer for the extra overtime pay, a law enforcement official and an employee at the jail said.

The second officer, a woman who was assigned to that wing, had been ordered to work overtime because the jail was short staffed.
Trump aides see incompetence, not conspiracy, in Epstein death
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:42 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


But their boss says it was a conspiracy. They need to go back and look harder.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:43 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


I don't actually care about the sleeping. I care about a) how he got off suicide watch b) where was the mandated cellmate and c) how hard is it to asphyxiate yourself with a sheet. He didn't 'hang' in the usual sense.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:30 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


The fact that the FBI only showed up to search his island several days after his death speaks volumes.
posted by Manic Pixie Hollow at 9:43 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


ABC: Jeffrey Epstein's accusers ask judge to invalidate plea deal, point to 'co-conspirators'
Accusers of the now-deceased Jeffrey Epstein are asking a federal court in Florida to tear up the multimillionaire sex offender's 2007 non-prosecution agreement that not only shielded Epstein from further prosecution, but protected his alleged co-conspirators, who federal authorities have vowed to bring to justice.

In the first court filing since Epstein's death apparently by suicide Saturday at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, two of the financier's accusers urged the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to swiftly invalidate the non-prosecution agreement that granted immunity to Epstein and his alleged recruiters and enablers.

"It would be unfair to the victims if Epstein not only managed to cheat justice through his death but also left behind some kind of legal issue preventing the victims from obtaining the ... remedy to which they are plainly entitled," the document stated.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:51 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]




NYT op-ed by Jennifer Araoz:
I’m filing a civil action against Jeffrey Epstein’s estate and accomplices today, under New York’s Child Victims Act. A key provision of the law goes into effect today and allows survivors to revive claims if the statute of limitations had expired.
...
I used to feel alone, walking into his mansion with the cameras pointing at me, but now I have the power of the law on my side. I will be seen. I will be heard. I will demand justice.
Jeffrey Epstein’s gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell lying low at Massachusetts mansion
The 57-year-old British socialite is in a relationship with tech CEO Scott Borgerson, 43, with whom she is living in the $3 million oceanfront home at the end of a long private road in Manchester-by-the-Sea, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
Also, Epstein's brother used to be the chairman of the board of trustees at Cooper Union, among other associations
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:18 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Last I heard Maxwell was unfindable so that's a good development if true. She needs to be arrested yesterday, though.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:23 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


And Axios reports that the CEO says he isn't dating her and she isn't in his house. So who knows?
posted by mmascolino at 10:26 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


> The 57-year-old British socialite is in a relationship with tech CEO Scott Borgerson, 43

Of course. If we're fortunate enough to expose the full scale of this ring of depravity, I would bet a billion Dogecoins that there are multiple additional tech industry plutocrats involved, either as clients or facilitators. Because any Rand-reading, Soylent-drinking Thought Leader knows that true liberty is being able to do whatever you want with a purchased or rented asset as long as you negotiate a fair contract with the owner.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:33 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


No, this isn't from the Onion: In mock trial, Dershowitz to defend Bible figures from child trafficking charge

I guess he hasn't heard of lying low
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:27 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Also, both of the guards fell asleep at the same time? While guarding the highest profile criminal since OJ?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:36 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


I’m guessing that wasn’t the only night for which records were falsified and the guards got some shut eye....Keeping in mind that these guards/employees acting as guards were underpaid and overworked beyond reason, it says quite a lot that they were comfortable falsifying records that could be easily disproved by checking video.
posted by sallybrown at 11:43 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


The 57-year-old British socialite is in a relationship with tech CEO Scott Borgerson, 43, with whom she is living in the $3 million oceanfront home at the end of a long private road in Manchester-by-the-Sea, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

For the first time ever I find myself cheering the Daily Mail.
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:36 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


This is child sex trafficking, sexual molestation and rape of children. Don't call it anything else, because that normalizes and accepts it, and these people deserve better.

Uh... I wasn't? I thought that was understood this far down in this thread. Fyi I was sexually abused for 5 years as a child and got the predator put in prison completely by myself at age 23, so.
posted by erattacorrige at 1:16 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]



Also, both of the guards fell asleep at the same time?


It'll come out that the night shift guards will have been sleeping on the job for years I bet. There might not be any direct proof that Lamine N’Diaye (the warden) had knew but they wouldn't have been looking to hard either because they didn't want to exasperate their staffing problems.
posted by Mitheral at 2:11 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


It'll come out that the night shift guards will have been sleeping on the job for years I bet

Especially so if it turns out these guards sign up for "extreme overtime."
posted by rhizome at 2:25 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


So, people are really buying into this 'scene from a Three Stooges short' version of events, then? Is there any security cam footage of the wealthy dowager fainting upon discovery of the body?
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:29 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


To clarify, my callout of erattacorrige's comment was intended as QFT - Quoted For Truth, with emphasis added. erattacorrige is entirely correct that labels such as statutory rape do not adequately convey the violence of the crimes against children. I intended to reinforce their comment, pulling it out to draw attention to it.
posted by theora55 at 3:05 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


So, people are really buying into this 'scene from a Three Stooges short' version of events, then?

Honestly, I don't give a shit right now. We have a full-front push to get Epstein a) out of the news; b) out of concern, and that's the bullshit that "derp how did he died" is helping to paper over. He's dead, maybe there are some questions, but any Perry Mason moments that answering those questions would produce would also exist in the evidence that prosecutors have and were working with. I'm under the impression there are a lot of names in those, so let's go down the list and start checking them out. Keep moving!
posted by rhizome at 3:13 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Epstein had a painting of Bill Clinton in a blue dress in his townhouse police accounts say

.....I am willing to believe literally anything st this point.
posted by The Whelk at 4:36 PM on August 14 [14 favorites]


Yeah any discussion of “who killed Epstein” feels like it’s replacing the victim(s) and perps with the wrong people for the wrong reason.

Who killed him? At the top of the chain, rich rapists. Why?. For other rapists. Which rich rapist was it specifically? Is this really what we are asking?

Because while we are focusing on one rich rapist when there are many many others. One, as everyone loves to point out, is a woman who knows everything that needs to be arrested yesterday.

Everyone named in those unsealed documents should be descended upon and turned over.

Oh and if he killed himself who the real cares? It’s angering but the issues above are literally still the same.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 5:33 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]




Autopsy finds broken bones in Jeffrey Epstein’s neck

Welp, that's the end of all the plausible "not murdered to keep him quiet" theories. Good thing we've got Bill Barr on the case!
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:40 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Probably the high vaulted ceilings in his cell, and the tall stool for him to balance on while getting his narrow, tightly woven, bed-sheet noose tied off, so he could kick it free and drop far enough for the fall to snap that bone, right?
posted by bcd at 9:19 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Does the original article mention just the hyoid, or are there other breaks too? A hyoid fracture is possible with a suicide by hanging (by kneeling though? with a bedsheet though?) but any vertebral fractures would absolutely be by violence.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:30 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Without getting into too much detail, while the precise mechanism of death is different than a "hangman" hanging, people can asphyxiate themselves with a bedsheet off the edge of a bed. I have read coroner reports regarding similar cases. Like all detainee suicide, preventable with appropriate supervision.
posted by chiquitita at 9:45 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Dang it. It feels really weird to hope a guy killed himself.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:15 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


To answer Rust Moranis's question, the WaPo article says:
An autopsy found that financier Jeffrey Epstein sustained multiple breaks in his neck bones, according to two people familiar with the findings, deepening the mystery about the circumstances around his death.

Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple. Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, the experts said.
posted by bcd at 11:48 PM on August 14


Jeffrey Epstein's body claimed by unidentified 'associate'

Jeffrey Epstein’s last words to lawyer before his jailhouse death
Jeffrey Epstein was confident he could fight the child sex trafficking charges against him and was in “great spirits” just hours before his jailhouse death on Saturday morning — even telling one of his lawyers, “I’ll see you Sunday,” The Post has learned.
Years after serving jail time, Jeffrey Epstein found a way to meet with Microsoft’s Bill Gates to discuss philanthropy
Microsoft founder Bill Gates spoke more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, the late financier accused of child sex trafficking, to discuss ways to increase philanthropic spending, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Epstein’s discussions with Gates included at least one meeting, which took place in New York in 2013, while Gates was still Microsoft’s chairman, these people said.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:24 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


Jeffrey Epstein's body claimed by unidentified 'associate'

So...I guess they were all done with it forensically

Ten bucks says it's ash by the end of the week
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:25 AM on August 15 [6 favorites]


In light of the newest update, I find it even more interesting that the lawyer for Epstein’s old cellmate (who was present in the cell with Epstein during the first alleged suicide attempt) came out only a day or two after Epstein’s death and said publicly that the old cellmate was on the same hall as Epstein during the second alleged suicide attempt and hadn’t heard anything (which contrasts with a separate leak in which an unnamed person in the unit said he heard screaming).

Now that we know things were lax enough at MCC that guards were sleeping on duty and falsifying reports, were things lax enough that inmates were able to move around inside the unit?
posted by sallybrown at 5:56 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


My husband once worked on a lawsuit about a guy who died in prison (who was also a pedophile, actually). From the investigation and coroner's report, they were not able to tell whether he a) had a heart attack (and then his cellmate and the guards kicked him around after he was dead); b) attempted suicide and had a heart attack in the process of that (and then his cellmate and the guards kicked him around after he was dead); c) was kicked to death by his cellmate; or d) was murdered by guards under the guise of "attempting CPR." (He had a lot of broken ribs, yo.) Literally everyone who was there and testified at the trial said, "I didn't kill him, but he sure had it coming." Jails and prisons are TERRIBLE and people die in suspicious ways ALL THE TIME. It's just that most of them aren't white wealthy dudes with high-profile connections to important politicians and celebrities.

I would be willing to believe he committed suicide and then his cellmate or the sadistic guards decided to get their hits in since he was dead anyway; or that he was killed by his cellmate or the guards because he was a pedophile (and pedophiles get killed in prison A LOT); or that there was an organized hit. These are ALL things that happen in prison, ALL THE TIME. (Although organized hits are usually about preventing drug dealers from testifying about the larger criminal operation; I have a slightly harder time picturing famous politicians having the necessary networks to pull off a jailhouse hit, but it's at least possible. I'm just suspicious.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:08 AM on August 15 [12 favorites]


You also have the wrinkle that his prior cellmate / current unit-mate was a cop accused of killing four people and seems somewhat self-aggrandizing, which would be a good match for some kind of (extremely stupid) “I’m taking justice into my own hands and ending this guy” scenario. Being in the same unit, he would know about the sleeping guards.

In terms of a more high-level conspiracy, I think you have to consider ruling out anyone who would have had the power to derail the SDNY investigation or keep it from happening at all, because that’s a much quieter way to stop the truth from coming to light than arresting and then killing Epstein.
posted by sallybrown at 7:34 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I don't think we know enough about the broken bones to make any conclusion. Death by hanging can be either a broken neck or by strangulation. If, as reported, he was hung by a bedsheet tied to the upper bunk, there's no way it could be a broken neck. It's very difficult to imagine the grim determination it would take to kneel down and self-strangle--especially with a sheet--but it would require a very tight constriction that could easily have broken his hyoid bone.
posted by sjswitzer at 9:41 AM on August 15


The reporting makes it sound like it was the hyoid but not only the hyoid that was broken. Are there any other relatively delicate neck bones like the hyoid or does that just leave vertebrae, and the implication of significant trauma?
posted by jason_steakums at 10:21 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Are there any other relatively delicate neck bones like the hyoid or does that just leave vertebrae, and the implication of significant trauma?

As someone with some grad-school level osteology: not that I know of.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:23 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


They are Nothing, These Girls...They are trash -Vanity Fair

Don't let the stories of these girls be forgotten. Maxwell needs to be arrested. Wexner needs to be investigated.

The following men should be rounded up put on trial.... followed by all the rest

Bill Clinton
Marvin Minsky
Alan Dershowitz
Prince Andrew
Senate Majority Leader George Mitchel
Governor Bill Richardson
Steven Pinker
Glenn Dubin
Donald Trump
posted by Dressed to Kill at 10:45 AM on August 15 [10 favorites]


And that Bill Barr’s dad was the one who hired a two time college drop out with no observable skill at math to a top position at a fancy manhattan private school which somehow caused him to get a job at Bear Sterns. Somehow.
Perhaps in 1973 Donald Barr was distracted with the edits to his sci-fi novel?

Yesterday I thought "the butler died in prison after stealing and trying to sell the sex slaver's secret documents" was as far down the road as we were going to get toward "living in a bad thriller", but life turns out to be full of surprises.
posted by roystgnr at 10:49 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


William Barr graduated Columbia with a Master's in '73, so he could well have been living at home at the time his father hired Epstein.

I hope a reporter asks Trump whether he should recuse himself from the investigation.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:37 PM on August 15


Ghislaine Maxwell spotted at an In-N-Out Burger reading a copy of ‘The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives’

what

I keep thinking I have developed full, final-stage epsteinbrain but then the symptoms progress
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:40 PM on August 15 [29 favorites]


Well we know where she is now.
posted by sio42 at 1:47 PM on August 15


Jeffrey Epstein Spent Time Alone With Young Female Prison Visitor
The day after he was taken off suicide watch, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein spent at least two hours locked up alone with a young woman, in a private room reserved for inmates and their attorneys, according to an attorney who was visiting the prison that day.
American flags lowered to half-staff on Jeffrey Epstein’s private islands
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:06 PM on August 15 [7 favorites]


Burn After Reading was a documentary it seems.

Again, they are either totally convinced they will never ever be caught and will 100% get away with it, or they’re idiots, or both.

Also my most bonkers theory I was willing to entertain , that Epstein’s services where used by a or multiple state level intelligence agencies to keep blackmail on politicians just seems less bonkers by the day.
posted by The Whelk at 2:13 PM on August 15 [14 favorites]


The day after he was taken off suicide watch, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein spent at least two hours locked up alone with a young woman, in a private room reserved for inmates and their attorneys

I wish I could find this earlier article—but there was reporting that during his short stint in prison in FL, he classified a personal assistant as a paralegal or legal assistant to get them counsel visiting privileges.
posted by sallybrown at 2:16 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Also my most bonkers theory I was willing to entertain , that Epstein’s services where used by a or multiple state level intelligence agencies to keep blackmail on politicians just seems less bonkers by the day.

I think Whitney Webb lays out the case very well for this being true. It was an intelligence honeypot operation.
posted by Auden at 4:46 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


The honeypot theory seems really plausible to me, but trying to find out anything about it leads to really ugly stuff that is either weird (and often anti-semitic) conspiracy stuff and often intentionally planted chaff. That makes me reluctant to pursue it further and at the same time to feel that it's probably true.

The fact that the world's leaders seem to all be engaged in a coordinated smash-and-grab seems related somehow.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:11 PM on August 15 [15 favorites]




...ruled a suicide by hanging, according to the New York medical examiner. (BBC)

Hmmm... I'm skeptical. I wonder what the literature says about multiple broken vertabra in a partial hanging from a low bunk bed? Like, if it's ever been seen before. Ever.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:22 PM on August 16


Wait, so the official autopsy's conclusion is that the bones in Epstein's neck were all broken because he knelt with a lot of force? How would that even work? What sort of lower body strength would be required to snap more than one of your own vertebrae by kneeling from a normal standing height? I'm almost ascending to a plane of cynicism where I think that someone is trying to make it seem like a shoddily covered-up conspiracy for some other purpose.
posted by Copronymus at 2:47 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


There either bad at their jobs or rubbing it in our face
posted by The Whelk at 2:53 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Wait, so the official autopsy's conclusion is that the bones in Epstein's neck were all broken because he knelt with a lot of force? How would that even work?

Freddie Gray Syndrome
posted by rhizome at 3:06 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


A detailed thread with links from Oliver Darcy of CNN about how suicides can lead to broken neck bones.

I know less than nothing about medical stuff, so *shrug hands emoji*
posted by sallybrown at 3:09 PM on August 16


Freddie Gray's death was ruled a homicide. But no one in contact with him that day homicide-ed him. Apparently.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:10 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


The whole discussion in Darcy's thread very specifically revolves around the question: "hanging vs. strangulation". The medical experts dismiss strangulation. My questions:
- how, exactly, would the physics of the hanging scenario generate enough energy to break those bones?
- is there maybe another activity besides "strangulation" that could be used to break a neck? Talk more about those.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:19 PM on August 16


Epstein’s Caribbean islands drawing tourists after his death
Among the attractions are two huge white-and-yellow cockatiel statues that stand guard at the top of a set of stairs near the dock, as well as a life-size Holstein-Friesian cow statue that locals say was moved to a different spot weekly and sometimes even daily while Epstein lived there.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:35 PM on August 16


Here's the thing: Epstein wasn't primarily important to any properly functioning criminal justice system as a suspect. His importance, to that system, was as a witness. Except he clearly wasn't being treated that way.

I was just thinking this thought and wanted to write something about it but of course someone already did (and I think you did a good job articulating it). That's why articles contexualizing his death in terms of "prison suicides are sadly common" are just... weird. And it's why in a way the difference between a murder and a suicide here is more a difference of degree than kind - either way the institutions charged with protecting the witness failed, and either way that was the path of least resistance.

I recall seeing the phrase "conspiracy without conspirators" before - I can't find it right now but it's another idea that came to mind. There are a lot of connections here that make it very attractive to try to build complex narratives. The thing is, he was apparently so well connected that an overwhelming number of people "come into it" and, well, I don't think they all did it. One could absolutely lose one's mind trying to figure out who did it, and I don't meant to imply that it ought to be automatically ruled out that somebody did. But one thing that is for sure is that it was easier for a lot of people - and powerful people - not to have him around, and as a result the probability that he wasn't going to be around for long was pretty significant.
posted by atoxyl at 9:01 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Medical examiner rules Epstein death a suicide by hanging
Epstein's lawyers said they were "not satisfied" with Sampson's conclusions and that they would conduct their own investigation, including seeking to obtain any video of the area around Epstein's cell from the time leading to his death.
Some jail staffers not cooperating with DOJ investigation into Epstein suicide, source says
Personnel at the New York City prison where accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide last week have not been initially cooperative with investigators from the Department of Justice, a federal source told Fox News Friday.
...
Attorney General William Barr sent two senior DOJ officials to personally visit the Metropolitan Correctional Center and speak with staff from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in order to gather information on Epstein's death after Barr said officials uncovered "serious irregularities" at the jail, a senior DOJ official told Fox News. The officials have been on site since Thursday and the FBI and the Justice Department's inspector general are investigating conditions at the MCC.

BOP officials from various regional offices have also been sent to the Manhattan facility to lend their expertise and insight. In addition, a separate BOP "After Action Team" went to MCC earlier this week in an effort to examine what happened the night Epstein died. The use of the "After Action Team" is part of BOP protocol whenever a "significant event takes place at a prison.
Two more women sue Jeffrey Epstein’s estate over alleged sexual assault
The women were both working as hostesses at the now-shuttered Coffee Shop in Union Square when they were recruited by a woman in June 2004. They are not identified in the complaint filed late Thursday in Manhattan federal court.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:59 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Guardian
Jean-Luc Brunel: three former models say they were sexually assaulted by Jeffrey Epstein friend
Special investigation: As attention turns to associates of the deceased billionaire sex offender, the French model scout is back in the headlines
posted by adamvasco at 3:14 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]






Wow, that Daily Mail story on Prince Andrew is 60% libel disclaimers.
posted by benzenedream at 7:26 AM on August 18


And 20% attempts to villianize activities that are completely normal anywhere it gets cold.
posted by Mitheral at 9:15 AM on August 18


Can we please note sources if we’re going to mix tabloids and more reliable sites? Vanity Fair is not the same as Daily Mail or NY Daily News.

There’s enough wackery going on without accidentally going to Daily Mail.
posted by sio42 at 12:52 PM on August 18 [7 favorites]


Regardless of what you think of it, the Daily Mail did break the story of a prominent Royal Family member lurking in Epstein's Manhattan mansion after his conviction, which is a newsworthy development (as attested by NPR, the Daily Beast, etc.). This entire scandal does involve a lot of tawdry gossip, and that is the tabloids' forte, so I don't think there's reason to exclude them a priori. For instance, the NYPost has been doing some of the best reporting throughout this entire ordeal. Anyways...

Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:05 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I also think the UK tabloids starting to cover the story is really notable. They've been silent on it for YEARS, and the Queen has made PR moves in the past to protect Andrew whenever it has bubbled up. As the Epstein story broke and grew, the UK tabloid press remained oddly silent and focused its attention on being racist about Meghan Markle. Now we have the big Daily Mail scoop (Lainey Gossip analysis of the scoop) and the Sun saying in print that Andrew "is starting to shit himself" with fear over the Epstein case (Lainey Gossip analysis again).

It's pretty notable that they're turning away from bagging on every single thing the Duchess of Sussex does to actually attacking Prince Andrew's friendship with Epstein and possible role in sexual abuse of girls despite the Royal Family's clear desire that it not be covered and despite the tabloids' clear preference for propping up a racist and patriarchal social order as the proper and appropriate one. It's a bad, bad sign for Prince Andrew (and a good one for the rest of us) that the tabloids are becoming more interested in talking about his POSSIBLE FELONIES than about how Meghan Markle has celebrity friends and is therefore too American and tacky. Because boy has their priority been taking swings at the black American newcomer and running Andrew's PR for him -- Andrew's been all over the tabloids this year with glowing stories about what a great dad he was to Beatrice and Eugenie and how NORMAL and well-adjusted they are compared to William and Harry and what a happy family life they all have and how he and Fergie have built a successful post-marriage life and suddenly all those stories are all swamped off the front page in favor of Andrew using puppets to molest little girls.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:24 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Attorney General Ousts Acting Head of Bureau of Prisons amid Fallout from Jeffrey Epstein’s Death (WaPo Breaking, which means it's a paragraph now but will likely become longer over the next few hours)
Epstein’s death has already led to a shake-up at the federal detention center where he was being held. The warden of the Metropolitan Correctional Center was reassigned, and the two guards who were supposed to be checking on his cell were placed on leave. Union officials have said such a death was inevitable (emphasis mine) because of the short staffing and forced overtime that guards are working.
posted by box at 10:25 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


And more detail has arrive: Attorney General Barr is replacing the current acting head of the BoP, Hugh J. Hurwitz (appointed as acting director by AG Jeff Sessions), with Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who was the director of BoP from 1992 to 2003. Barr also appointed a deputy, a position that is currently vacant. Hurwitz will return to his former job as assistant director of reentry programs.

Acting Director, vacant deputy chair, unqualified warden, and untrained non-guards literally falling asleep on the job.

The best people.
posted by box at 10:52 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


It's pretty notable that they're turning away from bagging on every single thing the Duchess of Sussex does to actually attacking Prince Andrew's friendship with Epstein

Well it’s notable yes that they are finally focusing on his ties to Epstein but not sure they’re attacking so much as they could not ignore that any longer! And it they still have plenty of energy to go after Meghan for causing murder and drought (by eating avocados!) and probably directly causing the glaciers to melt (by taking 4 JETS in 11 DAYS!!). Just saying, don’t get your hopes up.
posted by bitteschoen at 12:17 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Epstein has been completely absent from the covers of the American Tabloids as well (National Enquirer was to be expected of course), which has been pretty odd since the scandal seems tailor made for them, and you can spin it whatever way you want politically.
posted by benzenedream at 12:25 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Another Miami Herald Bombshell Spotlights Epstein’s Extreme Privileges in Florida Lockup [2008-2009] (Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones)

Miami Herald article (Sarah Blaskey and Nicholas Nehamas, Miami Herald)
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:43 PM on August 19


Early Epstein accuser: Police could have stopped him in 1997 (AP)
“If they would have taken me more seriously than they did, it could have helped all these girls,” said Arden, an actress and model. “It could have been stopped.”

...Arden went to police the next day, and she says she got an off-putting reception. A male detective noted that she had willingly gone to Epstein’s room — though she emphasized the purpose was business, she said. She remembered the detective suggesting she think about whether she really wanted to file a report.

She left, crying on the phone to a friend that she wished she could talk to a female police officer.
“I felt like I was being blamed,” she said.
posted by bitteschoen at 1:48 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


NYPost: Jeffrey Epstein Signed Will Just Two Days Before Suicide

The timing is suspicious, whether he thought he was going to be whacked or planning suicide. Incidentally, his pervy but unappraised art collection is the one line item that has yet to list a declared value.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:14 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I realize inmates can only buy what they have funds for but is it really policy to limit by count what prisoners can buy? The panties thing sure but who cares if the guy buys a new tube of toothpaste every week? Or 800 cups of coffee (which really? that's like 2 a day give or take).

And the denigration of his reading material (which was "Face Exercises That Prevent Premature Aging." not 101 steps to dating teenagers or something).

Canadian prisoners are allowed, with restrictions, tvs, stereos, crafting material, game consoles and hilariously the only removable writable media is 20 floppy disks. Considering they aren't made anymore I think the regs need to be updated.
posted by Mitheral at 4:52 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Looks like the In-n-Out photo was fabricated in order to throw reporters off of Maxwell's trail in Massachusetts:

Ghislaine Maxwell STAGED In-N-Out photo in Los Angeles with her close friend and attorney
Behind Maxwell can be seen a bus shelter displaying an ad for the movie 'Good Boys' which opened in the U.S. this past Friday.

There's only one problem: That particular bus shelter has displayed a poster advertising the Providence St Joseph's Medical Centre since July 28 - and continues to do so, according to Outfront Media spokeswoman Carly Zipp.

'We think it was Photoshopped,' says Zipp, in New York. 'We do not have any records of this ['Good Boys' poster] being posted there.'
Jeffrey Epstein was sent three 12-year-old French girls as ‘birthday gift’
Virginia Giuffre — who has claimed Epstein and his gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell coerced her into being a “sex slave” when she was 15 — said in court papers that the girls who were flown in were molested by the financier and returned to France the following day.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:51 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]




New round of civil lawsuits filed today...

Three more women sue Epstein's estate over alleged abuse
The lawsuits, filed in Manhattan federal court, bring to at least five the total number of civil cases against Epstein’s estate since his apparent suicide in jail on Aug. 10.

Two of the women, “Katlyn Doe” and “Lisa Doe,” met Epstein when they were 17, and the third, “Priscilla Doe,” when she was 20, according to the lawsuits. All said Epstein used a “vast enterprise” of associates to recruit them, subject them to unwanted sex acts and keep them under his control.
...
The lawsuit by Katlyn alleges that in 2013, Epstein forced her to marry one of his associates who needed the arrangement to become a legal resident of the United States.
Epstein Victim Says He Forced Her to Marry Female Recruiter
A second plaintiff, known as “Priscilla Doe” in the brief, says she was just 20 when she was introduced to Epstein through Ghislaine Maxwell, now at the center of the next phase of the investigation into sexual impropriety. Priscilla alleges that Maxwell acted as a sort of sexual instructor, teaching her the “proper way” to pleasure Epstein the way he liked it. Priscilla also alleges that Maxwell personally taught her the “proper way to give a blow job." She claims that the duo took her passport when she visited him at his U.S. Virgin Islands estate, often referred to as Pedophile Island.

Priscilla also says she met movers and shakers, including the Sultan of Dubai. But her duties were not just sexual; she says she was also made to do domestic chores, including serving hors d’oeuvres at a private party Epstein held with director Woody Allen, who is not implicated in this case.
Ghislaine Maxwell taught Jeffrey Epstein victim ‘proper way’ to perform oral sex: suit
On the same trip, Priscilla — who was a 20-year-old dancer when she was “recruited” as one of Epstein’s personal masseuses in 2006 — was forced into having sex with another woman, identified as “Associate 2,” during which she was choked by Epstein, the suit said.

The new court papers provide more details of the serial pervert’s disturbing behavior, including how he’d “be on the verge of ejaculating and would stop in order to make a phone call, at times saying that nearing sexual climax evoked certain important thoughts in Jeffrey Epstein’s mind.”

“Jeffrey Epstein would then take or initiate up to four business calls during any particular sexual massage,” Priscilla alleged.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:47 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Not that I'm surprised, but yeah, Epstein and the doj investigation are totally out of the news cycle. Fuckin rich people, ya know.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:50 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Yeah, another reason to turn to tabloids is that the "respectable" papers have stopped covering it. Nothing on Epstein today from the NYT, despite (or because of?) all the new lawsuits. Meanwhile, the NYPost has:

Identity of woman filmed with Prince Andrew at Jeffrey Epstein’s house revealed
The woman filmed with Prince Andrew at Jeffrey Epstein’s New York home has been identified as the socialite daughter of a former prime minister of Australia, [Katherine Keating], according to reports.
...
Keating even interviewed Maxwell for the Huffington Post about her work for a now-defunct environmental nonprofit trying to save the oceans.
Jail guards threatening former Epstein cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione: lawyer
“The clear message Mr. Tartaglione has received is that if he conveys information about the facility or about [Epstein’s] recent suicide, there will be a price to pay,” Barket’s letter reads. “Whether or not the investigators into the suicide chose to interview Mr. Tartaglione about the attempted suicide to which he was witness or about how the facility is run and the conditions under which the inmates are forced to live, the correction officers know he has information potentially very damaging to the very people now charged with guarding him or their coworkers.”
In other news...

Amid Epstein fallout, MIT’s Center for Civic Media director resigns (for donations that were previously denied)
MIT Center for Civic Media director Ethan Zuckerman today resigned his position in protest due to alleged business relationships between the MIT Media Lab, accused billionaire sex trafficker Jeff Epstein, and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito, a relationship that included trips Ito took to Epstein properties.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:23 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


New York magazine on the “cesspool of elites” that protected and partied with Epstein.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:31 PM on August 21


I wonder how much crossover there is between the cesspool of elites and basket of deplorables.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:50 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


At least eight jail officials knew Jeffrey Epstein was not to be left alone in cell
At least eight Bureau of Prisons staffers knew that strict instructions had been given not to leave multimillionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein alone in his cell, yet the order was apparently ignored in the 24 hours leading up to his death, according to people familiar with the matter.

The fact that so many prison officials were aware of the directive — not just low-level correctional officers, but supervisors and managers — has alarmed investigators assessing what so far appears to be a stunning failure to follow instructions, these people said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing investigations. They declined to identify the eight.
Barr says he has seen 'nothing' to undercut Epstein autopsy findings
Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that he has seen no evidence to contradict the determination from New York City’s chief medical examiner that the recent death of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was a suicide.
...
The attorney general told reporters Wednesday that the investigations are making progress but were hindered because “a number of witnesses were not cooperative.”
One of the reasons the NYT may be somewhat hesitant in reporting Epstein material: one of the people implicated in the scandal -- Joi Ito -- is on the board of the NYT.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:00 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


"The memoir also includes a detailed account of a foot massage she gave to "The Simpson's" producer Matt Groening (page 52). Groening was a pleasure to meet by Giuffre's account, aside from his grotesque feet.

"I never turned down a client but when I saw the shape of his feet, I nearly threw up at the thought of having to touch them. He had yellow crusty toenails that even someone with a chainsaw would've had trouble cutting through and then there was the fluffy balls of leftover pieces of sock wedged between the crevices of his sweaty toes..." she wrote. "
posted by Auden at 6:16 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Jeffrey Epstein's will set up trust fund to shield $577m fortune days before death

It has Fraudulent Conveyance written all over it, but proving that will take a while.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:35 AM on August 22 [7 favorites]




Big story about ABC killing a story because of Dershowitz, a NYT reporter (Landon Thomas Jr.) essentially being paid off by Epstein with a $30,000 donation to an institution of his choice, and other more grisly things:

A Dead Cat, A Lawyer's Call And A 5-Figure Donation: How Media Fell Short On Epstein
For the first time, in comments to NPR, Maria and Annie Farmer are publicly confirming they gave interviews to Ward. They say they both spoke about their abuse on the record, by name, back in 2002. Their mother Janice Farmer tells NPR she did too. And say they were crestfallen Vanity Fair didn't report their allegations.
...
Soon after publication, Connolly says, Carter called to share an ominous development: a bullet placed right outside his front door at his Manhattan home.
...
Connolly says both Carter and he considered the bullet a clear warning from Epstein.
...
As Connolly pursued interviews with women who had worked for Epstein, he says, Carter called him once more. The editor had found another intrusion, this time in the front yard of his Connecticut home: the severed head of a dead cat.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:47 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


In Noisy Pink Bubbles's NPR link, there's a photo captioned, "Ghislaine Maxwell and a guest at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar party hosted by Graydon Carter in West Hollywood, Calif."

The guest's back is to the camera, but it looks a lot like Harvey Weinstein. Last month, someone on Twitter turned up this 2007 picture of Maxwell hugging Carter, with Weinstein in the background, taken a few years after Carter removed the Farmer allegations from Vicky Ward's 2003 Epstein profile. (Threadreader link; scroll down to see more event pics of Maxwell over the years, alongside headliners like Elon Musk, Charlie Rose, Prince Andrew, Rupert Murdoch, & Donald Trump.) Also from the NPR piece:
Ward posted an essay about Epstein and his circle. In that 2011 essay, she referred glancingly to Epstein's "sexual peccadilloes."

And Ward wrote about Maxwell in glowing terms as "always the most interesting, the most vivacious, the most unusual person in any room. I've spent hours talking to her about the Third World at a bar until two a.m. She is as passionate as she is knowledgeable. She is curious."

Ward concluded: "In this city, money makes up for all sorts of blemishes."
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:34 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


> Jeffrey Epstein's will set up trust fund to shield $577m fortune days before death

I feel like this article is a little panicky. Trusts aren't some magical things that instantly spring into existence and suddenly trump everything. They can be used to shield assets from claims but how well they do that depends on how they are written, the jurisdiction under which they operate, and the discretion of authority provided to the trustee. However, they can only shield assets which have been transferred into them and they could still be vulnerable to fraudulent transfer claims as pointed out by Capt. Renault.

Epstein could have executed a living trust and transferred assets into it while he was alive but to my knowledge a testamentary trust can only be funded through the court process of probating the will that creates it. The probate is still subject to the same requirements of administration as any other estate, including providing proper notice to potential creditors and dealing with outstanding claims (and litigation) before closing and distributing. The only real difference is that the residuary beneficiary receiving distribution at the end is the trust rather than the decedent's heirs, or their devisees under a will.

The administration could possibly be gamed if the court and no one else is paying attention but there are mechanisms to re-open estates that are improperly managed and to hold estate administrators accountable. And even if all current claims are resolved and there is something left to distribute to the trust after all other administrative tasks are completed (at least federal estate tax returns will be required with an estate this size), it will all take some time to sort out so this is likely only to foreclose potential claims that might arise in the far future, if any, and even then it's probably not guaranteed.
posted by SpaceBass at 6:23 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]






The Guardian’s Marina Hyde, all gloves off:
... if we’re meant to believe that Prince Andrew is appalled by ALL of the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein – both the ones alleged and the ones he served actual jail time for – then allow me to treat this statement with all the dignity it deserves. To wit: BULL. SHIT. Bullshit Prince Andrew didn’t know what sort of guy his friend was when he was snapped walking with the Tier 1 sex offender, after he got out of jail, in a photo the New York Post headlined “PRINCE & PERV”. Bullshit he didn’t know why his close friend WENT TO PRISON FOR A YEAR, but kept hanging out with him anyway. Bullshit if, as Brockman recounts, he lay on his back in that guy’s house, with a Russian attending to his feet, talking over her head to men of the world about the nocturnal licence afforded to minor European royals, and he didn’t know roughly what he was swimming in. Bullshit. I get we have to pay for Andrew’s lifetime of jollies; but we don’t have to have our intelligence insulted by him.

...The plain fact is that Andrew continued to be friends with Epstein even after he pleaded guilty to procuring an underage girl for prostitution. I guess it was the old she-said, he-said thing. Or as the then-Palm Beach police chief put it: “This was 50-something ‘shes’ and one ‘he’ – and the shes all basically told the same story.” Obviously, Epstein got away lightly with his grotesque plea deal, because 50-something:1 isn’t the ratio you need. Even last year, they still needed 60 accusers to stop Bill Cosby. Donald Trump’s 17:1 she-he ratio is nowhere near enough to keep him from the highest office on the planet.
posted by bitteschoen at 9:53 AM on August 23 [15 favorites]


France’s government wants prosecutors to open an investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s links to France following his death in a Manhattan jail cell.

NYT: Paris Prosecutor Opens Investigation in Jeffrey Epstein Scandal
Prosecutors in France said on Friday that they had opened a preliminary investigation into the scandal surrounding the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein in connection with possible offenses such as rape, the sexual assault of minors and criminal conspiracy.

Rémy Heitz, the Paris prosecutor, announced the investigation after “exchanges” with the United States authorities, he said.

Mr. Heitz did not reveal whether his office had received any specific accusations against Mr. Epstein, but said in a statement that the investigation would aim to “uncover potential offenses” committed against any French citizens in France and abroad.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:19 AM on August 23


From Mother Jones, an interview by Leland Nally with long-time Epstein pal Stuart Pivar, "Jeffrey Epstein, My Very, Very Sick Pal". Spoiler alert: Pivar does not come off great in the interview. Also, it comes up in the interview, but for more context, Pivar had previously sued PZ Meyers (of the blog, Pharyngula blog) for essentially calling him a charlatan.
posted by mhum at 12:29 PM on August 23 [5 favorites]


Pivar sounds like he has some cognitive decline going on. Not sure I would believe much of anything he has to say.
posted by suelac at 1:26 PM on August 23


Jesus, pivar is a yuuge pedophile apologist. He lost me after: " If Jeffrey Epstein was found guilty of fooling around with one 16-year-old trollop, nobody would pay any attention. The trouble is, what he did was quantitative and not qualitative."

He gets worse from there. Really a well done, probing interview. You can tell pivar 'protests too much' about knowing who went to the island.

And suelac is correct. He repeats himself and utters some mishmash throughout.
posted by j_curiouser at 1:53 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


Epstein being taken off suicide watch has been bugging me. I just put two separate articles together and noticed something odd.
NBC
The decision [to take Epstein off suicide watch, ed.] would normally have to have been authorized by the jail’s suicide prevention program coordinator, who is ordinarily the institution’s chief psychologist, and approved by the warden.
//----------------------
Today's DOJ announcement news:
NPR
The Justice Department acknowledges that a psychologist...had approved his removal from a suicide watch list prior to his death.

"Mr. Epstein was later removed from suicide watch after being evaluated by a doctoral-level psychologist..." -AAG Stephen Boyd, today.
//----------------------
So, either 'a psychologist' or 'a doctoral-level psychologist' took him off suicide watch. (You'd think they'd say PsyD if he actually had one?).

MCC didn't follow the policy of getting approval from either the Chief Psychologist or the Warden. Curious.

Maybe I'm tinfoil-hatting this a bit. Shrugs.
posted by j_curiouser at 11:49 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I agree, j_curiouser, "doctoral-level psychologist" is a suspicious choice of words.

Even the NYT is starting to express doubts:

Barr Seized on Epstein Case as Doubts Mounted About Justice Dept.
Even Mr. Barr had chance ties to Mr. Epstein: His old law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, had worked with Mr. Epstein on the Miami deal, and decades earlier, Mr. Barr’s father had hired Mr. Epstein to teach at Dalton, the elite private school in Manhattan.
...
Mr. Barr unfairly painted the jail employees as uncooperative, said Eric Young, the president of the union that represents federal prison workers, adding that the department has refused to grant immunity to workers involved in the Epstein inquiry, which he said was typical in similar federal investigations.

But even as Mr. Barr closes in on a definitive account of the failings that led to Mr. Epstein’s suicide, questions remain. The Bureau of Prisons has not yet said whether security cameras in the cell block showed anyone entering and leaving Mr. Epstein’s cell in the hours before he died. And it is still not clear why the prison broke promises to regularly check on Mr. Epstein and keep him with a cellmate.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:11 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


God, so much of this reeks to high heaven but the extremely fast burial and basically no funeral is much more uh flagrant then I was expected? Even given the fact that’s basically impossible to hang yourself with those paper thin prison sheets. Sheesh.
posted by The Whelk at 5:14 AM on August 24 [3 favorites]


Prepare for another collective eyeroll, Prince Andrew issued a statement today saying absolutely nothing new or notable except the same old "I knew nothing": Prince Andrew denies seeing any suspicious Epstein behaviour
posted by bitteschoen at 6:53 AM on August 24


It’s a good sign for accountability (I mean, within the parameters of the minute amount of accountability the British Royal Family has ever faced...) that they are scrambling so hard to try and patch over this story and still failing. Their denials are not sticking and the public isn’t getting distracted by the Cambridge vs. Sussex feud the British press is trying to pump up.
posted by sallybrown at 8:43 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Apologies/warning for Daily Mail link but I’m not seeing it elsewhere: Jeffrey Epstein 'madam' Ghislaine Maxwell 'made secret visits to Buckingham Palace to see Prince Andrew', claims ex- police officer as royal faces growing questions over relationship with paedophile:
Paul Page, who served in the Royal Protection Command from 1998 until 2004, alleged that Maxwell and several other women made trips to the palace to meet with the Duke of York.

He said that the female guests wouldn't sign the Palace's gate book and royal protection officers would even drive them home, or face an angry Andrew who'd become 'abusive' if challenged. . . .

Ex-Met officer Page made the allegations against the Duke of York during a 2009 trial where he was accused of £3million investment fraud.

Page's statement was never disclosed to the jury but have now been revealed for the first time.
posted by sallybrown at 8:51 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


I have a lot or reasons why I hung out with Jeffrey Epstein for a decade, none of which has to do with his thrice-daily appetite for child rape and being a procurer of victims for other child rapists. He had a scintillating intellect!
posted by benzenedream at 12:17 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I only ever saw him in the 37 minutes a day he wasn't fucking teenagers, trying to find more teenagers to fuck, or telling his friends he had teenagers available for them to fuck. I'm as shocked as you are.
posted by rhizome at 12:22 PM on August 24 [5 favorites]


And he was just so brilliant at mansplaining pop evolutionary psychology, how could I turn down his company?!
posted by sallybrown at 12:27 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


Part 4 of Whitney Webb's series is now out:

From “Spook Air” to the “Lolita Express”: The Genesis and Evolution of the Jeffrey Epstein-Bill Clinton Relationship

"British journalist Nigel Rosser reported in January 2001 in the Evening Standard that Epstein had claimed that he was also working for the CIA during this same time period.

Since Epstein’s arrest, records of Rosser’s article have been scrubbed from British newspaper archives, including the Evening Standard’s own. However, MintPress independently confirmed with Bob Fitrakis, whom Rosser had interviewed for the article in question, that the article did allege that Epstein used to claim he worked for the CIA. In addition, other reports from the time period cited excerpts of Rosser’s article, including the reference to Epstein’s past claims of involvement with the CIA."
posted by Auden at 1:58 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


God, so much of this reeks to high heaven but the extremely fast burial and basically no funeral is much more uh flagrant then I was expected?

What would you have expected? Serious question. Keeping dead bodies hanging around seems weird to me. This may be one of those cultural things, I guess.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:38 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Re: body

Not enough time to sue for an independent examination.
posted by j_curiouser at 5:12 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Ok so this is a wacky twitter thread...

“In 1997 NY Post reporter Larry Celona is hired by Stanley Kubrick as a consultant on Eyes Wide Shut and tasked with writing two fake articles for the film. One headlined 'LUCKY TO BE ALIVE.' The other: a cover-up of the murder of a sex slave, falsely reporting it as a suicide.” ...
posted by Auden at 11:53 PM on August 24


That thread goes into the “Kubrick was killed” side of theorizing a little too much for liking (not that I don’t think it’s possible I just ..I need to have limit to keep from going full Epstein brain? People can just die without it being part of the many wheeled plot you know?) But it does mention a minor news-story I thought would get more play in the media but just vanished from the cycle :

“On August 16th, the day after Ghislaine's photos 'leaked' placing her in LA — there was a ~4 hour nationwide US Customs computer outage that effected all major airports. This applied to all international travel, forcing TSA employees to manually check traveler's passports and ID.

Also, someone reminded me that Mike Cernovitch, gorilla mentality spokesman, noxious right wing troll, violent ideologue, was one of the first and most vocal Pizzagate people and he has worked closely with Alan Dershowitz in the past.

Which, again, if not proof but one of those “I’m standing in front of a void not sure if it’s time to just jump all in.” Moments.

Anyway, some of the Royal gossip coming from channels (My husband, bless him, follows the royals like it’s his favorite soap opera, which is a healthier relationship then most I guess.) has been pretty nutty. Apparently another planned big wedding of Andrew’s daughter (for the American audiences, since they love that stuff and pay the most for Royal kitsch) has been scaled way the hell back in order to do damage control.
posted by The Whelk at 1:37 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Anyway! I was talking to some people who were on one of the boards Mark Epstien was on (New York society! Everyone is twodegrees away from a mass rapist I love it) and there has been a lot of “wait, what” in retrospect moments like how he always had a different, suspiciously young girl on his arm for parties and events and how much of low profile he kept ...a lot of people thought he was just modest and came from family money and now they are doing restorative speculations.

The other impression I got was a lot of big ass red flags didn’t occur to them until *now* cause we let hedge fund people get away with everything.
posted by The Whelk at 1:45 AM on August 25 [4 favorites]




Since Epstein’s arrest, records of Rosser’s article have been scrubbed from British newspaper archives, including the Evening Standard’s own.

This might be a derail but wtf? This is like changing reality.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:48 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


January 25, 2001 - Imagine Columbus Alive's surprise last week when Nigel Rosser, a British journalist and reported confidant of the royal family, contacted us to inquire about Prince Andrew's central Ohio connection. Rosser had read two award-winning Alive stories--"The Shapiro Murder File" and "Spook Air"--and wanted to chat about our own Leslie Wexner and his top aide, the mysterious Jeffrey E. Epstein.
posted by adamvasco at 7:07 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


That sent up red flags for me, LizBoBiz. Not so much that I think it is impossible but that if that is true that _that's the story_, not a fairly boring ass detail about Epstein claiming he worked for the CIA. A lot of people claim they work(ed) for the CIA. Occasionally it's even true, but even then it's usually pretty fucking boring.

Any reporter worth their scratch would immediately have gone after the real story: how many repositories of the Telegraph are there? Exactly when did this piece disappear? They claim "after his arrest" but how do they know, since they never seem to have seen the piece for themselves. Looking around British microfilm libraries, I don't see microfilm for the Telegraph after 2000, so was it stopped then or just dropped from most repositories? Skipping through the story, I don't see any comment from Rosser, or even a "did not respond to queries", just a claim from someone that they were totally interviewed for this article. There's a quote from the supposed article; who or what provided that? And then you'd start asking questions of every single repository, and start looking for other stories that might have gone missing.

So either it's really crappy reporting, or the story about the story is made up.
posted by tavella at 3:51 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]




The Sisters Who First Tried to Take Down Jeffrey Epstein (NYT)– Nine years before any police investigation, Maria and Annie Farmer reported the troubling behavior of Jeffrey Epstein and his companion, Ghislaine Maxwell. No one would act.
posted by bitteschoen at 6:09 AM on August 26 [6 favorites]


I just listened to today's episode of The Daily, the NYT podcast. (It's broadcast on my local NPR station.) Hearing Maria and Annie Farmer interviewed about the Epstein / Maxwell abuse is horrifying. Epstein is gone, but I hope that Maxwell (and others) will face justice.
posted by Surely This at 5:02 PM on August 26 [1 favorite]




Epstein also was supposed to have a roommate, following a July 23 incident in which he was found on the floor of his cell with marks on his neck. Authorities suspected he had attempted suicide; Epstein said he believed he had been attacked.

What the heck does "said he believed he had been attacked" mean? And even weeks later, it's usually referred to "marks on his neck," with no details about what that means or why this description is being left so ambiguous. Does "said he believed" imply that Epstein is confused about what happened, or is this implying that although he said it was an attack, authorities nevertheless believe it was actually a suicide attempt?

The pathologist’s autopsy found Epstein suffered fractures in his neck bones, according to two people familiar with the findings. Among the breaks in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple. Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject. But they are typical in victims of homicide by strangulation, experts told The Post. Experts also caution that such a break must be viewed in the context of the findings of a full autopsy to draw a conclusion about a cause of death.

What the heck does "among" mean here? So far we have no full autopsy report, no "context," just a flat declaration by a medical examiner with no explanations, plus a bunch of anonymous rumors reported in the major national newspapers. And the claims that other bones may have been broken too are now reduced to a phrase that sounds deliberately obfuscatory, "among" (also used in this previous WaPo article), leaving it ambiguous whether other bones were broken too, but implying that, since a hyroid can be broken in suicide (only when hanging from a height? unclear...), therefore this bone "among" the others plus his age implies suicide.

I don't claim that it wasn't suicide, I'm just complaining that this is bizarrely oblique and confusing language by what is supposed to be a major investigative newspaper.
posted by chortly at 7:27 PM on August 26 [7 favorites]


Re, rosser evening standard january 22 2001 story about Andrew, Epstein and Maxwell, I can find plenty of references to the article, including some that were published in the same time frame, but I can find no copy or archive of the article itself. Weird.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:01 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


“We'll have more to report on this today. But right now, there are more than a dozen survivors of Jeffrey Epstein's abuse in a Manhattan courtroom. One by one, they're walking up to a microphone and telling their stories, and it is a moment unlike any I have ever seen.“ @AliWatkins
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]






Let's add Joi Ito to the list of folks that should be HEAVILY investigated. (via DailyBeast)
posted by Dressed to Kill at 5:37 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]




Here's the court transcript. The statement of Epstein's attorney at the beginning is worth reading. One highlight:
The 800-pound gorilla, for us, of course, are the video surveillance tapes. Obviously we assume there is a tape that leads directly to the door where Jeffrey Epstein was housed. If that tape reports for 12 hours before his death that no one went in and out of that room, then the suggestion that there was something other than a suicide seems preposterous.

But there is no such evidence that has surfaced to date. Just the opposite. We have heard, and we actually read in the press, that the tapes were either corrupted or not functioning. Talk about a yikes.
"Yikes" being a technical legal term.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:13 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Prince Andrew’s friends have been spreading claims that the photo of him and Giuffre was doctored or is not really of him - the Daily Mail painstakingly shows it is him and also says: “The reflection of the flash in the window behind her helped obscure who took the photo but the Daily Mail can reveal that it was Jeffrey Epstein.”
posted by sallybrown at 4:28 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]






The Daily Mail link showing the "depraved decor" in Epstein's home is NSFW and possibly lunch.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:40 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Tesla/Epstein
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 PM on August 29






Interesting how we're seeing the real-live turn towards blaming all the women closest to Epstein instead of the BUYERS OF TRAFFICKED GIRLS. I'm so so so sososososososososososososososososososooooo sick of this.

Great: let's bury all the women before going after any of the men, right? smh
posted by Dressed to Kill at 8:49 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


I have been particularly impressed how, with the exception of a few outlets, some of them tabloid, the entire affair seems to have disappeared down the memory hole.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:38 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Send the Miami herald bulldogs up to Manhattan to see wtf with the vids.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:24 PM on August 30






For those still monitoring this old thread, can you suggest others sites and people that you are tracking for Epstein info these days?
posted by Auden at 3:48 PM on September 1 [5 favorites]


Auden, Julie K. Brown (whose 2018 "Perversion of Justice" series re-ignited interest in Epstein's crimes) and the Miami Herald are still posting articles:

‘He thought he was untouchable’: Jeffrey Epstein’s sex abuse victims express their outrage [August 27, 2019, filed by Brown; linked same day upthread, by Noisy Pink Bubbles, updated on the 28th]
Democrats call for full investigation of Justice Department’s deal with Jeffrey Epstein [August 30, 2019, filed by Brown]
Buyer of Jeffrey Epstein’s jet has ties to sanctioned Venezuelan [August 31, 2019, filed by Brown's colleagues Kevin G. Hall, Antonio Maria Delgado, and Ben Wieder]
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:17 PM on September 1 [9 favorites]


Jean Luc Brunel, who was named in the documents and has had several women come out and accuse him of being a procurer for Epstein, has gone missing
posted by The Whelk at 1:09 PM on September 2 [5 favorites]




So QAnon Anonymous Podcast uuuh ..went to actor Tom Arnold's house (yes that one) to talk about what he knows or ..thinks he knows about various Trump conspiracies, Epstein and Maxwell, the crimes of the rich and famous and it's uh

uuuuuh

you know it might as well be true. The hosts kind of treat him like a uuuuh crazy person but there is some clearification of THINGS in addition to the uhhh ...the stuff. For example Maxwell was at Chelsea Clinton's wedding as a plus one and probably never talked to her. I mean I've personally been having these KINDS conversations with people in Mark Epstein;s orbit recently and it's been pretty 1:1 clarifying: batshit theorizing.

Also it implies Arnold has been talking to the press a lot recently about the same things. But yeah they have to introduce and then debrief each one of Arnold's segment cause he;s ....all over the place.
posted by The Whelk at 9:20 PM on September 2


It must be pretty crazy sounding since your comment left me more confused than I started. The best I can come up with is that you are saying that people are talking out of their ass either to sound important or to obscure the truth by vomiting up a bunch of word salad. And that some of the people are in a position to know that they are speaking gibberish and can therefore be assumed to be acting deliberately?

I can certainly see how some would find it useful to make Epstein a scapegoat for behavior that was (and maybe is) more widespread. I can also see how it would be useful to some people to make it sound so much like the ramblings of a schizophrenic person in the middle of a severe episode.
posted by wierdo at 5:00 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


It’s more that I can’t tell which one it is because even I start to sound crazy if I try to talk through the thought process.
posted by The Whelk at 8:27 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


That's why I make it a policy never to listen to the ramblings of Tom Arnold. I feel the simple act of hearing him struggle to string a bunch of words together can give you a bad case of cocaine brain. (Like Pontypool, but with more sniffling)
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:10 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]




BROKEN, a new Epstein news podcast with correspondent Julie K. Brown the Miami journalist who broke the story
posted by The Whelk at 6:11 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]




It's been awhile since we've had an honest to goodness exiling.
posted by rhizome at 1:53 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


[Comment removed a couple times now. unz seems to be a sketchy as fuck hard-right site; let’s just not link to them period.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:47 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Wow, are you wrong about unz.
posted by Auden at 8:38 PM on September 4




They do, however, make a damn fine potato chip.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:22 PM on September 4 [8 favorites]


MIT Media Lab founder: Taking Jeffrey Epstein’s money was justified – At an internal meeting, Nicholas Negroponte shocked some people with his comments on funding from the alleged sex trafficker.
MIT Media Lab director Joichi Ito has faced pressure to resign after revealing that he took research funding from financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. But today Nicholas Negroponte, who cofounded the Media Lab in 1985 and was its director for 20 years, said he had recommended that Ito take Epstein’s money. “If you wind back the clock,” he added, “I would still say, ‘Take it.’” And he repeated, more emphatically, “‘Take it.’”

...Negroponte said that he prided himself on knowing over 80% of the billionaires in the US on a first-name basis, and that through these circles he had come to spend time with Epstein. Over the years, he had two dinners and one ride in Epstein’s private jet alone, where they spoke passionately about science. (He didn’t say whether these occurred before or after Epstein’s 2008 conviction.) It was these interactions, he said, that warmed him to Epstein and made him confidently and enthusiastically recommend that Ito take the money.

...Negroponte pressed on: in the fund-raising world, he said, these types of occurrences were not out of the ordinary, and they shouldn’t be reason enough to cut off business relationships.
posted by bitteschoen at 3:15 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Wow. Way to not read the room, Nick. I have to wonder what other sort of suffering he's willing to turn a blind eye to.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:43 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


I seem to remember that, back in the 90s, Negroponte was fine with tons of cranks and bigots (I remember him trying to make Newt Gingrich out to be a digital pioneer) as long as they made tech-friendly noises. That he's cool with Epstein is part and parcel with the continued moral degeneracy of the tech industry.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:54 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Oh, man. It seems that the Technology Review article has been updated since I saw it yesterday. In the original version, an unamed woman was cited as yelling twice at Negroponte to "shut up". The revised version identifies her as robot ethicist1 Kate Darling and clarifies the specific contexts of her telling Negroponte to shut up.

Meanwhile, they added this clarification paragraph:
In an earlier version of this story, that is how we reported his remarks. Negroponte had not responded to a request for comment at that point. He subsequently told the Boston Globe, and has since confirmed to us, that he was defending only the original decision to take money from Epstein, who at that point had already been convicted of and served time for a sexual offense involving a minor. "Given what we know today [about the recent sex-trafficking charges]... nobody would or should have taken his money," Negroponte wrote in an email. "But wind the clock backwards, given what we knew then, I would have accepted his money now."
I mean, ok? At some point, he's gotta stop digging himself deeper, right?

1. In this case, this means an ethicist specializing in robot and AI issues rather than an ethicist who is also a robot.
posted by mhum at 1:24 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Pretty good piece laying out the "skeptic" position on the Epstein death:
A third reason that Epstein's victims should suspect foul play is that any criminal trial of Epstein or his coconspirators would have been highly problematic for the federal government. There's plenty of evidence, of course. The government reportedly has dozens of credible witnesses who describe sexual abuse of children by Epstein and his VIP guests, plus video and photographic evidence from the cameras hidden in Epstein's mansions.

But one potential defense that Epstein's lawyers would be obliged to explore is whether Epstein believed that government officials with actual authority sanctioned his crimes because he was providing them with sexual blackmail material on targeted leaders. This is called the "reliance on public authority defense." It typically arises in drug cases where the defendant argues he was working as a confidential source for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and therefore believed he was authorized to sell drugs.
...
Many will recall the damage done to the credibility of the FBI when it was revealed that convicted mob boss Whitey Bulger—who also died in federal custody—was committing extortion and murder while also working as an FBI informant. The Epstein scandal would be far worse because it potentially involves exploiting vulnerable children to obtain dirt on world leaders. Such a scandal would likely lead to major reforms and oversight of U.S. intelligence, similar to what we saw in the 1970s with the Church Committee investigation of the CIA, FBI, Internal Revenue Service, and National Security Agency in the wake of Watergate.

It's no surprise then that the establishment press would urge us to move on from the Epstein case and to stop engaging in conspiracy theories. And it's our job to keep talking about the case until we get truthful information about Epstein and about all his coconspirators, including the ones working with U.S. intelligence
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:30 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]




Looks like that "we're sorry for taking $100K from Epstein" hand-wringing from MIT was itself part of a cover-up. Nice try, Joi. I wonder if any of his high-profile supporters are having second thoughts. I would bet anything that we haven't learned the full extent of the Bill Gates / Epstein collaboration either...
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:53 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


Why Joi Ito needs to resign [from MIT's paper]
In the case of Ito and the MIT Media Lab, there exist several layers of hypocrisy. Ito has made a name for himself as an ethicist in his field. Further, the Media Lab is responsible for the Disobedience Award, which this year, honored the women who started the #MeToo and #MeTooSTEM movements. In an email to the Media Lab, a student wrote that she was forced to send a Disobedience Award goblet to Epstein against her wishes.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:40 AM on September 7 [5 favorites]




I'd be curious to learn which perennial contributor names fall off the lists of donors over the next year or so.
posted by rhizome at 2:31 PM on September 7 [2 favorites]


Ito is making (or is being forced to make) a full retreat. He's resigned today from the boards of the NY Times and the MacArthur Foundation (where he was also on the auditing committee).
posted by fatbird at 5:37 PM on September 7 [3 favorites]


I wonder if any of his high-profile supporters are having second thoughts.
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posted by chortly at 7:18 PM on September 7


Re: wesupportjoi.org

Looks like maybe this campaign was stillborn! Looking at the records, it was actually registered on 8/26, which is kind of interestingly early.
posted by rhizome at 7:21 PM on September 7


No, they just wiped it. This tweet has a list of the signatories, Bruce Schneier and Lawrence Lessig among them (and Stewart Brand, but I doubt that really surprises anyone.)

https://mobile.twitter.com/AnandWrites/status/1170025167063605250
posted by tavella at 8:32 PM on September 7


Oh, that was the 200 signatures? Yeah, an old housemate was on it, which I guess means I was three degrees from Epstein.
posted by rhizome at 8:40 PM on September 7


So the explanations for signing that piece of crap have been mostly absent or unimpressive, but this one from Mary Lou Jepsen is... special. "Ito had to take Epstein's money because of the Civil Rights Act, guys!"
posted by tavella at 11:05 PM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Oh God, that Mary Lou Jepsen bit is... head-shakingly awful.

I actually think there was a brief moment when someone like Negroponte could have pivoted off of this in a useful way: "Yeah, we took Epstein's money. That's the reality of funding academics today: deals with devils. Push us onto the private sector, expect private sector morality to rule. Don't like making us rely on child molestors? Figure out how to fund us consistently and generously so our work isn't half occupied with pretending that sex traffickers, aren't."

Of course, that's not what was argued, and the guilty parties are every bit as venal as we suspect them of being.
posted by fatbird at 11:27 PM on September 7 [8 favorites]


Apparently MIT is hiring outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation about Epstein's relations with the school

Thinkpiece about MIT's institutional history in light of the revelations

The Epstein scandal at MIT shows the moral bankruptcy of techno-elites [by Evgeny Morozov]
If the “third culture” is so much more sophisticated than its predecessors, how come most of its card-carrying members – famed scientists-cum-brands, courtesy of the Brockman empire – got caught up in the Epstein mess? It’s not uncommon for intellectuals to serve as useful idiots to the rich and the powerful, but, under the “third culture”, this reads like a job requirement.
...
And yet, while it’s easy to attack the rotten apples such as Ito or Negroponte, a more radical transformative agenda should ask for more: close the Media Lab, disband the Ted Talks, refuse the money of tech billionaires, boycott agents like Brockman. Without such drastic changes, the powerful bullshit-industrial complex that is the “third culture” will continue unharmed, giving cover to the next Epstein.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:17 AM on September 8 [5 favorites]




The closer from octothorpe's link really drives in the last nail:
Over the course of the past century, MIT became one of the best brands in the world
posted by fatbird at 8:20 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]


“My Jeffrey Epstein question of the day:
WHY ON EARTH WOULD BILL GATES & LEON BLACK NEED EPSTEIN TO DIRECT GIFTS TO MIT ON THEIR BEHALF?
They have their own organizations to manage this type of thing.
MAKES NO SENSE” @SRhule
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 AM on September 8 [5 favorites]


Yeah, now why would someone who works at MSNBC (lest anyone forget, the MS in MSNBC stands for Microsoft) want to act amazed that Gates would have been involved in anything unseemly?
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:22 AM on September 8


Wow. Lawrence Lessig, one of the signatories of the now-dead "support Joi Ito" site, wrote this, defending his support and Joi generally, on the grounds that Joi, believing Epstein not to have continued being a sexual predator, accepted the money anonymously because 1) money, and 2) anonymity prevented Epstein from using the donations to revive his reputation. The bombshell here is that apparently MIT okayed this:
Thus when Joi was convinced that the crimes had ended, and he took Epstein’s money, anonymously, he was doing, as I saw it, and likely said, then, the most that any university administrator could do, given the unending need to raise money. That view was then confirmed by MIT’s administration directly when they told Joi to take the money, conditioned upon its anonymity.
posted by fatbird at 12:09 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


Lessig's piece is a lot more than a defense of Joi. It's a long, personal reflection that's complex and regretful and worth reading. It's not just an argument. Lessig was "extensively abused" as a child, and Ito came to him for advice on accepting Epstein's money in 2011.
posted by fatbird at 12:12 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


My immediate takeaway is that these smart, connected people are really good at rationalizing basically anything.
posted by fatbird at 12:25 PM on September 8 [7 favorites]


That's why they make the big bucks.
posted by ckape at 12:37 PM on September 8


Oh, that was the 200 signatures? Yeah, an old housemate was on it, which I guess means I was three degrees from Epstein.

I used to hang out in Ito's IRC channel. I wouldn't be able to rightfully call him a friend nor acquaintance, but we talked about DJing and weird tech a couple of times and other early net/tech optimism - and in hindsight, a lot of technocratic bullshit, too. His IRC channel was filled with a bunch of early bloggers, devs and other netizens so it was a lively channel for tech and high weirdness.

I didn't even know he'd landed as director at Media Lab until now and for a brief second I managed to think "Oh, cool." He was really big into digital ethics and seemed like a gentle soul.

When I read the redacted emails I wanted to throw up. I don't think he's directly involved in Epstein's inner circle but in this time line I don't even know any more.

But working with him and accepting and seeking that money from that already convicted asshole at that stage in the game is more than enough.

Barf. Blargh. Really uncomfortable even with this casual thread of any connection at all with that world.
posted by loquacious at 12:52 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


Let's see if we can count the crazy in Lessig's piece. As I read it, they both believed these things (or Lessig, believed that Ito's belief was sincere):
  1. Ito believed Epstein was a reformed restrained sexual predator, if only out of fear for himself.
  2. Epstein's money was not in any way connected to his predations (Lessig specifically scoffs at the blackmail theory of Epstein's wealth, and ignores the softer thesis that part, if not all of his investment funds came from fellow travellers).
  3. Taking Epstein's money anonymously was sufficient to morally launder it as long as doing so was kept secret.
  4. It was possible to accept the money anonymously and keep its source secret when the source would show up with women so obviously being trafficked that Media Lab office staff tried to ask them if they needed help.
  5. Ito's apology was sincere and, in some moral sense, complete--as if he didn't reveal the much greater depth of the problem to serve the higher purpose in (3), rather than a pre-emptive PR assault.
When I first read it, I felt like Lessig was struggling with the condemnation that naturally follows from facts that he can't deny. But the list above is so obviously absurd that I think now that Lessig's whole piece is offered in bad faith. If it isn't, then Lessig is delusional.

At the very least, the idea that a sexual predator would stop his bad behaviour after swinging a shockingly lenient deal because of connections made in the course of his crimes... who the fuck are you kidding, Lawrence?
posted by fatbird at 12:59 PM on September 8 [5 favorites]


If what Lessig says is correct about MIT greenlighting the donations from Epstein on the basis that they were anonymous, then this is an even bigger scandal at MIT than previously thought, because that was the exact activity for which Ito was pushed out of his position. Whatever MIT administrator approved of Ito's decision to take the funding is going to have a hard time arguing that Ito's departure was warranted (which seems to be the consensus now, Lessig aside -- even the Darling opinion which he cites was written before Farrow's piece came out), but his/hers is not (as Lessig recognizes).

Lessig obviously raises a good point about the ambiguity about what money it is ethical for a university to take. Koch money is all over MIT; why are those donations kosher? Etc.

But I'm suspicious about his larger argument that taking money from a "Type 3" or "Type 4" donor would be morally acceptable, if only done anonymously. (Let's preserve his taxonomy for the sake of argument -- for what it's worth, I'm more of the "behind every great fortune there is a great crime" perspective.)

First, no "anonymous" donation is truly anonymous. The well-connected directors of these institutions know where the money is coming from, and will have an incentive to keep the money flowing. Donors can certainly exercise their will upon the institution, even if they are "anonymous." And, as Lessig rightly points out, anonymous donors have a habit of becoming not anonymous -- it's hard to keep these kinds of secrets, as the Epstein episode shows.

But what I'm a bit confused about is which donations from (as he puts it) "Type 3" people he thinks are bad to take. Presumably he includes pedophiles in this category, as this is the whole basis for why he believes the Epstein donation was wrong. However, I would imagine that people at the Media Lab might be upset to find that their work was being supported by other kinds of evil-doers. E.g. serial murderers (people involved in the military-industrial complex?), other kinds of sex criminals, financial criminals, etc. I suppose this, too, is a question of judgement, but I don't think Lessig is clear about where he draws the line about which kinds of people are acceptable to take money from and which ones are not.

fatbird, I just think that Lessig struggles to think about politics in a clear way. That's, at least, my opinion having observed his political opinions for at least a decade, and this episode only reinforces that judgement. (Also funny how he indemnifies Bill Gates, despite his clear association with Epstein in this episode, eh?)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:21 PM on September 8 [3 favorites]


I can believe that about Lessig, Noisy Pink Bubbles, but it just makes me think a little less of academics in general. In fact, the last decade has just been hell on my faith in academia as a positive force in this world.
posted by fatbird at 1:37 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


And, as some on Twitter are pointing out, the case against Ito is much more severe than Lessig makes it out to be. Not only were some of the Epstein donations non-anonymous, but Ito also took Epstein money for his own tech fund.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:43 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


First, no "anonymous" donation is truly anonymous. The well-connected directors of these institutions know where the money is coming from, and will have an incentive to keep the money flowing.

Bingo. Each year it feels like the fundraising part of higher ed gains more of a voice in the institutional decision making, and I’m seeing this same pattern in private high school and grade schools as well as quasi-public schools like charters and charitable institutions involved in public schooling.
posted by sallybrown at 1:51 PM on September 8 [3 favorites]


Doesn’t anyone get the sense that a number of supposed wealthy “introductions” put together by Epstein were just him rubbing his scent all over business that really had nothing to do with him? I feel like a lot of this is posturing and fabrication. Trump does it all the time with his “my very good friend” schtick. Did Bill Gates and/or his foundation *need* a nudge from Epstein to donate money to the Media Lab? No. Did he insinuate himself? Undoubtedly. But that was all definitely of a part to insulate himself by make appearances of alliances. It worked.

And, yeah, Koch money is corrupt. Stop taking it!!
posted by amanda at 1:52 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


The way I've heard it, amanda, most socializing at this level is exactly that. I just saw it described as "the friendocracy".

As for Gates, the most likely explanation is that part of the mutual ass-sniffing in these billionaire philanthropic circles is pledging a certain amount of money to someone else's cause: basically giving them a couple million to donate as they see fit.
posted by fatbird at 1:56 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


Maybe there was some concrete benefit to Epstein (or he could semi-convincingly make one up) if he bundled others’ donations, which is why Gates did it through him? But why would Gates give a hoot about helping Epstein if they barely knew each other, right? Sigh.
posted by sallybrown at 1:56 PM on September 8


When I first read it, I felt like Lessig was struggling with the condemnation that naturally follows from facts that he can't deny.

The way I read it was that they were fooling themselves. Ostensibly they were commisserating on whether it was a good idea or not, but in reality they seem to have been putting their heads together to figure out how to make it a good idea. Nothing negative appears to have risen to consideration. No what-ifs, no "is there anybody else?" I think Joi wanted to take the money (maybe Epstein dangled the 2M to his VC at this time) and he needed a smart person's powers of rationalization (possibly even a legal perspective).
posted by rhizome at 2:01 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


Doesn’t anyone get the sense that a number of supposed wealthy “introductions” put together by Epstein were just him rubbing his scent all over business that really had nothing to do with him?

Absolutely. If I had to put money on it, I would bet that Epstein was lying about, for instance, having been asked by Elon Musk to help him with a search for a new Tesla chairman. In Gates' case, however, it does seem like there was actual involvement -- at least, that's the impression that Ito was under in private emails. But, of course, everyone rushing to distance themselves from Epstein (sometimes disingenuously) does not make the job of separating fact from fiction any easier.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:07 PM on September 8


Lessig, supposedly an expert on coruption, should know better than most that the price of anonymous money is secret influence. He alludes to a top seekret way of keeping anonymous donors from having any pull, but c'mon. Do you really think the university president and fundraising arms will be able to keep themselves from asking for more money from an unacknowledged (not anonymous) donor? And that those entities won't regard attacks on a donor as not in their interest? Epstein was buying human shields, it doesn't matter if it was anonymous.
posted by benzenedream at 2:40 PM on September 8 [7 favorites]


One of the key ingredients to the schadenfreude I'm feeling now is an anecdote from a student meeting Ito at the media lab, who was given a 15 minute slot with two others, to ask him questions. He never looked up from his laptop or stopped typing, though he's apparently very skilled at multi-tasking and had no problem answering their questions directly and competently. But while they sat there in the presence, there was another clock visible to her with a 15 minute timer on it, clearly counting down to the end of her allotted time.

Until this all happened, this seemed a justifiable bit of rudeness from a great personage whose time is too valuable to waste on a single person at a time. Now, it's just another signifier of the sort of entitlement that rationalizes enabling a child rapist while staggering the staff to avoid those who did object from seeing him.

The more time this gets in my head, the more I feel like Ito should burn.
posted by fatbird at 6:33 PM on September 8 [6 favorites]


Let's see if we can count the crazy in Lessig's piece.

I’d add a 6th item, that bit where he writes "It is the pathology of my profession that we allow emotion to be so effectively rationalized. So I didn’t allow the emotion to speak when I spoke to Joi then. I was driven by the reasoning that I have enslaved the bits above to describe."

So, objecting to Epstein’s money would have been based on "emotion", rather than the most ethical, reasonable, smartest and most legally sound option?

It all sounds like such a series of awful mental contortions and arrogance to me.
posted by bitteschoen at 2:46 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


I’d add a 6th item

And here's a seventh: not once in his self-flagellating "oh please pity us tech gurus, we're just too darn rational" piece does Lessig ever acknowledge Epstein's victims and what they're going through. Instead the piece comes off as something like: poor ol' Larry, who really just didn't understand what was going on, and a hapless and confused Joi were bamboozled by that tricksy pedo, and really when in comes down to it aren't we kind of victims too?

The idea that anyone else other than him, Ito, and MIT were actually hurt by Epstein never seems to cross his mind.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:56 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


My immediate takeaway is that these smart, connected people are really good at rationalizing basically anything

No. Don't cover this up, it's insulting: Try: really good at complicity when it benefits them. Really good at looking a blind eye to child rape. Really good at taking money from rapists.

Thanks.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:54 AM on September 9 [5 favorites]


That's why they make the big bucks.

By selling girls

This isn't a joke.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:55 AM on September 9 [5 favorites]




Would we miss the Media Lab if it were gone?

TL;DR, the most successful spinoff of the vaunted lab is ... Buzzfeed.
posted by octothorpe at 7:43 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


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