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The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Jeffrey Epstein List explained

Uncovering the truth about the unsealed documents

The internet has been buzzing with ongoing theories about “Epstein’s List,” and the new names revealed in the court documents involving Jeffrey Epstein and his crimes that were released this month. In the sea of speculation and blatant misinformation surrounding these documents. 

Jeffrey Epstein was a wealthy American financier known for his connections with Hollywood actors, politicians, billionaires, and the world of academics. Police opened an investigation against Epstein in 2006 after he had been accused of paying a 14-year-old for sexual encounters in Palm Beach, Florida. Although this investigation uncovered the alleged sexual abuse of several other underage girls, the authorities made a lenient deal with Epstein in which he pleaded guilty to the felony prostitution charges, paid dozens of his victims in restitution, and registered his name on the sex offender rolls in exchange for a short sentence of 18 months. 

However, in 2019 Epstein was arrested in Florida once again for the sex trafficking of minors. He hung himself awaiting trial at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center under suspicious circumstances and is no longer available for comment. 

The over 900 pages of unsealed documents that were revealed to the public in January of 2024 involving the sex trafficking crimes of Epstein were a part of the now-settled 2015 lawsuit that was filed by a victim of Epstein’s crimes, Virginia Giuffre, against his former girlfriend and co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell. 

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Virginia Guiffre is among the dozens of women who have claimed that Epstein abused them at his homes in Florida, New York, The U.S. Virgin Islands, and New Mexico. Guiffre also claimed that she had been pressured into having sexual encounters with several men in Epstein’s social circle including Britain’s Prince Andrew, former New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, and billionaire hedge fund manager, Glenn Dublin. All of these men have denied the claims saying that her accounts were fabricated.

Ghislaine Maxwell is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for recruiting underage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein. “From at least 1994, up to and including in or about 2004, Ghislaine Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and participated in Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” explained a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in June 2022.

 The newly released records from Virginia Guiffre’s lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell provided details on Epstein’s abuse of underage girls and identified witnesses who testified at Maxwell’s trial, accusers and investigators of Epstein, as well as his associates, staff members, business partners, or even those mentioned in passing during depositions given in court.

In a 2016 deposition from Johanna Sjoberg, the woman who said she was hired by Maxwell and took a photo with Prince Andrew in which, she said, he placed his hand on her chest, Sjoberg claims that Epstein once spoke about former President Bill Clinton. “He said one time that Clinton likes them young, referring to girls,” the deposition reads. However, Sjoberg also said that she had never met Clinton or seen him on Epstein’s island.

Sjoberg also mentioned in her deposition that when Epstein’s plane would have to land in Atlantic City, “Jeffrey said, great, we’ll call up Trump and go to a casino,” of course referring to former President Donald Trump. Sjoberg said that she never gave Trump a massage and he also was not accused of any wrongdoing.

According to U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska, who had evaluated the documents to decide what should be unsealed, much of the information they contained was already public. However, misinformation has still been spreading like wildfire about the documents containing some sort of list of Epstein’s alleged clientele. People on the internet have been jumping on any names that appear in passing, accusing them of direct involvement.

Before the documents’ initial release on Jan. 1, social media users were claiming that the name of talk show host Jimmy Kimmel might make an appearance, due to a joke made by New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers on ESPN’s “The Pat McAfee Show.” Kimmel responded with a post on X, saying that he had never met Epstein and that Rodger’s “reckless words” had put his family in danger. His name has not been mentioned in the released documents.

Additionally, some suggested that the documents contained allegations regarding physicist Steven Hawking who died in 2018. Steven Hawking’s name only appears once in the court documents, misspelled in an email sent in 2015 by Epstein, offering to pay a reward to anyone who could discredit an unsubstantiated claim about Hawking.

Others have even been spreading images of fake documents that show allegations being made against both Hawking and Kimmel. The quotes in these images are not seen anywhere in the original records.

“The public interest must still be served in learning more about the scale and scope of Epstein’s racket to further the important goal of shutting down sex trafficking wherever it exists and holding more to account,” Giuffre’s attorney, Sigrid McCawley, said. “The unsealing of these documents gets us closer to that goal.”

Overall, while the recent batch of unsealed documents from the 2015 civil defamation lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell has given us many important names and not much new information, they do serve as a reminder of how Jeffrey Epstein leveraged his powerful connections to continue the trafficking and abuse of underage girls. 

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Brooklyn Mckinney, Staff Writer

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