Maybe-billionaire sex offender and former science blogger Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on Saturday for allegedly sex trafficking and abusing dozens of minors, some as young as 14. This comes more than a decade after Epstein got off with a since-unsealed plea deal that resulted in him serving a 13-month sentence (and allowed him to leave prison to spend up to 12 hours at an office six days a week). The latest arrest is good news for the long march to justice but terrible news for Epstein’s hordes of rich and powerful friends, many of whom stood by his side even after accusations about Epstein’s numerous alleged sex crimes came to light.
Between trips on his infamous private plane, dubbed “the Lolita Express,” dinner parties, philanthropy, and business ventures, Epstein amassed an astounding number of powerful allies, some of whom have since attempted to distance themselves and all of whom must have turned an aggressively blind eye to various red flags. To help keep track of Epstein’s power players and pals, we’ve compiled a list of the bigger names in the popular sex offender’s orbit. And because his cohort included pretty much everyone, we’ll be periodically adding names as necessary.
Claim to fame: Current labor secretary for the Trump administration
Connection: As a U.S. attorney, cut a nonprosecution deal with Epstein against the advice of his staff, setting Epstein up with a cushy 13-month sentence and “essentially shutting down” the ongoing FBI investigation into other potential victims and associates according to the Miami Herald
On Epstein: “At the end of the day, based on the evidence, professionals within a prosecutor’s office decided that a plea that guarantees someone goes to jail, that guarantees he register [as a sex offender] generally and guarantees other outcomes, is a good thing.”— Acosta during his confirmation hearing, March 2017
Claim to fame: Director, actor, writer, alleged sexual assaulter
Connection: His photo is hanging in Epstein’s study. Was spotted strolling around the Upper East Side with Epstein in 2013. Attended a dinner party at Epstein’s townhouse for Prince Andrew, which also counted Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos among its guests
On Epstein: As far as I can tell, Woody Allen has never responded to requests for comment on his relationship with Epstein.
Claim to fame: Birth
Connection: Former buds (according to writer Vicky Ward, Epstein would introduce Prince Andrew to party guests simply as “Andy”), though they were seen together as recently as 2011, by which point Epstein was two years out of prison and a registered sex offender. In 2015, Prince Andrew was named in what had been an ongoing federal lawsuit against Epstein. The motion claimed that Epstein had forced a minor, “Jane Doe #3,” to have sex with Andrew on three separate instances. Buckingham Palace denied the claim.
On Epstein: “Epstein was a friend of the duke’s for the best part of 20 years. It was the first time in four years that he’d seen Epstein. He now recognizes that the meeting in December was unwise.” — Buckingham Place spokesperson to Vanity Fair, June 2011
Claim to fame: former president
Connection: One of the most frequent guests aboard Epstein’s plane (flight logs published by Gawker place him there 26 times, though some of that is accounted for by different legs of the same trip). Received $25,000 for the Clinton Foundation from Epstein’s own private foundation
On Epstein then: “Jeffrey is both a highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of twenty-first-century science. I especially appreciated his insights and generosity during the recent trip to Africa to work on democratization, empowering the poor, citizen service, and combating HIV/AIDS.” — Clinton spokesperson to New York magazine, October 2002
On Epstein now:
Claim to fame: Celebrity lawyer, former Harvard law professor, and current Trump TV toady
Connection: As part of the high-powered lawyer team that helped Epstein secure his plea deal in 2008, Dershowitz gave the state attorney’s office “a dossier on a couple of the victims gleaned from their MySpace sites—showing alcohol and drug use and lewd comments” in an effort to discredit them. (One of these women is now suing Dershowitz for defamation.) Was named in a lawsuit alleging that Dershowitz participated in the abuse, while another woman claimed in court that Epstein had ordered one of his victims to have sex with Dershowitz. Dershowitz has repeatedly denied the various allegations.
On Epstein then: “I’m on my 20th book. … The only person outside of my immediate family that I send drafts to is Jeffrey.” — Dershowitz to Vanity Fair, June 2011
Also on Epstein then: “Alan Dershowitz says that, as he was getting to know Epstein, his wife asked him if he would still be close to him if Epstein suddenly filed for bankruptcy. Dershowitz says he replied, ‘Absolutely. I would be as interested in him as a friend if we had hamburgers on the boardwalk in Coney Island and talked about his ideas.’ ” — Vanity Fair, June 2011
On Epstein then, but later: “My relationship with him was entirely professional. It is a total bum rap to say that I ‘cavorted’ with him or was ‘chummy’ with him.” — Dershowitz to the American Lawyer, January 2015
On Epstein now: “The indictment itself is fairly bare bones. From my point of view, the important thing is that it doesn’t mention me.” — Dershowitz to radio host Joe Piscopo, July 2019
Claim to fame: Theoretical physicist, retired from his position at Arizona State University following sexual misconduct allegations (which Krauss denied)
Connection: Ran a program at Arizona State University that included Epstein among its major donors. Organized scientific conferences with Epstein in St. Thomas. Stayed close with Epstein “throughout his incarceration,” according to the Daily Beast.
On Epstein: “If anything, the unfortunate period he suffered has caused him to really think about what he wants to do with his money and his time, and support knowledge. Jeffrey has surrounded himself with beautiful women and young women but they’re not as young as the ones that were claimed. As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people. I don’t feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it.”— Krauss to the Daily Beast, April 2011
Claim to fame: Popular social scientist and psychologist, friend of Bill Gates’
Connection: Flew aboard the Lolita Express. Was photographed dining with Epstein:
On Epstein: Less than a month before Gawker published Epstein’s flight logs, Pinker did this bizarre tweet, which appears to be the only time he has ever mentioned Epstein on Twitter:
Claim to fame: Actor, accused sexual assaulter
Connection: Accompanied President Bill Clinton aboard the Lolita Express on his trip to Africa with Epstein.
On Epstein: As far as I can tell, Spacey has never commented on his trip with Epstein.
Claim to fame: Former president of Harvard, former Clinton treasury secretary
Connection: A Harvard Crimson article from 2003 noted that Epstein shared “a special connection” with Summers, adding that “their friendship began a number of years ago—before Summers became Harvard’s president and even before he was the Secretary of the Treasury—and those close to Epstein say he holds the University president in very high regard.” Epstein pledged $30 million for Harvard to create the Epstein Program for Mathematical Biology and Evolutionary Dynamics, though he only agreed to have his name attached after being persuaded by Summers himself. Appears in Lolita Express flight logs, and, according to the Daily Beast, Epstein’s private charity also “funded a nonprofit that produces a TV show hosted by the wife of Larry Summers.”
On Epstein: As far as I can tell, Summers has never commented on his relationship with Epstein.
Claim to fame: Appointed independent counsel to investigate then-President Bill Clinton, ultimately leading to his impeachment
Connection: Was part of Epstein’s 2008 all-star defense team.
On Epstein: “I was very happy to respond to the needs of a client of the firm.” — Starr in defense of his work with Epstein, February 2015
Claim to fame: All sorts of terrible shit
Connection: Virginia Roberts, one of Epstein’s accusers, claims to have first been recruited by Epstein’s associates while working at the spa at Mar-a-Lago in 2000. Trump has been photographed with Epstein on multiple occasions, lived less than a mile from Epstein’s Palm Beach home, and appears in Epstein’s little black book along with 14 different private contact numbers.
On Epstein then: “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it—Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” — Trump to New York magazine, October 2002
On Epstein later: “Mr. Trump only knew Mr. Epstein as Mr. Trump owns the hottest and most luxurious club in Palm Beach, [redacted], and Mr. Epstein would go there on occasion.” — Trump spokesperson to Gawker, January 2015
On Epstein today: “Well, I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him. I mean, people in Palm Beach knew him; he was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn’t a fan. I was not—yeah, a long time ago. I’d say, maybe 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you. I was not a fan of his.” — Trump at a press conference with the emir of Qatar on Tuesday
Claim to fame: Billionaire, founder of the Limited and current CEO of Victoria’s Secret parent company, L Brands
Connection: One of the only known clients of Epstein’s money management/investment firm, J. Epstein and Co.; is also credited as the main source of Epstein’s wealth. Called him “my friend Jeffrey,” according to writer Vicky Ward. Sold an eight-story mansion to Epstein (whether Epstein paid just a dollar or full market price is unclear), making Epstein a neighbor to Bill Cosby.
On Epstein: “Mr. Wexner severed ties with Mr. Epstein more than a decade ago.” — L Brands spokesperson to Forbes, July 2019
Claim to fame: Publisher of the U.S. News and World Report and former owner of the New York Daily News, among other publications.
Connection: Attended dinners at Epstein’s home. Financed the short-lived Radar Magazine with Epstein in 2004 for $25 million.
On Epstein: As far as I can tell, Zuckerman has never commented on his relationship with Epstein.