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Epstein Mysteries: Could His Friends Plausibly Not Have Known About His Lifestyle?

(Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Jeffrey Epstein’s “black book” was filled with the names and personal contact information of world leaders, famous musicians and actors that Epstein knew. It also left many wondering whether many of the famous people involved with him knew about his sex abuse crimes and kept them a secret, or whether Epstein’s crimes were so discreet as to be overlooked by his posse.

Epstein had roughly two decades of recorded interactions with law enforcement due to allegations against him that included rape, unlawful sex acts with minors, prostitution, and sex trafficking before he died in August 2019.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre accused Epstein’s one-time girlfriend and confidante Ghislaine Maxwell of approaching her in 1999 when she was 15 years old and working at Mar-a-Lago, offering to provide her with massage training. Giuffre said in a sworn affidavit in 2015 that Epstein abused her beginning in 1999 and that the abuse continued for several years while Epstein passed her off to other famous men, according to the Huff Post.

Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, announces charges against Ghislaine Maxwell during a July 2, 2020, press conference in New York City. - Maxwell, the former girlfriend of late financier Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in the United States on July 2, 2020, by FBI officers investigating his sex crimes, multiple US media outlets reported. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, announces charges against Ghislaine Maxwell during a July 2, 2020, press conference in New York City. – Maxwell, the former girlfriend of late financier Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in the United States on July 2, 2020, by FBI officers investigating his sex crimes, multiple US media outlets reported. (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

Giuffre said she was forced to perform sex acts with Prince Andrew at age 17, an allegation Andrew has denied. Andrew claims he met Epstein in 1999 and “saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year,” and had stayed at a “number of [Mr. Epstein’s] residences,” according to the Post Gazette.

He later reportedly added it was a “mistake and an error” to see Epstein in 2010, two years after Epstein pleaded guilty to two felony prostitution charges and was required to register as a sex offender and report to a jail. (RELATED: Epstein Accuser Says She Gave FBI The Infamous Prince Andrew Photo In 2011)

It was around this time in 1999 that allegations against Epstein began, which would result in investigations and charges throughout the 2000s. Multiple women would later come forward to speak of their alleged rapes when they were minors, which took place at one of Epstein’s properties. Among them was Jennifer Aroz, who told NBC’s “Today” in 2019 that Epstein abused her when she was 14.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton listen as U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton listen as U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. Nov. 8, 2016. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Epstein was reportedly accused in 2005 of molesting a 14-year-old girl at his mansion in Palm Beach, which amounted to multiple counts of unlawful sex acts with a minor in 2006. After months of negotiations over a plea deal, Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 and released five months early in 2009.

Despite Epstein being a registered sex offender — and Maxwell’s known closeness to Epstein — a number of celebrities continued to spend time with Epstein and Maxwell. Maxwell vacationed on a yacht with Chelsea Clinton in 2009 and attended her wedding a year after in 2010, per reports. Maxwell was alleged to have aided Epstein in procuring girls for him to sexually abuse in 1999.

In this handout provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Jeffrey Epstein poses for a sex offender mugshot after being charged with procuring a minor for prostitution on July 25, 2013 in Florida. (Florida Department of Law Enforcement via Getty Images)

In this handout provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Jeffrey Epstein poses for a sex offender mugshot after being charged with procuring a minor for prostitution on July 25, 2013 in Florida. (Florida Department of Law Enforcement via Getty Images)

Chelsea Clinton’s chief-of-staff Bari Lurie claims that it wasn’t until 2015 that “Chelsea and [her husband] March became aware of the horrific allegations against Ghislaine Maxwell,” according to Politico

President Donald Trump was also photographed with his then-future wife Melania, Epstein and Maxwell at a club in 2000, according to Politico. Trump banned Epstein from Mar-a-Lago months before Epstein pleaded guilty to sex abuse charges in 2008 after Epstein hit on the teenage daughter of another member, according to CNBC.

While many people, like the Clintons, Trumps and Prince Andrew claim to have cut ties with Epstein due to the accusations, some of Epstein’s friends continued their relationship with him.

Some apparently didn’t mind Epstein’s sex-offender status. Eva Andersonn-Dubin, founder of Dubin Breast Center of the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and former Miss Sweden, had dated Epstein for years. After Epstein’s 2008 conviction, Anderson-Dubin and her husband Glenn Dubin, a billionaire hedge-fund manager, reportedly remained close with Epstein.

Epstein attended the family’s Thanksgiving dinner at their home in Palm Beach the year after his conviction. Andersonn-Dubin even told Epstein’s probation officer she didn’t mind having Epstein over and was “100% comfortable with Jeffrey Epstein around my children,” who were all minors at the time,  according to Vanity Fair.

The conviction and reports also didn’t prompt Harvard University to cut ties. Harvard allowed Epstein to keep his own private office on the campus for a decade after his 2008 conviction and granted him unlimited access to it, a report by the University revealed in May 2020.

While it’s possible many of Epstein’s more casual friends were not aware of the serious allegations against him — or simply wanted to wait to see what would come of the charges — the high-profile nature of the case and the powerful people it could implicate would make it a difficult story to avoid.