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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

NEWS ANALYSIS: 5 years after Epstein’s suicide, new documents emerge

Photo by White House Photographer
In a file photo from 1993, Bill Clinton and Jeffrey Epstein shake hands at the White House. Over the first two weeks of January, many legal documents around the Epstein case were unsealed and released, but a large majority of them do not make any new bombshell assertions or name any unknown potential associates.

The name “Jeffrey Epstein” has been in New York high society circles since the 1980s. Now, it has returned to the newspapers with a recent unsealing of documents that provides a slightly more open look into the scandalous, tragic case. 

When a lawsuit from one of Epstein’s victims was settled in December, a federal judge ruled to unseal some of the previously confidential documents and testimonials used as evidence in the case. The release was highly anticipated, as many expected to see the names of international figures implicated within them. Over the first two weeks of January, the documents were released, but a large majority of them do not directly implicate any of Epstein’s potential associates aside from Maxwell, who is already serving time. 

One of the largest takeaways from the documents is that a victim of Epstein swore under oath that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth. This has already been widely rumored since Epstein’s arrest in 2019, and Prince Andrew was asked to step down from his duties immediately after. While this is not new information, it does further implicate the former prince and call into question how he should be held accountable.

Other celebrities whose names were mentioned in the documents, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett, have not been implicated at all. The names have been included in headlines to draw attention, but the truth is that the victims are testifying that Epstein name-dropped these people in passing. The victims never actually heard them speak or had any contact with them, and it is likely that Epstein was just trying to make himself appear more powerful to the victims.

When Epstein opened his investment bank in New York City, he quickly adopted a clientele of people with a collective net worth of around $1 billion, leading to friendships with many powerful people. In the summer of 2019, it was revealed that Epstein had used his position of power in society to run a sex trafficking operation, abusing countless minors in his New York and Florida homes.

Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges and was placed in jail without opportunity for bail, but he died by suicide in prison before his trial in 2019. New York Magazine explains that his longtime associate and ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested on charges relating to Epstein’s sex trafficking operation one year later and found guilty, sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Epstein’s case was so high profile not only because of the horrors he committed, but because of the people he associated with. Two former US Presidents—Bill Clinton and Donald Trump—were seen with Epstein numerous times and even publicly called themselves close friends in the past. Following Epstein’s indictment, both Clinton and Trump publicly stated that they were oblivious to Epstein’s criminal activity and distanced themselves from him.

The implications of Epstein’s actions are still piling up, as many of his victims have spoken publicly about the abuse they faced. It is essential to understand which leaders do need to be held accountable and further investigated, such as Prince Andrew, and which celebrities whose names have been unfairly and wrongly dragged into the case. While victims can no longer get the justice they deserve from Epstein himself, they deserve for anyone who helped him to be investigated as well. 

Behind the Byline
Brooke Kupferberg
Brooke Kupferberg, Opinion Editor
Brooke Kupferberg is 2023-2024 Opinon section editor for the Wessex Wire. She enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends and family and taking naps. She also plays tennis for the school team and loves watching her favorite TV Show “Friends”.
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