NEW YORK (AP) — A new batch of unsealed documents pertaining to Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of teenage girls was released Thursday, adding several hundred pages to the fountain of information detailing how the financier leveraged connections to the rich, powerful and famous to recruit his victims and cover up his crimes.
The 19 documents, or about 300 pages, were half as many as the over 40 documents released Wednesday. The documents so far — with more to come — were sprinkled with names of celebrities and politicians who socialized with Epstein or worked with him in the years before he was publicly accused nearly two decades ago of paying underage girls for sex.
Most of those names were familiar to anyone who has followed the scandal closely, including the criminal trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, who was Epstein’s former girlfriend, household manager and chief recruiter of young, vulnerable females.
It was during Maxwell’s criminal trial two years ago that Epstein’s victims, some of whom aspired to be models or artists, described how he dropped the names of his famous and influential friends to suggest that he was the victims’ ticket to reaching their dreams. Maxwell, 62, was convicted of sex trafficking charges and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.
The roughly 250 documents being unsealed, starting this week, in one of the lawsuits against Maxwell mostly rehash what has long been known about a man who traveled in elite circles until his July 2019 sex-trafficking arrest left him so cornered that he took his own life in jail.
But they have included a few fresh details about a pyramid of abuse that grew over three decades and damaged dozens of teenage girls and young women.
Among the famous people in Epstein’s orbit before he was exposed as a sexual predator were former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, singer Michael Jackson and magician David Copperfield, according to the accounts of his victims and other witnesses quoted in newly released documents. None of those men were accused of wrongdoing.
There were also repetitions of well-known stories about Britain’s Prince Andrew. He was sued by one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre, who said she had sexual encounters with the royal when she was 17. The prince, who denied the allegations, settled the lawsuit in 2022.
The court documents being released now are related to a 2015 lawsuit that Giuffre brought against Maxwell. Thousands of pages of documents in that lawsuit had been made public previously, but some sections had been blacked out because of privacy concerns.
U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska ordered last month that those redactions be lifted, mostly because names in the documents had already been made public through news coverage or through other court proceedings.
Among the more interesting documents released Wednesday was the May 2016 deposition of Johanna Sjoberg, who worked as a masseuse in Epstein’s household. Sjoberg said she once met Michael Jackson at Epstein’s Palm Beach, Florida, home, but that nothing untoward happened with the late pop icon. Epstein also had homes in Manhattan, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands.
She also described an April 2001 trip to New York in which she said Prince Andrew touched her breast while they posed for a photo at Epstein’s Manhattan town house.
Clinton previously said through a spokesperson that although he traveled on Epstein’s jet several times, he never visited his homes, had no knowledge of his crimes, and hadn’t spoken to him since his conviction. Trump has also said he once thought Epstein was a “terrific guy,” but that they later had a falling-out.
Sjoberg also testified that she once went to a dinner at one of Epstein’s homes that was also attended by magician David Copperfield.
She said Copperfield did magic tricks before asking if she was aware “that girls were getting paid to find other girls.” One allegation against Epstein and Maxwell was that some girls he paid for sexual acts later recruited other victims. Sjoberg said Copperfield didn’t get more specific about what he meant. A Copperfield publicist didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
The newly released records also include many references to Jean-Luc Brunel, a French modeling agent who was close to Epstein and who killed himself in a Paris jail in 2022 while awaiting trial on charges that he raped underage girls. Giuffre was among the women who accused Brunel of sexual abuse.
Separately, Brunel’s estate was sued this week by a woman who alleges that he and others sexually assaulted her while she was working as a model in New York. She says that on one occasion, she was driven to a home in Canada and kept there for several days while men abused her. The lawsuit, filed in state court in California, does not mention Epstein or Maxwell.