Daily Beast releases fluff piece on Jeffrey Epstein, featuring Wilbur Ross

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The Daily Beast releases an article by Alexandra Wolfe that features New York elites praising Jeffery Epstein, including future Trump secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross. They paint the picture that Epstein’s just a cool rich guy, and his victims are the real troublemakers.

Almost universally, they mocked and blamed the underage victims, whom they saw as an obstacle to the luxurious life to which they felt Epstein — and they themselves — were entitled.

Sarah Kendzior, Hiding In Plain Sight

Highlights from The Daily Beast:

On the evening of December 2nd, 2010, a handful of America’s media and entertainment elite—including TV anchors Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos, comedienne Chelsea Handler, and director Woody Allen—convened around the dinner table of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. It wasn’t just any dining room, but part of a sprawling nine-story townhouse that once housed an entire preparatory school. And it wasn’t just any sex offender, but an enigmatic billionaire who had once flown the likes of former President Bill Clinton and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak around the world on his own Boeing 727. Last spring, Epstein completed a 13-month sentence for soliciting prostitution from a minor in Palm Beach. Now he was hosting a party for his close friend, Britain’s Prince Andrew, fourth in line to the throne…

Sure enough, that December night no one mentioned that their handsome host, a gray-haired 58-year-old financier with tanned skin and a joker smile, had just doled out millions of dollars in civil settlements to seven girls who allege that he paid them to perform erotic massages and demeaning sexual acts when they were underage…

No, back then Epstein was mid-makeover. He had monarchy in-house and famous faces at his table. Former Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne had just endorsed Epstein on his science foundation’s website (which has been since removed)… The conventional wisdom among his friends was that Epstein has been victimized by greedy, morally dubious teenage girls and unscrupulous lawyers. “I’ve never condoned paying for sex, but if the young lady lied about her age it’s her own fault,” explained one socialite, who along with hedge-fund manager Wilbur Ross and real-estate magnate Leon Black hobnobbed with Epstein at a Southampton movie screening just two months after his release from “community control” in Florida…

New York friends are suddenly hesitant to talk about Maxwell. “She’s a high-end ‘fixer’,” and so what? they ask. “No one in café society gives a damn that a 15-year-old girl gives massages,” says one frequent charity-benefit guest. “She gets people into parties and runs around for a lot of people.” As to the fallout from her association with Epstein, he says, “If you’re Mike Huckabee it would matter but not if you’re Ghislaine Maxwell.”

The crowd at the events top publicist Peggy Siegal has organized for Epstein proves the point, at least behind closed doors. “I and many others that know him describe him as brilliant,” says Siegal. “His unique mind is what attracts the world’s smartest people to his home.” Last September, with Siegal’s help, Epstein hosted a Break Fast after Yom Kippur. A group of 120 friends brought their children over for a buffet dinner. One attendee, Jonathan Farkas, a New York real-estate heir, has known Epstein for 35 years and visited him while he was in prison. “The side I’ve been reading about is a side I don’t know,” he says. Farkas considers Epstein one of the smartest people he knows and often asks him for investment advice. “Unless I’ve seen it, I don’t focus on it,” he says.

“From a cerebral and business side he’s worshipped,” says socialite Debbie Bancroft. “He’s incredibly charming and handsome. He’s an extraordinary package so I can see why people don’t want to believe what they hear. If people come out of jail and are still successful, people are very forgiving, shockingly so.”

Renowned scientists whose research Epstein has generously funded through the years also stand by him. Professor Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and author of Quantum Man, has planned scientific conferences with Epstein in St. Thomas and remained close with him throughout his incarceration. “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,” says Krauss. “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.” Though colleagues have criticized him over his relationship with Epstein, Krauss insists, “I don’t feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it.”

External Sources

The Daily Beast (Archived)

Sarah Kendzior, Hiding In Plain Sight, p.87

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