Deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein scheduled multiple meetings with conservative financial operatives, including billionaire Peter Thiel and real-estate mogul Thomas Barrack, in the run-up to the 2016 election, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Over the course of his life, Epstein established connections throughout the upper echelons of politics, industry, and society, at the same time building a sex trafficking ring involving underage girls. In 2008 he leveraged those connections to secure a sweetheart nom-prosecution deal when faced with charges related to procuring underage girls for sex work. Epstein died in jail in 2019 after being arrested a second time on sex trafficking charges.
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Documents and calendars reviewed by the Journal show that in 2016 Epstein began attempting to arrange meetings to connect Thiel and Barrack with former Russian United Nations Ambassador Vitaly Churkin. Other figures previously identified in Epstein’s calendar by the Journal include CIA director William Burns, and scholar Noam Chomsky.
At the time of the meetings, both Thiel and Barrack were prominent supporters of then-candidate Donald Trump, but the documents reviewed by the Journal do not contain any indicators of conversations between Epstein and the former president. The subject of the proposed meetings between Thiel and Barrack is also unspecified. Thiel told the Post that he had been “naive” and “didn’t think enough about what Epstein’s agenda might have been,” at the time, and that he had previously declined meetings with Epstein, and had only taken this one because he was referred by a friend. Barrack declined to provide comment to the Journal.
According to the Journal, between 2014 and 2016, Thiel scheduled multiple meetings with Epstein at his home in New York. Barrack also attended lunches at the townhouse, a frequent social engagement stemming from a long-standing relationship with Epstein. Other guests included filmmaker Woody Allen and former Obama White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler.
Epstein was an avid collector of contacts, the higher placed the better. His infamous black book is full of recognizable figures including Prince Andrew, former President Bill Clinton, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bill Cosby, Rupert Murdoch, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and John Kerry, and former President Trump.
In a recent interview, Trump called Epstein “a fixture in Palm Beach.” In 2002, he bragged that he’d “known Jeff for 15 years” and called him a “terrific guy.” At the time of Epstein’s death, the former president stated that he had distanced himself from the financier and had not spoken to him in more than a decade. “I’m not a fan of his,” Trump said at the time. A spokesperson for Trump told the Journal that the former president had gone so far as to ban Epstein from his Mar-a-Lago resort.
While Epstein is now deceased, his longtime associate and partner Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted in 2021 on charges of sex trafficking, conspiracy, and transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in illegal sexual activity. Maxwell is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence.
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