image: flixr, ajhaysom piece by Amanda Newman celebrating Virginia Giuffre.

The Jeffrey Epstein list – what is it, who does it involve and what does it mean?

Earlier this month, over 200 previously sealed court documents regarding the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein were released 

The release of these documents came following an order from US judge Loretta Preska, who demanded that they were unsealed. Few opposed their release, but it was ensured that certain names were retracted to protect the identities of victims – these anonymised individuals were given the names “John and Jane Does”. 

The new documents have seen many people, including celebrities and prominent figures, added to the colloquially named “Jeffrey Epstein list”, causing the resurface of discussions surrounding Epstein’s crimes.  

In 2019, the financier and registered sex offender took his own life in prison while awaiting trial. Currently, his ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell is serving a 20-year prison sentence for sex trafficking.  

Many of those on the list are mentioned alongside mentions of Epstein Island, which Epstein called “Little St Jeff” and locals called “Paedophile Island”.  

The 75-acre island was visited by those from the highest ranks of society, they flew on private jets and were then taken by helicopter to the island.  

Prior to his 2008 conviction, Epstein visited the island two or three times a month, for several days at a time.  

There were about 70 staff working on the island who were sworn to secrecy and, there were always women and girls present, Maxwell recalled that they were sometimes ferried over in groups aboard a boat called the Lady Ghislaine. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key figures mentioned in these new documents and the impact that this list could have on their lives.  

Prince Andrew

The late Queen’s son, Prince Andrew, had a relationship with Epstein which was brought to the attention of the public in 2019.  

Johanna Sjoberg, who was recruited by Maxwell while at college, accused Andrew of groping her breast in Epstein’s Manhattan apartment

In November of 2019, he sat down with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis for an interview, giving details about his relationship with the convicted sex offender.  

The interview’s key takeaways were: the Prince does not regret his friendship with Epstein; he met up with Maxwell, Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, in 2019 when she was in the UK; the reason for his 2010 meeting with Epstein was to end their friendship; and of course, perhaps the most spoken about element, that Giuffre’s accusations had to be incorrect because they mentioned that the Prince had been “profusely sweating” – Prince Andrew claimed to have a medical condition that makes him unable to sweat.  

Following these initial accusations, Prince Andrew’s royal titles and responsibilities were revoked. He then faced a civil sexual assault case brought against him in the US by Virginia Giuffre.  

As part of their out-of-court settlement Prince Andrew paid an undisclosed amount of money to Giuffre, and to her charity supporting victims’ rights.  

In a statement following this settlement, Prince Andrew said he regrets association with Epstein and commends the bravery of survivors.  

The newly released court documents have reminded the public of Prince Andrew’s involvement in the Epstein case. 

Johanna Sjoberg, who was recruited by Maxwell while at college, accused Andrew of groping her breast in Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. She recalled Maxwell having a puppet of Prince Andrew and them taking a picture with it – Giuffre sat with the puppet on her lap and Sjoberg sat on Prince Andrew’s lap.  

In Sjoberg’s deposition she says, “they put the puppet’s hand on Virginia’s breast, and Andrew put his hand on my breast, and then they took the photo”. 

Maxwell’s deposition states that she had once been on Epstein’s Caribbean Island when Andrew visited. Although, she said that there were no girls or women present other than the staff who worked at the house.  

Maxwell also denied claims from the new documents that Giuffre was directed to have sex with Prince Andrew. 

Having already had his public image shattered, his royal duties and title revoked, and his involvement in a civil sexual assault case, it is hard to imagine if there are more consequences to come for Prince Andrew. 

While more cases could be brought against him it is likely that, as his previous case was, they would be settled with an out-of-court settlement, due to his position within the royal family. The power of him and his family was highlighted by the way his previous case was settled, it is probable that future cases would be dealt with in a similar way, the royal family have shown they are prepared to protect the Prince. This means that it is unlikely that future cases would lead the Prince to be brought to trial.  

Bill Clinton 

In her 2016 disposition, Sjoberg mentioned Bill Clinton, former president of the United States.  

She states that Epstein remarked that Clinton “likes them young, referring to girls”.  

A claim that was denied in 2019 by a spokesperson for Clinton. 

which had the accusation that Clinton had threatened Vanity Fair reporters regarding writing stories about his involvement in Epstein’s crimes.

In total, Clinton’s name was mentioned 73 times, including footnotes, in the newly released court documents. 

However, there is no suggestion of criminality.  

Clinton met Epstein four times, flying on his private plane due to their collaborative work on humanitarian projects. He said he had no knowledge of Epstein’s crimes, and all of their meetings occurred before investigations into Epstein began.  

On the other hand, the second batch of documents included a 2011 email from Giuffre to journalist Sharon Churcher, which had the accusation that Clinton had threatened Vanity Fair reporters regarding writing stories about his involvement in Epstein’s crimes.  

This threat could have been made as Clinton did not want his image to be tarnished by untrue rumours, however it also could have been because he did not want the media to get hold of the truth. 

Steven Hawking 

Perhaps the most surprising name on the new list was Stephen Hawking, the English theoretical physicist and cosmologist.  

Giuffre not only accused the late Cambridge professor of visiting Epstein’s Island in 2006, but also of participating in an “underage orgy”. 

His visit to the island was part of a conference funded by Epstein. 

The newly released documents include a 2015 email from Epstein to Maxwell where he says she can offer a financial reward to friends of Giuffre if they prove that this accusation that “Stephen Hawking participated in an underage orgy” was false. 

Hawking suffered from motor neurone disease, an illness that ultimately paralysed him. 

Hawking passed away in 2018 aged 76, meaning it is highly unlikely that Hawking’s involvement in Epstein’s crimes will be investigated. As well as this there is little evidence to base investigations on.  

What’s next for those involved? 

The three names above only skim the surface of those involved and mentioned in the list and documents.  

The released papers amount to 300 pages and include hundreds of names, including Michael Jackson, Donald Trump, Leonardo Di Caprio, and David Copperfield. 

While the list is extensive, many of those mentioned are not identified as having been involved in wrongdoings, they simply had some association with Epstein at the times of his crimes which led them to meet some of his victims.  

The unsealing of these court documents could lead to those mentioned facing consequences, however as with many cases of sexual misconduct, it is also highly probable that nothing is progressed with and that those accused do not go to trial. 



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