The Jeffrey Epstein “apparent suicide” story wasn’t in the news for 24 hours – hell, it probably wasn’t even a half an hour – when conspiracy theories began appearing on the Internet.
Then conspiracy interest exploded because Trump retweeted one.
Condemnation for Trump’s action was immediate, and widespread:
And while we were all agog at Trump’s action, we were distracted from something very obvious:
The possibility that Epstein isn’t dead.
I believe he is not.
My first thought, when I heard Epstein was dead, was “No, he isn’t. Epstein cut a deal with people in high places, and he was spirited away somewhere safe because he knows too much about too many men, and he has the photos and videos to prove it.”
Let’s put the puzzle together, piece by piece.
#1. Our government is very good at making people disappear. It’s called the Witness Protection Program, or WITSEC. According to usmarshals.gov/witsec/:
The U.S. Marshals have protected, relocated and given new identities to more than 8,600 witnesses and 9,900 of their family members, since the program began in 1971.
Witnesses and their families typically get new identities with authentic documentation. Housing, subsistence for basic living expenses and medical care are provided to the witnesses. Job training and employment assistance may also be provided.
No Witness Security Program participant, following program guidelines, has been harmed or killed while under the active protection of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The government doesn’t have to use Epstein as a witness. They just give him a new identity, park him on some obscure tropical island like Ko Lipe or Aitutaki, and no one’s the wiser.
Epstein was already in a federal prison – how hard could it have been for the Feds to spirit him away?
#2. First there was an “alleged suicide attempt,” to set up the “real” deal. Epstein was in the MCC (Metropolitan Correctional Center). On July 23, “Epstein had been found semiconscious in his cell with marks on his neck – though it was not clear if he had tried to harm himself or had been attacked,” according to New York’s Magazine’s Intelligencer.
What happened that day is still not clear.
Epstein was placed in a special cell on suicide watch. But on July 29, for reasons that are also not clear as of today, he was taken off suicide watch and returned to the MCC special housing unit.
“Typically,” said Intelligencer, “that should have only happened if the prison’s chief psychologist approved the change after evaluating the inmate and justifying why they are no longer at risk of harming themselves.”
As to why Epstein was taken off suicide watch, there was this in the August 12 The Hill:
“Defense attorneys pushed for Jeffrey Epstein to be taken off suicide watch ahead of his death on Saturday, an unidentified source told ABC News.”
And this, from the August 12 Washington Examiner:
“Epstein’s lawyers requested that Epstein be taken off suicide watch, which requires around-the-clock surveillance of an inmate, in late July, according to the Wall Street Journal.”
Did his lawyers request this?
I anticipate much finger pointing in the coming days.
#3. Who oh-so-quickly named Epstein’s “death” an “apparent suicide”? According to the Washington Post, “The Bureau of Prisons and Attorney General William P. Barr called the death an ‘apparent suicide’” after Epstein was pronounced dead at the hospital where he’d been taken on August 10.
If that was Epstein’s body.
Why was Barr, in particular, in such a rush to pronounce this an “apparent suicide”?
And why has Barr inserted himself into this?
He’s making all sorts of public pronouncements, and a lot of noise about being “appalled” and “angry” and “demanding” an investigation, and that’s what is happening – there are now two investigations into Epstein’s death, one by the FBI and another by the inspector general.
The FBI has more than 35,000 employees. Why doesn’t Barr just back off and let the FBI do its job?
Because he’s Trump’s boy, and he does whatever Trump tells him to do.
And – sadly – is the FBI doing what Barr tells them to do? Is this another Trump trumped-up favorite: a “national emergency” but this time, a secret?
One last note about Barr. Barr is the head of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is part of Barr’s DOJ.
#4. Epstein rolled with high rollers – and according to at least one of his alleged victims, he has videos and photos. Since before Epstein’s arrest, among the names that have been connected to him are Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and attorney Alan Dershowitz. After the release of new documents on July 8, the list grew to include hedge fund billionaire Glenn Dubin; former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson; former Democratic Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell; the late MIT computer scientist Marvin Minsky; and MC2 model agency cofounder Jean Luc Brunel.
In a 2015 article The Guardian reported that Virginia Roberts,
“The woman who alleges that she was made to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17 has told a court she believes U.S. authorities hold video footage of her having underage sex with powerful associates of Andrew’s friend Jeffrey Epstein.
“Roberts went on in her affidavit on Friday to allege that authorities already hold evidence ‘that will support what I have been saying about Epstein and his associates,’ including the video and photographic material. She said she did not understand why no action had been taken.”
If “U.S. authorities hold video footage,” why haven’t they made it public? I believe “video and photographic material” exists, but I think it’s in Epstein’s hands, not U.S. authorities.
It wasn’t just Virginia Roberts whom Epstein kept a record of; according to the July 8, 2019 New York Times:
“Prosecutors said they seized hundreds, and possibly thousands, of ‘sexually suggestive’ pictures of nude or partially nude young women and girls during a search of Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse on Saturday, conducted at roughly the same time the financier was arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.
“The cache of photos, some of which were discovered in a locked safe that also contained CDs with labels like ‘Girl pics nude,’ demonstrate the predatory attitude that Mr. Epstein continues to have toward young women, prosecutors said.”
Clearly, Epstein was a man who liked to keep records.
#5. Epstein was rich, but not from “hedge-fund management.” The media often label Epstein as “billionaire hedge-fund manager,” but it’s easy to find plenty of information online that contradicts this:
From the July 11, 2019 New York Magazine Intelligencer:
“For decades, Epstein has been credulously described as a big-time hedge-fund manager and a billionaire, even though there’s not a lot of evidence that he is either.”
“…the hedge-fund managers we spoke to leaned toward the theory that Epstein was running a blackmail scheme under the cover of a hedge fund.”
“The fact that Epstein’s fund is offshore in a tax haven – it is based in the U.S. Virgin Islands – and has a secret client list both add credence to the blackmail theory.”
From Fortune, July 8, 2019:
(In a 2002 New York Magazine profile), “Epstein is described as someone who’s successes and failures weren’t played out in public. ‘Epstein breaks the mold,’ the magazine wrote. ‘Most everyone on the Street has heard of him, but nobody seems to know what the hell he is up to. Which is just the way he likes it.’”
“That has been the motif of Jeffrey Epstein’s last 16 years,’” said Ward [Vicky Ward, a journalist who wrote a 2003 Vanity Fair story]. “He’s been untouchable, given a free pass by the very rich people, the very powerful people with whom he socializes and perhaps over whom he has leverage.’”
From Forbes, also on July 8, 2019:
“Forbes, however, has never included Epstein, 66, in its rankings of the World’s Billionaires, since there is scant proof he holds a ten-figure fortune. As we wrote in 2010, ‘The source of his wealth – a money management firm in the U.S. Virgin Islands – generates no public records, nor has his client list ever been released.’”
And Barron’s, on July 17, 2019:
“Most day traders and professional money managers underperform the market, and from the only public evidence of his trading, Epstein was as mediocre as the rest. Whatever else Epstein was, it appears he was no stock-market wizard.”
That Epstein has money is not in debate. But the source of that money very much is.
I find the suggestion of blackmail totally credible.
#6. Is there video of Epstein’s “death”? It’s hard to tell. The day after, stories ranged from “there were no cameras in his cell” to, “there were cameras, but they malfunctioned” to, “suicide supposedly nearly impossible at ultra-secure Jeffrey Epstein lockup.”
As of today it appears the MCC special housing unit has cameras, but not pointing into inmate cells.
And if a video surfaces of Epstein committing suicide, here’s a reminder of how easy it is to fake that:
This “deepfake video” of Mark Zuckerberg posted on Instagram in June showed how easy it is to create them – and how easy it is for people to believe them.
One could argue that any videos of men with Epstein’s alleged victims could be deepfake as well. But in-depth examination by professionals would distinguish the deepfake from the real. Deepfake videos can fool the saps who believe everything on social media is true, but not the experts.
#7. Will Epstein’s family and friends cooperate with this cover-up? Epstein’s has one sibling, his younger brother Mark, age 64.
Mark is listed on the Board of Directors of The Humpty Dumpty Institute, described on its website as,
“a unique non-profit organization dedicated to tackling difficult global and domestic issues by establishing innovative and strategic public/private partnerships that provide sensible solutions to serious problems.”
The website’s bio on Mark includes this:
“Mr. Epstein decided to semi-retire at age 39 to be able to devote more time to non-profit interests including Cooper Union, The New School Concert Series, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, Ballet Inc., the United Nations and the Humpty Dumpty Institute.”
And yet, this article in the August 13 Daily Beast…
Describes Mark as “a real estate magnate” and talks about “sizable donations and loans to several prominent nonprofits he worked with,” donating “at least $500,000 to his alma mater, Cooper Union, in 2009,” and,
“Along with his New York City properties, [Mark] Epstein maintains an estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, as well as rental properties in Newburgh, New York, and a home in Pennsylvania.”
How do you “semi-retire” 25 years ago, and do and have all that?
When the Daily Beast contacted him,
“Mark Epstein hung up on a reporter who called for comment and declined to respond to questions sent by text.”
This seems to confirm this headline in the August 12 Wall Street Journal:
And according to CBS This Morning on August 13, 2019
“CBS News has learned that Epstein’s estranged brother Marc was called and he identified Epstein’s body.”
“Called and identified” – does that mean he saw the body, or just discussed it over the phone?
I have not seen the CBS statement confirmed in any other coverage.
I’ll suggest Mark would prefer his finances be kept under wraps, and is doing what he’s told.
As for Jeffrey Epstein’s friends, we know Epstein has many associates and attorneys.
- Former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell? Whereabouts unknown.
- Longtime business associate Les Wexner? Said he split ties with Jeffrey Epstein, his former money manager, 12 years ago.
- Alan Dershowitz – the high-profile attorney who was part of the legal team that negotiated Epstein’s 2007 plea deal – but a friend?
- Trump, Clinton, Richardson, Mitchell, Dubin, Brunel, Prince Andrew?
If Epstein had any friends, no one is raising their hand at the moment.
#8. No matter how many alleged victims name names, without evidence it’s still he-said-she-said. And Epstein has the evidence: photos and videotapes. As long as Epstein – and his evidence – are safe, so are the accused. They’ve no doubt hired high-profile attorneys and will walk away from this.
#9. Nobody will believe that Epstein isn’t dead. Everyone is speaking in terms of Epstein being dead: The president. Attorney General William Barr. The Bureau of Prisons. No one in the media is challenging this.
Except on social media, according to Politifact on August 12:
“Bloggers and Facebookers are saying that Epstein is still alive.
“U.S. corrections officials announced his death. The New York City medical examiner performed an autopsy. The U.S. Attorney General, federal prosecutors and an Epstein lawyer have said he is dead.
“To think otherwise requires that scores of officials with direct observation of Epstein’s death are either fooled or complicit.”
This article said “complicit” as though it’s a bad word to our government.
I have a one-word response to that:
And one reminder:
“Then I have an Article 2, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”
– Trump, July 23, 2019
Here are my predictions:
- Epstein’s “apparent suicide” happened on August 10. After the requisite amount of finger pointing – now including an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee
– this story will fade. It’s already dropped from the lead story to #4, or #6 or #7. Remember the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton? Those occurred less than two weeks ago, and now – they’re barely on the radar. The same will happen with the Epstein story.
- Epstein’s accusers will slog their way through the court system and perhaps get some money from his estate, but will never get the satisfaction of knowing he’s spending the rest of his life in prison.
- For awhile – but only for awhile – we’ll be left wondering, while we focus on the current headlines: the mysterious explosion at a Russian offshore military site that involved a missile’s nuclear power source…the Hong Kong protestors…the 2020 election candidates and who said what about or to whom…the stock market…the latest mass shooting…Trump’s offensive and hate-filled tweets.
- The bits and pieces will continue to trickle out: “Epstein’s body has been claimed by someone described only as an ‘Epstein associate…’” “Autopsy finds broken bones in Jeffrey Epstein’s neck”…“Ghislaine Maxwell was recently living at a secluded mansion in a small New England beach town…”
But will the truth come out?
Which brings us to…
Nine puzzle pieces, with one remaining:
#10. Where is Jeffrey Epstein?
I’ll simply say: I don’t know where Jeffrey Epstein is, but he’s probably not in need of the “housing, subsistence for basic living expenses and medical care,” or the “job training and employment assistance” provided by the Witness Protection Program.
The same program in which no one “has been harmed or killed while under the active protection of the U.S. Marshals Service.”
I believe he’s alive, secure in his blackmail strategy, and living well.
Ko Lipe? Maybe. Aitutaki? Possibly. Definitely not on his private Caribbean island.