Anatomy of the Epstein Scandal

Was there ever a better scandal for the sexual-industrial complex than that of Jeffrey Epstein, proprietor of Paedophile Island in the Caribbean and captain of the Lolita Express, a private airline with Handcuff class?

I realize that Epstein, strapped into his slammer, was either murdered or committed suicide in summer of 2019, and his dark arts accomplice and procuress, Ghislaine Maxwell, is serving about 85 years in some maximum-security dungeon, but that doesn’t stop the tabloid press from running scandal updates on an almost daily basis, as if the Underworld According to Jeffrey Epstein is on an eternal Page Six loop.

In all of these breathless dispatches, there is the same picture of Prince Andrew with his arm around the teenaged Virginia Giuffre, or the familiar shot of Maxwell canoodling with the Evil Epstein, and then, in the accompanying text, there are the same whispered reports about all the A-listers—Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, and Alan Dershowitz among them—who may (or may not) have either flown united or come ashore on the treasured island.

What’s even better about the scandal, especially for the prurient Murdoch press, is that it is 100% libel-free, the journalistic equivalent of sugar-free tiramisu or margaritas that don’t give you a headache.

Obviously, Prince Andrew isn’t going to sue Fleet Street or its US equivalent for replaying his Penthouse-letter fantasies. (“Dear Polo Magazine, I never thought I would be writing you this letter…”) Nor is Clinton, Trump, Gates or the dozens of other jet setters who decided to let Ep “manage their money.” They are the Peoples’ Piñata that each day is set in type with a large picture of Epstein staring lasciviously at the camera; original sin was never so guilt-free.

If the press was at all interested in the details of the scandals—which it is not—by now someone would have come forward with a touch of research into what compliance departments might call “the source” of Epstein’s funds.

In every Epstein press account, he’s identified as a “disgraced money manager” who at the time of his demise was worth some half a billion dollars. But as best I can tell, Epstein had only one line of business—that of blackmail.

It seems inconceivable that in between jetting around with Bill Clinton, preying on girls outside junior high schools, and kitting out Paedophile Island with bondage and recording equipment, he had any additional time to read brokerage reports or even to sell lemonade to the long line of celebrities waiting in the sunshine outside his front doors.

Nor have I seen in any of the press reports a quote from one of his clients testifying to his abilities as a money manager. As best I can tell, the only market he ever cornered was that of compromising film, which, I assume, he then exchanged with his customers, say, for $5 million. Clearly they paid, and to judge by Clinton’s frequent flyer miles on the Lolita (seats never in the upright position), Epstein found repeat customers.

Given that everyone from Prince Andrew on down knew the score of the gothic opera, you do wonder how night manager Jeffrey managed to keep his doors open so long, even after Florida police locked him up (admittedly only at night) on a prostitution rap in 2008.

I assume that his bootlegging clients believed that such a conviction only proved Epstein was serving them grade-A liquor, not something that had been watered down. Plus he wasn’t the first hustler who counted the chief of police among his clients. If there’s a painting of Bill Clinton wearing a dress in the front hall (as there was), who is going to raid the premises and arrest the piano player?

Which brings us to the political nexus of Epsteinphilia, as what he seemed to do best is blackmail well-renowned globalists, both in the US and the UK. I am sure once he got the hang of The Sting (young girls, older gentlemen, fine international cuisine, discreet cameras, and then an awkward drink at the bar with a few snapshots on his phone), Epstein must have figured it was just as easy to shake down men in high places as it was to roll insurance salesmen in town from Indianapolis. Besides, to the billionaire set, $5 million for a night on the island probably sounded like dinner and a movie on the mainland.

Given Epstein’s sordid crimes—human trafficking was just his starter kit—and given his fifteen-year relationship with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, you might think that the Epstein – Trump connection would be causing the Republicans some second thoughts about their frontman. But neither the party nor its standard bearer seems at all concerned that Trump might well have been one of Epstein’s punters. (Before she was pimped out to Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre worked at Mar-a-Lago as a spa attendant.)

Alas, I no more expect Trump to be held accountable for his sexual transgressions—where are the cases of the 26 women, other than E. Jean Carroll’s, who sued him for assorted violations and perversion?—than I expect the all-expense paid Supreme Court to uphold his eventual criminal convictions and send him up the Jack Smith River.

Sexually, Trump can be Epstein, just as, financially, he can be Madoff and, politically, he can be Crédit Mobilier, and none of it seems to matter except to a few YouTube vloggers and the Lincoln Project.

Part of the reason he enjoys such political immunity is because Bill Clinton and even the saintly Al Gore might well have been Pedo islanders. Clearly, by that point, The Game was in the political mainstream. In bridge such a hand is bid as “two no-trump.”

Matthew Stevenson is the author of many books, including Reading the Rails, Appalachia Spring, andThe Revolution as a Dinner Party, about China throughout its turbulent twentieth century. His most recent books are Biking with Bismarck and Our Man in Iran. Out now: Donald Trump’s Circus Maximus and Joe Biden’s Excellent Adventure, about the 2016 and 2020 elections.