The following was originally written for and published by Revolution Now Magazine.
This article is part two of a double feature.
After the death of finance mogul and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the internet erupted in conspiracy theories about the details surrounding his 'suicide,' which was committed while he was at prison, after he was removed from suicide watch for reasons that remain unknown. Even after autopsy reports ruled out foul play, many internet theories remain popular. Most of these theories surround the fact that Epstein had numerous connections to extremely powerful figures, who theorists claimed could have assassinated him to cover up their involvement with his sex trafficking crimes. This article will examine two of the main conspiracy theories regarding Epstein's death and what the evidence says about them.
Theory 1: The Clinton Assassination Theory
The Theory: This theory gained traction when conservative commentator Terrence K. Williams tweeted that Bill Clinton, who was a social acquaintance of Epstein’s, had something to do with Epstein’s death, but it wasn’t until President Donald Trump retweeted this claim that it really took off. Trump also said that, in the days following Epstein’s death, Bill Clinton had traveled on Epstein’s private plane “27 or 28 times,” and questioned if this meant he’d travelled with Epstein to the island of the alleged crimes. “The question you have to ask is, did Bill Clinton go to the island? Because Epstein had an island. That was not a good place, as I understand it, and I was never there,” Trump said, “So you have to ask, did Bill Clinton go to the island? That’s the question. If you find that out, you’re going to know a lot.”
Original tweet by Terrence K. Williams, which Trump later retweeted. *Note: Falsely claims that Epstein was on 24/7 suicide watch.The Facts: Flight logs from 2002, brought forth in a lawsuit filed by one of his victims show nothing of the sort. While several figures linked to the Clinton family have died in the past, every one of those circumstances has been proven to have nothing to do with the Clintons.
Theory 2: The Trump Ties Theory
The Theory: This theory is rooted in Epstein’s connection to Donald Trump, and alleges that Trump, fearing that Epstein’s trial would unveil incriminating information against him, either assisted Epstein in his suicide, or had him killed to prevent the information from coming out. While Trump and Epstein were connected, Epstein frequently visited Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, and Trump even told a New York Magazine reporter, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy... He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” Screenshots from a lawsuit filed in 2016, in which an anonymous woman accused Trump and Epstein of raping her when she was 13 years old, were posted online in the days following Epstein’s death, with the caption, “this is why Epstein died.”
The Facts: Many journalists who tried to investigate the lawsuit deemed it messy and not credible. The lawsuit was then dropped on November 4, 2016, four days before the 2016 presidential election, and the claims were never proven.
While claims about the involvement of these high-profile political leaders in the Epstein's death are largely unfounded, numerous high-profile public figures, including British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and Duke of York Prince Andrew, remain under serious scrutiny for potential involvement in the sex trafficking crimes committed by Epstein. However, with Epstein's lips sealed forever, there's yet another obstacle blocking prosecutors from separating the rumors and the truth.
The following was originally written for and published by Revolution Now Magazine.
This article is part one of a double feature.
Disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell on August 10th after accusations of sex trafficking minors. What followed was a myriad of speculation and conspiracy theories involving many prominent public figures, from the Clinton family to the United Kingdom’s Prince Andrew. What do we know surrounding Epstein’s sudden death, and how does it all connect?
Epstein had previous convictions. In June of 2008, he appeared before a judge in a Palm Beach County, Florida courtroom to plead guilty to felony charges for procuring a minor for prostitution. Epstein arranged a plea deal with former U.S. attorney Alex Acosta which allowed for all grand jury subpoenas to be voided, and the severity of Epstein’s charges to be lowered. He was released from jail in July 2009 after serving only 13 months of his 18-month sentence (most of which was spent on ‘work release’ in a private wing of the prison). After it was discovered that he had never originally registered as a sex offender, he was forced to do so in 2011.
His accusers challenged the prior statutory rape sentence in court, which developed into charges of child sex trafficking. As more girls came forward, his accusers challenged him in court in an attempt to get him to serve a more stern sentence. This time, he was accused of not only statutory rape, but also for running a sex trafficking ring. According to Federal prosecutors, Epstein paid girls as young as 14 hundreds of dollars in cash for sex at either his Manhattan townhouse or his estate in Palm Beach. He was arrested on charges of child sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. He pled not guilty, and faced up to 45 years in prison.
He allegedly enlisted help from a group of female associates. In the wake of his suicide, federal authorities found a new focus in their investigation: the dozens of women, including Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and Epstein's ex-girlfriend, who solicited young girls to come to Epstein’s home and give him ‘massages.’ Police said these massages would become sexual, and some of the girls told police Epstein would use sex toys on them while he got a "massage."
Some of Epstein’s crimes allegedly took place on his private Caribbean island. Little Saint James, in the US Virgin Islands, was purchased by Epstein in 1998. Known to locals as “Pedophile Island,” his victims’ lawyers allege that this is where some of the worst abuses took place. Court documents claim that then-17 year old Virginia Roberts was made to have sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions: in London, in New York, and as part of an orgy on Little Saint James. Bill Clinton is widely said to have traveled to Little Saint James, but flight logs, security records and Clinton representatives have since dispelled this rumor.
Epstein’s death was mired in suspicion. Thirty-eight minutes before news of Epstein’s death broke in the mainstream media, an anonymous 4chan author published a message that read, “Don’t ask me how I know, but Epstein died an hour ago from hanging, cardiac arrest. Screencap this.” The jail where Epstein was being held was also found to have made several errors in security, such as removing Epstein from suicide watch. In addition to this, the New York Times reported that two of the guards charged with surveilling Epstein slept through two of his scheduled checks, and falsified records that the checks took place. These suspicious details sparked speculation about whether his death could’ve been more complicated than suicide.
His death was ruled a suicide by examiners. The chief medical examiner in New York, Dr. Barbara Sampson, released a statement Friday that ruled out foul play, and placed Epstein’s cause of death as suicide by hanging. Alongside an autopsy, Dr. Sampson stated that there had been “careful review of all investigative materials.” Epstein’s legal team responded shortly after, saying, “The defense team fully intends to conduct its own independent and complete investigation into the circumstances and cause of Mr. Epstein’s death.” His lawyers also stated they were prepared to sue the government for access to surveillance video from the time of their client’s death.
He signed a will shortly before his suicide. On August 8th, just two days before Epstein was to be found dead in his jail cell, he signed a last will and testament. The executors of this will, Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, are tasked with transferring all of Epstein’s property into a trust fund entitled the ‘1953 Trust.’ Though it is unclear who will receive the proceeds of Epstein’s estate, court documents show his brother, Mark, as the sole heir to the $577 million fortune.
What happens next? The criminal case involving Epstein himself is over, but now the focus shifts to the lawsuits filed against his estate. Jennifer Araoz, who says Epstein raped her when she was 15 years old, filed suit on August 14th. “I am here because today is my first step towards reclaiming my power. Jeffrey Epstein and his network of enablers stole from me. They robbed me of my youth, my identity, my innocence and my self-worth,” said Araoz in an opinion piece published by the New York Times. Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have stated that they will continue to investigate any and all conspirators who aided Epstein in his crimes, though the likelihood of charges being brought against them is uncertain.