The rich and famous appeared to have few qualms about palling around with Jeffrey Epstein following the disgraced financier’s 13-month prison stay for soliciting sex from an underage girl, with boldface names appearing on his schedule such as Chris Rock, David Blaine, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon, and the former CEO of one of Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casinos.
That’s according to a tranche of emails obtained by The Daily Beast, which reveal others who showed up on Epstein’s dance card as having included music industry titan Tommy Mottola, Wendi Murdoch, Russian supermodel Irina Shayk, late comedian David Brenner, artist Jeff Koons, the president of Mongolia, and not one, but two former Norwegian prime ministers. Epstein also often indulged in his infamous “appointments,” with longtime executive assistant Lesley Groff setting up multitudes of sessions with young women to service him.
The emails, which The Daily Beast received from authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands via a Freedom of Information Act request, indicate Epstein’s well-connected life proceeded seemingly unhindered by his status as a registered sex offender after his 2008 felony conviction in Florida.
Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to state charges of procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and felony solicitation of prostitution, and served more than a year of an 18-month sentence before being released. When he got out, a judge ordered him confined to his Palm Beach home, as part of his year-long probation. But the terms of both Epstein’s incarceration and his house arrest were unusually lax, and he was allowed to travel between Florida, New York, and his private Caribbean island without undue restriction. When his probation ended in July 2010, Epstein was forced to register as a Level III sex offender–a threat to public safety at risk of reoffending–for the rest of his life.
A few months later, he downplayed the designation to a New York Post reporter, insisting, “I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender. It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.”
Epstein died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal child sex-trafficking charges.
Most of the messages in the new document dump were sent between Epstein and Groff, and concerned her boss’ intensely busy schedule. Groff, whom prosecutors deemed a “potential co-conspirator,” was never formally charged.
In one email, which Epstein sent at 5:12 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2010—some six months before his probation ended—he reminded Groff about a meeting that evening with Dimon and JP Morgan executive Jes Staley (whom some now see as the bank’s fall guy for its relationship with Epstein).
“i have schedule [sic] ben at 230, tues, peter at 730 jes staley and dimon and [sic] 9,” the email read.
These days, those who appeared on Epstein’s to-do list want no association with him. Patricia Wexler, a JP Morgan spokeswoman, denied that Dimon, who is set to be questioned as part of an ongoing civil probe into the bank’s relationship with Epstein, ever personally interacted with his one-time client.
“Also on Epstein’s schedule were at least one appointment with Irina Shayk, phone calls with Tommy Mottola, get-togethers with Jeff Koons, meet-ups with Wendi Murdoch, and dinners out with magician David Blaine. ”
“No such meeting was scheduled or occurred,” Wexler told The Daily Beast. “In fact, there are other emails that made it clear that only Staley attended that meeting. Our CEO never met with him, spoke with him, or emailed or otherwise communicated with him.”
In another exchange, this one dated Jan. 26, 2014, Groff laid out the details of a gathering Epstein had planned for that evening at Madison Avenue’s now-defunct Ristorante Morini. The guest list included, among others, Woody and Soon-Yi Allen, Jes Staley, David Brenner, and “maybe Chris Rock,” the email showed.
A representative for Rock declined to comment on any relationship the comedian may have had with Epstein. However, a representative of Rock’s strongly insisted to The Daily Beast that the funnyman never crossed paths with Epstein in any way.
Groff’s attorney, Michael Bachner, said in an email, “Over the course of Ms Groff‘s employment with Mr. Epstein, she made hundreds of appointments every day for him for a wide range of individuals, including professors, politicians, actors and their spouses. It was simply not her function to ask the reason for any appointment and never suspected that Mr. Epstein was engaged in illegal conduct. Not surprisingly, Ms. Groff was notified by law enforcement well over a year ago that she would not be charged with any wrongdoing in connection with her employment with Mr. Epstein.”
Staley and Allen did not respond to requests for comment. Brenner died in March 2014.
Epstein regularly mixed business with partying and appointments with women who were often described just by their first names.
An Apr. 28, 2011 email from Groff to Epstein reminded him about a 9 p.m. dinner he had scheduled with Bill Gates, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and Jes Staley from JP Morgan, following an afternoon appointment with two women identified only by their first names. After dinner, Epstein was set to attend a “Vogue After Party at Boom Boom Room,” hosted by hotelier and ex-Uma Thurman paramour Andre Balasz.
In the message, Groff also mentioned an upcoming meeting with a former top executive for Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casino operation.
“Nick Ribis will not be in NY now on Sunday, but says Monday he believes he could see you,” Groff wrote. “OK to schedule Nick to come see you on Monday instead?”
“ok. will see if he is still around Wed,” Epstein replied. (Ribis did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment left on a phone number associated with his name in public records.)
In a Sept. 20, 2013 email, Groff informed Epstein that an upcoming meal planned with Gates and others was “TBD,” but that “Richard Branson may join the dinner.”
A Branson spokesperson declined to comment on the record. However, a source within the Branson camp claimed Branson never attended the dinner, saying he was in the U.K. on that date, hosting the “Stars of the Year” event for the Virgin Group, followed by a Virgin Trains staff party.
Gates did not respond to requests for comment, but has said that while he and Epstein had “several dinners” together, he now considers the relationship to have been a “huge mistake.” Summers, who did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment, said earlier this month that he “deeply regrets” maintaining a post-conviction relationship with Epstein.
“Epstein and right-wing billionaire Peter Thiel had a flurry of interactions in the fall of 2014.”
“Their interactions primarily focused on global economic issues,” a spokesperson for Summers told The Wall Street Journal.
Balasz did not respond to requests for comment.
On Nov. 19, 2012, Epstein’s schedule showed a 12 o’clock lunch with businessman Todd Meister, who in 2004 was briefly engaged to Nicky Hilton, and forwarded Epstein a note from Woody Allen’s assistant, which said, “Woody was wondering if Jeffrey would be interested in watching his new film either today or tomorrow? We’re still running the last few days of a tight schedule on the sets but hope Jeffrey can catch the film meanwhile.” (Meister did not respond to a request for comment.)
Allen, whose name pops up regularly on Epstein’s schedule, planned to bring Soon-Yi to Epstein’s townhouse for dinner in July 2015, according to one email from Groff. Soon-Yi said to “surprise them,” Groff told Epstein, in reference to what the couple wanted to eat.
Also on Epstein’s schedule were at least one appointment with Irina Shayk, phone calls with Tommy Mottola, get-togethers with Jeff Koons, meet-ups with Wendi Murdoch, and dinners out with magician David Blaine. The emails show Blaine set to “stop by toward the end” of a dinner with Epstein and futurist Pablos Holman and actress Jessica Joffe in June 2013, another in September of that year, and a third dinner with Epstein in January 2014. On April 4, 2013, Groff sent Epstein an email reading, “Reminder: David Blaine’s birthday is April 4.”
In a phone interview, Holman said he thought he remembered being in Northern California at the time of the dinner, but conceded he wasn’t exactly sure. Holman did know Blaine, he continued, but described Epstein as “toxic.” At the same time, Holman said that if he had in fact attended a dinner with Epstein, he “probably wouldn’t want to say anything about it.”
Reached by phone last Friday, Mottola brusquely asked how The Daily Beast got his personal cell phone number. Informed that it came from an email chain involving Epstein, Mottola referred the Beast to his publicist, Cindy Berger. She later sent comment from Mottola, who said, “Mr. Epstein and I shared some mutual acquaintances, and he called me several times to request concert tickets, as many people do.”
Shayk, Joffe, Blaine, and Blaine’s publicist did not respond to requests for comment.
Koons and Epstein also seem to have been somewhat close, with the conceptual artist joining Epstein for several dinners, bringing his wife Justine along at least once. There was a “TBD” lunch with Koons and Woody Allen in September 2013, followed by another TBD to “Go see Jeff Koons big s studio in NJ(?).” (Koons, Shayk, and Murdoch did not respond to requests for comment.)
The former president of Mongolia, Tsakhiagin Elbegdorj, was on Epstein’s calendar in 2013, Microsoft founder Bill Gates attended a dinner at Epstein’s lavish Manhattan townhouse in September 2014, according to the scheduling emails. Others present at the gathering included Gates’ then-wife Melinda; former Norwegian Prime Minister, Nobel Committee chair, and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland; and Larry Summers. In all, Gates—who reportedly believed Epstein’s connections could help him get a Nobel Peace Prize—met with Epstein at least five times, the emails show.
Another former Norwegian PM, Kjell Magne Bondevik, had breakfast with Epstein on Oct. 4, 2013, according to the emails. The month before, Groff sent Epstein a note: “Reminder: Kissinger is free starting evening of Sept. 23rd.”
Jagland was unable to be reached for comment. He has previously denied ever meeting or being in contact with Epstein, although a 2020 investigation by Norwegian business daily Dagens Næringsliv reportedly found this to be untrue. Elbergdorj, Bondevik, and Kissinger did not respond to requests for comment.
Epstein and right-wing billionaire Peter Thiel had a flurry of interactions in the fall of 2014, the emails reveal. On Sept. 7, 2014, Groff reminded Epstein that he was scheduled that day to see Thiel, among a raft of others including Gates, Summers, and former Obama White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler. Thiel was also scheduled for a dinner with Epstein and Woody Allen on Sept. 12, 2014, a Sept. 13, 2014 meeting with Epstein, a “tentative lunch” with Epstein on Sept. 14, 2014, and another meeting with Epstein on Sept. 22, 2014.
Norwegian diplomat Terje Rød-Larsen also appears numerous times on Epstein’s calendar, with various meetings and dinner parties scheduled throughout 2013 and 2014. Other guests invited to the same gatherings included, among others, Gates, Summers, and billionaire Leon Black, who has admitted to personal dealings with Epstein but insisted the relationship was “limited” and in 2019 told investors that his company, Apollo Global Management, had “never done any business with Mr. Epstein at any point in time.”
Thiel and his spokesman did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment. Larsen, who played a key role in the creation of the Oslo Peace accords, was unable to be reached, but in 2020 resigned “in shame” as the head of the International Peace Institute (IPI) in New York after revelations emerged that the widely-respected diplomat had visited Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion more than 20 times, had solicited Epstein for donations to IPI, and was personally in hock to Epstein for $130,000.
Ruemmler did not respond to a request for comment. However, a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs, where Ruemmler is now chief legal officer and general counsel, recently told The Wall Street Journal that Ruemmler’s relationship with Epstein was strictly business, and that she never traveled with him. “I regret ever knowing Jeffrey Epstein,” Ruemmler told the outlet.
Epstein maintained an active nightlife, attending a Sept. 2014 screening of The Equalizer at the AMC Lincoln Square IMAX theater on Broadway, followed by an afterparty at Rande Gerber’s Stone Rose Lounge, as well as a screening of jazz documentary Keep on Keepin’ On, followed by an afterparty at the Tribeca Grand hotel. He also attended to more mundane matters, such as a doctor’s appointment for bone spurs.
Epstein hanged himself in 2019 as he awaited trial in a Manhattan lockup on federal sex trafficking charges. But while he is gone, the heartwrenching pain he inflicted on others has hardly been forgotten. Earlier this month, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay a $75 million settlement to victims who said the global financial services firm failed to report obvious sex trafficking activities by its former client.
“The scope and scale of Epstein’s abuse, and the many years it continued in plain sight, could not have happened without the collaboration and support of many powerful individuals and institutions,” attorney David Boies, whose firm represents some of the plaintiffs in the massive civil case against Deutsche Bank, said in a statement.
The payout will be distributed to some 125 women who were victimized by Epstein. Epstein’s estate was last year ordered to pay $105 million to the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, where many of his crimes took place. A victims’ compensation fund set up after Epstein’s death issued more than $121 million to roughly 150 women victimized by Epstein, with some individuals receiving more than $1 million.
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