On Wednesday, a judge unsealed a brand new set of fillings from a court case linked to the infamous deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. By now, it is commonly known as “the list.” Before their release, the documents brought back the mass media’s attention to the long-gestating conspiracy theories about prominent figures who were once orbiting around Epstein, including former president Bill Clinton and GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
Obviously, now both Democrats and Republicans are presented with a new opportunity to link their opponents with Epstein’s crimes. Given the documents were misinterpreted on social media as “the list” of potential clients and co-conspirators, there was an intense focus on who and what they would expose and if prominent Epstein associates would be explicitly tied to his trafficking of minors.
But the truth is that many people who are referenced in this list aren’t accused of wrongdoing. The list doesn’t represent a client list, either. The list represents a dozen documents from a 2015 court case filed by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre against Epstein’s co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell, who has also been convicted of child sex trafficking.
These documents point towards 150 of Epstein’s associates, Clinton and Trump included, but they don’t necessarily provide new information but more like an in-depth look at the people who were once part of his circle. There haven’t been any revelations up until now, but political parties are still eager to use these filings to amplify the conspiracy theories they’ve so long promoted.
More about the Epstein list
Following a request from the Miami Herald, the judge in the Maxwell case, Loretta Preska, ruled in favor of unsealing the infamous documents from the well-known defamation case against Maxwell. She stated that most of that information was already public.
As you might know already, Epstein is a millionaire businessman charged with sex trafficking. Maxwell, a former socialite and his forever confidant, also faced numerous allegations that they both contributed to the se*ual abuse and assault of minors and also enabled and helped other powerful individuals to do the same.
Epstein’s death, which was ruled a suicide by federal authorities, happened in prison while he was awaiting trial. The unsealed documents come from different court filings, emails, police reports, and government documents, but also depositions with figures highly relevant to the case, including former employees and victims of Epstein and Maxwell and other police officers.
The depositions include accusations of se*ual misconduct by well-known figures that were in Epstein’s circles and also narrate how the two of them recruited girls and young women to work on his properties. Moreover, it details various s*x acts that some of the young women were coerced into, often under the pretext of giving massages or participating in lingerie modeling jobs.
Accounts given to Florida law enforcement as part of the 2000 investigation into the Epstain case also include various interviews with various people, many of them minors, who were forced into sex acts. In their statement to the police, they describe giving Epstein massages that rapidly turned se*ual. Some even stated that they were given money to recruit others.
Who is mentioned, and what can we learn about them?
There are quite a few politicians and celebrities mentioned on those lists. Besides Clinton and Trump, the UK’s Prince Andrew, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (who passed away), and former Senator George Mitchell make surprising appearances. Clinton and Trump also face allegations of se*ual misconduct unrelated to Epstein. However, it’s worth specifying that not everyone mentioned has.
Bill Clinton, for example, who is known to have taken many plane trips with Epstein, is mentioned on this list. Epstein accuser Johanna Sjoberg also testified, mentioning that Epstein told her that “Clinton really likes them young,” but it was also mentioned that she wasn’t aware of Clinton engaging in any kind of inappropriate contact with minors at Epstein’s invitation.
Donald Trump is also mentioned. Sjoberg testified that Epstein once decided to go to a casino in Atlantic City with Trump, but the references don’t detail any wrongdoing. Back in 2002, Trump previously mentioned that he had known Epstein for over “15 years.” As you can expect, he deeply praised Epstein, stating that “he likes women as much as I do.”
Separately, Prince Andrew settled a case with Giuffre, who accused him of se*ual abuse, which he denied.
Attorney and former Trump impeachment counsel Alan Dershowitz is also mentioned and accused of conducting se*ual relations with a minor referred to as Jane Doe #3 in the documents and witnessing the perpetual abuse of other girls. Dershowitz posted a video denying all allegations, and the latest documents also include a sworn statement from the lawyer in which he completely refutes all allegations of misconduct.
What does the list mean?
The documents refocus the spotlight not only on Epstein but also on the powerful men associated with him, raising brand new questions about their involvement with his crimes. The other documents are still sealed, and Epstein can’t offer his firsthand account, which only adds to the never-ending uncertainty of any of these questions. It also fuels conspiracy theories.
On the right side, Epstein’s death by suicide has been the central fuel of conspiracies, and it has also bolstered unfounded claims that Epstein is an example of the Clintons having their political enemies killed.
Moreover, the far right has repeatedly tried to use Epstein’s ties to Democrats, pushing unsubstantiated claims about the party promoting an entire pedophilia ring. This conspiracy theory has been known as QAnon, which has been used to boost support for Trump.
On the left side, Epstein’s death has been linked with unfounded claims of Trump orchestrating the deaths of his political foes, too. Moreover, there have been efforts to use the former president’s history of rape allegations to imply that he was a direct participant in Epstein’s crimes.
The conspiracies are going very far, though. In a recent appearance on ESPN, football player Aaron Rodgers implied that Jimmy Kimmel could be named in those documents. Rodger’s reference to Kimmel followed a joke that the late-night host made, calling Rodgers a “tin-foil hatter” for fueling such speculations.
Kimmel was also quick to state that Rodger’s comments might have a serious fallout. “Your reckless words put my family in danger,” as the host stated in a social media statement.
As the Pizzagate situation in 2016 showed, these conspiracy theories can truly have real-world consequences. That year, internet trolls on the right promoted the false theory that well-known Democrats formed a se*-trafficking ring targeting children.
The conspiracy theory also implies that they used pizza establishments such as Comet Ping Pong in Washington, DC. Because of these unfair allegations, the restaurant suffered plenty of harassment and even saw a gunman visit its premises and fire inside.
So far, it is still to be determined whether or not these conspiracies are based on comparable consequences. However, there are concerns that they might fuel plenty of misinformation and similarly charged scenarios in the highly polarized political environment of the 2024 election.
If you’re interested in knowing more about this mess of a case, we recommend you watch “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein,” which you can find here. Also, we highly recommend you read One Year Before 2024 Elections: Biden Trails Trump in Key States