Followup to IAS article, “Netflix releases steamy Epstein series” (5/28/2020)
When I saw James Patterson’s book Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein was the basis for the Netflix series Filthy Rich, I admit I was puzzled. I still am. I watched the series, and it doesn’t solve the full mystery of Epstein or do anything to clear up my confusion.
The Netflix documentary does give the victims a voice, and there are many of them. I found some credible, but others questionable insofar as their willingness to recruit girls for Epstein. I found the girls who’d been assaulted as minors more credible than those who were of age. Viewers can decide for themselves who’s credible.
One thing that has long perplexed me is the narrow attention on former US Attorney in Miami Alexander Acosta because he seemingly dodged prosecuting Epstein. Former president George W. Bush appointed Acosta to his DOJ position. President Donald Trump appointed Acosta US secretary of labor. It’s easy to see why he drew attention for his highly questionable role in Epstein’s legal saga. It’s not so easy to see why others didn’t draw attention for the same.
Robert Mueller was director of the FBI when Epstein’s private life was drawing attention because of sex with minors and also human trafficking. James Comey was deputy AG under Alberto Gonzalez. Media haven’t questioned any of these men, as far as I know, about the case.
Marie Villafaña, lead federal prosecutor when Acosta served as US Attorney, and longtime federal employee, drew little attention despite the fact The Miami Herald published information based on emails:
“In email after email, Acosta and the lead federal prosecutor, A. Marie Villafaña, acquiesced to Epstein’s legal team’s demands, which often focused on ways to limit the scandal by shutting out his victims and the media, including suggesting that the charges be filed in Miami, instead of Palm Beach, where Epstein’s victims lived.
“On an ‘avoid the press’ note … I can file the charge in district court in Miami which will hopefully cut the press coverage significantly. Do you want to check that out?’’ Villafaña wrote to [Jay] Lefkowitz in a September 2007 email.”
Villafaña wasn’t atop the fold of newspapers or websites for her decisions. She resigned and according to The New York Post, took a job at the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Lefkowitz was one of Epstein’s attorneys.
Media seem to have conferred a pass on everyone involved except for Acosta.
Something else puzzles me. The series shows photos of Trump with Epstein, and photos of former president Bill Clinton as well as photos of Britain’s Prince Andrew. Clinton’s not surprising (and contradictory) denials about his interactions with Epstein have made the news. What’s puzzling is that Patterson has not only written one book with Clinton, the best selling author is writing another book with Clinton due out in 2021.
The series doesn’t really go beyond what we’ve read in gossipy news stories, but as I said, it does permit the victims to tell their side of the story stifled years ago by that sweet plea deal Epstein got. Therein lies a problem for me.
The series got repetitive. The women did mostly tell the same story, and maybe that’s why I found it got a bit tedious. I thought some of the other actors in Epstein’s ‘pyramid’ sex scheme (as some called it) warranted attention, especially those involved in the federal government. Did Mueller have no interest in pursuing what appeared to be a volatile sex trafficking case? Did Comey turn his head away? Did Ms.Villafaña not warrant mention, especially since she seemed to be running interference for negative press about Epstein?
The series is definitely watchable, and at some point, you realize this is just another story about an uber-rich guy who probably had the goods on other uber-rich people and got a pass until he allegedly committed suicide in his New York prison cell. We also know media allege there was little monitoring of Epstein and cameras were apparently malfunctioning when Epstein died.
There have also been numerous credible accusations against Epstein’s sidekick Ghislaine Maxwell, and it appears she’s gotten a judicial pass.
The more I read about Epstein or learn through series like the Netflix stream, the more bizarre the whole story sounds. Did he off himself or did someone murder him? Then there’s the tinfoil hat question some are asking.
Is Epstein really dead?
Considering his wealth and power partly derived through video of his many guests, I can see why some would ask that question. Two days before his death was reported, Epstein stuck his holdings into a trust, making it difficult for victims to receive compensation.
We’ll probably never know the whole truth about this man—Acosta implied Epstein was connected to the intel community. Whether that’s true is anyone’s guess.
(Kay B. Day/June 3, 2020)