The documents of the Jeffrey Epstein case: disinformation and context

A judge in New York has ordered the declassification of several documents related to the …

Los documentos del caso Jeffrey Epstein publicados por la jueza no contienen ninguna lista de clientes ni de pedófilos.

A judge in New York has ordered the declassification of several documents related to the case of Jeffrey Epstein, the American multimillionaire who committed suicide in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial for creating a sex trafficking ring involving minors. Epstein faced similar charges to the ones he avoided in 2008 after reaching a plea deal with the public prosecutor, for which he served 13 months a work-release programme and was registered as a sex offender.

The documents that have just been released are part of a defamation lawsuit filed in 2015 by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, against Ghislaine Maxwell, the ex-lover and ex-business partner of the multimillionaire, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2022 for helping him sexually abuse underaged girls. The release of these documents has caused a surge in disinformation about their contents and the names that appear there. What do we know? We’ll explain it to you!

The published documents do not contain a list of Epstein’s clients

The published documents contain various pieces of the investigation and statements made by Maxwell or Epstein’s victims, including Virginia Giuffre and Johanna Sjoberg, according to the EFE news agency. However, there is no list of sexual “clients” of the multimillionaire, which is what has gone viral. This can be seen in the files released by the New York authorities and in reports by news agencies such as the US-based Associated Press (AP) and fact-checking platforms such as Maldita, Newtral o Snopes, members of the International Fact-checking Network (IFCN), to which Verificat also belongs.

In addition, just because a person’s name appears in these documents does not mean that said person is accused of a crime, “but rather that the person could be mentioned among testimonies, names of victims or people with whom Epstein interacted at some point during the investigation”, Maldita explains.

“Being mentioned in the documents does not imply any sort of guilt. They range from emails to testimonies by victims or witnesses”, EFE describes in detail. In fact, the newly released documents “mainly mention figures whose names were already known, including Epstein’s high-profile friends and victims who have already spoken out publicly”, the US-based news agency AP explains.  

What’s more, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, the person who decided what should be unsealed, said “that she was ordering the records released because much of the information within them is already public”, the AP notes. In any case, the agency states that, although “the documents unsealed this week are the latest of thousands previously made public in lawsuits involving Epstein”, “more are expected to come” in the future.[jdp1] ”.

Why are Bill Clinton and Donald Trump named there?

Two of the names that have generated the most buzz are those of two former US presidents: Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. However, neither of them are accused of any crime in the documents. Clinton, who was close to Epstein for years, is mentioned in the statement of one of the accusers, who claims that the multimillionaire told her once that the ex-president “likes them young, referring to girls”.

The same accuser mentions Trump in a statement about one occasion on which, as she recalls, she was travelling with Epstein on one of his jets and they were forced to land in Atlantic City, and the multimillionaire said they would call the current presidential candidate to go to one of his casinos, as reported by CNN.  

No, this is not the “official” “Epstein Island” flight list

After the release of the documents from the Epstein case, the viral image of a supposedly “official” list of the people who travelled to Jeffrey Epstein’s island has again started to make the rounds on social media platforms, where it has been circulating since at least February 2023.However, at no point has any reference or source been named regarding the origin of this list and, as we have explained, no such list of Epstein’s sexual “clients” can be found in the unsealed documents. In fact, Maldita has shown that some of the names that appear in the viral image are not even mentioned in the documents. And, in any case, just because a name is there does not mean that the person is accused of a crime.