NATIONAL NEWS

Epstein-linked John Does are about to be named publicly. Here’s what we know

Jan 3, 2024, 4:36 PM

This March 28, 2017, photo provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epste...

This March 28, 2017, photo provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. Mandatory Credit: New York State Sex Offender Registry/AP/File

New York (CNN) — Newly unsealed documents from a lawsuit connected to accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein will begin to be released Wednesday afternoon, by order of a federal judge in New York.

With the exception of two individuals who sought to remain unidentified, “the parties have informed the Court that they will begin filing the unsealed records” later today, according to the order from Judge Loretta Preska of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The documents are expected to include nearly 200 names, including some of Epstein’s accusers, prominent businesspeople, politicians and potentially more. Up until now, those people were identified only as Jane Doe or John Doe. Some of Epstein’s former friends and associates have already been publicly named in media reports, and several became public during the 2021 trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s partner who was convicted of sex-trafficking and who is serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison.

The unsealed documents come more than four years after Epstein, a convicted sex offender who nevertheless kept elite company, died in jail while awaiting federal sex-trafficking charges.

But last month, Judge Preska ordered the documents to be released with nearly 200 names unredacted. Some names, including those of accusers who were under 18, will remain anonymous.

While there may not be a bombshell in the documents, any new details about Epstein’s activities could provide fodder for further lawsuits. With Epstein dead and Maxwell in prison, prosecutors could still pursue co-conspirators.

The unsealing also underscores the lack of a resolution for Epstein’s accusers. Prosecutors indicted Epstein in 2019, accusing him of preying upon and sexually abusing dozens of girls, some as young as 14, at his homes in New York and Palm Beach, Florida. While awaiting trial, Epstein, who faced a potential four-decade prison sentence, died by suicide.

VIP connections

Appearing in court documents is by no means a sign of wrongdoing. But given the severity of the charges against Epstein and Maxwell, their former associates have been eager to distance themselves and denounce the alleged crimes.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump are known to have had connections with Epstein, a multimillionaire investor and consultant, though neither has been accused of wrongdoing related to those ties. A spokesman for Clinton confirmed in 2019 that the former president had flown on Epstein’s private plane but said Clinton knew nothing of the financier’s “terrible crimes.” Trump has told reporters that he banned Epstein from his Mar-a-Lago estate but has not publicly explained why their friendship ended.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates — who met with Epstein several times beginning in 2011, according to the New York Times — has said in interviews that he regrets having had dinners with Epstein to discuss philanthropy efforts. Gates has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

In 2022, Britain’s Prince Andrew reached an undisclosed settlement with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who accused him of forcing her to perform sex acts when she was underage. Andrew, the Duke of York, denied the allegations, but he was stripped of his military titles and can no longer use “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity.

Leon Black, co-founder of private equity company Apollo Global Management, has denied allegations in court documents of raping underage girls at Epstein’s New York home. A 2021 independent investigation into Black commissioned by Apollo found no evidence that Black was involved in Epstein’s criminal activities, but it did find that Black’s payments to Epstein for consulting and other services totaled $158 million between 2012 and 2017. One of the three lawsuits against Black was thrown out.

In March 2021, Black said he would step down from the firm he managed amid scrutiny over his ties to Epstein.

In a 2020 letter to Apollo shareholders, Black said he regretted his association with Epstein and that their relationship involved only professional services, including “estate planning, tax and philanthropic endeavors.”

Jes Staley, a former JPMorgan Chase executive who became the head of Barclays bank, was largely responsible for the US bank’s 15-year financial relationship with Epstein. In March, JPMorgan sued Staley over the relationship.

Staley allegedly exchanged sexually suggestive emails with Epstein, some of which included photos of young women, according to a federal lawsuit brought by the US Virgin Islands, which was eventually settled. In October, Staley was banned from holding senior roles in the UK financial services industry for misleading regulators about his relationship with Epstein.

Staley has denied wrongdoing.

“If I had known who [Epstein] really was, there is absolutely no doubt that I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today,” Staley said in a statement shared with CNN at the time.

— CNN’s Michelle Watson, Kara Scannell and Emma Tucker contributed reporting.

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Epstein-linked John Does are about to be named publicly. Here’s what we know