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Jan 4, 2024, 1:24pm EST
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Epstein documents offer few revelations, spur conspiracy theories

Insights from NPR, Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown, and Rolling Stone

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U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019, in New York City.
(Getty Images/Stephanie Keith)
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About 40 documents from a lawsuit connected to disgraced financier and accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein were unsealed Wednesday as part of an old case against his co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell. This is the first set of documents to be released publicly under a recent court order, and hundreds more are expected to be made public in the coming days and weeks.

The men named as Epstein-connected abusers in the documents include Britain’s Prince Andrew, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, and billionaire Glenn Dubin, all of whom have denied the allegations.

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The document dump fell short of “bombshell revelations” but some caution against dismissing it

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Sources:  
CNN, BBC, The Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown

News outlets reporting on the tranche of documents suggested that they were underwhelming, with CNN saying that they “did not appear to contain any bombshell revelations,” and BBC writing that they contained “no major new allegations about Epstein nor revelations about his associates.” Most of the information they contained was already made public through media reports and other court proceedings, CNN reported.

But Julie K. Brown, the Miami Herald journalist whose reporting was integral to getting Epstein arrested, cautioned against brushing off the documents. “The way the Mainstream media is dismissing the Jeffrey Epstein files reminds me how it pretty much ignored the fact that Epstein molested dozens of girls in 2008 because, well, there was no proof: nothing here behind the curtain to examine, right?” she posted on X.

New documents offer fodder for right-wing conspiracy theorists

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Source:  
Rolling Stone

The files were initially supposed to be released Tuesday, and delays sparked false speculation that the court and/or government was protecting an Epstein associate, Rolling Stone reported. After the documents were released, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones claimed — without evidence — that they were a distraction from the supposed real story that President Joe Biden and the Justice Department are hiding videos showing Epstein’s abuse of children that presumably implicate powerful people on the left.

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel became a target of misinformation after New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers insinuated in an interview that Kimmel was implicated in Epstein’s abuse. Kimmel said he has never had any contact with Epstein and tweeted that Rodgers’s “reckless words” put his family in danger.

Epstein knew political secrets that could have derailed 2016 election, brother claims

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Sources:  
The New York Post, NPR

Epstein had information about former president Donald Trump and the Clintons that would have derailed the 2016 election, his younger brother Mark Epstein claimed Wednesday. “Here’s a direct quote: ‘If I said what I know about both candidates, they’d have to cancel the election.’ That’s what Jeffrey told me in 2016,” Mark Epstein told the New York Post. However, he demurred when asked to elaborate, saying his brother never disclosed what he knew about Trump and the Clintons.

Though Trump and Bill Clinton have made efforts to distance themselves from the disgraced financier, the investigations editor of the Miami Herald characterized their relationships with Epstein as “real friendships.”

“This was not people meeting each other in a greeting line. They spent a certain amount of time together as social acquaintances and friends,” Casey Frank told NPR in 2019.

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