July 14, 2019

KATIE COURIC AND GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS DINED WITH JEFFREY EPSTEIN AFTER HE WAS BRANDED A SEX OFFENDER. Forbes ran an article he or his staffers ghost-wrote. As the New York Times reports, “Jeffrey Epstein Was a Sex Offender. The Powerful Welcomed Him Anyway.”

A strange thing happened when Jeffrey Epstein came back to New York City after being branded a sex offender: His reputation appeared to rise.

In 2010, the year after he got out of a Florida prison, Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos dined at his Manhattan mansion with a British royal. The next year, Mr. Epstein was photographed at a “billionaire’s dinner” attended by tech titans like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. A page popped up on Harvard University’s website lauding his accomplishments, and superlative-filled news releases described his lofty ambitions as he dedicated $10 million to charitable causes.

Powerful female friends served as social guarantors: Peggy Siegal, a gatekeeper for A-list events, included him in movie screenings, and Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin, a champion of women’s health, maintained a friendship that some felt gave him credibility. Mr. Epstein put up a website showing Stephen Hawking and other luminaries at a science gathering he had organized.

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Some of the respect Mr. Epstein, 66, drew on was manufactured, the accomplishments recycled. The gathering with Dr. Hawking had taken place back in 2006. The positive online notices appeared to have been paid for by Mr. Epstein: A writer employed by his foundation churned out the news releases, and Drew Hendricks, the supposed author of a Forbes story calling Mr. Epstein “one of the largest backers of cutting edge science,” conceded in an interview that he was given $600 to post the pre-written article under his own name. (Forbes removed the piece after The New York Times published its article.)

The middle of the sentence that followed must have been difficult for the Timespeople to write: “Though some institutions and prominent people, including Donald J. Trump, said they shunned him, Mr. Epstein’s tactics largely worked.”

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