Jeffrey Epstein became one of the most controversial figures in the world. He was allegedly involved in the sex trafficking of underage girls between New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005. Before he could go on trial, though, Epstein was found hanging in his prison cell in August 2019, in what was ruled a suicide.
However, his death led to a flurry of speculation that he had not killed himself but was actually murdered because of his connections to famous people. And perhaps the most famous person associated with Epstein is Donald Trump.
How were these two connected, and what was the extent of their relationship? Here is the truth about Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump.
The Trump connection to Epstein’s plea deal
Epstein had faced similar charges back in the early 2000s. While staring down a lengthy federal indictment, Epstein struck a plea deal that reduced everything down to two prostitution charges. He ended up spending only 13 months inside of a county jail and even got a work release for six days each week.
At the time, the Miami Herald declared this “one of the most lenient sentences for a serial sex offender in U.S. history.” Attorney Alexander Acosta helped make the deal happen, and Trump later nominated Acosta as the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Despite the lingering Epstein controversy (which came up during hearings), his nomination was confirmed. He later resigned over the new round of Epstein allegations.
Trump and Epstein’s long-lasting friendship
The connection between Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein goes beyond Alexander Acosta. In fact, they had a connection and friendship that stretched back many years before any of Epstein’s legal woes.
Back in 2002, Trump talked to New York Magazine for their profile of Epstein. He said, “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it—Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
In fairness, Trump may have only known Epstein because they were rich and traveled in the same circles. But Trump’s comments about Epstein’s “beautiful women” being “on the younger side” would come back to haunt him in the wake of the most recent Epstein allegations.
Trump and Epstein: the jet set
The question remains: just how close were Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein? One part of the answer is that they were close enough to ride each other’s private jets.
When The Washington Post spoke to Epstein’s brother, he claimed that Trump was on Epstein’s plane “numerous times.” He continued, “They were good friends. I know [Trump] is trying to distance himself, but they were.”
Additionally, phone numbers for Donald and Melania Trump were inside Epstein’s book of phone contacts. While it is only circumstantial, many speculate that Epstein’s famous friends who rode on his private plane must have been privy to some of his illegal activities.
Trump and Epstein’s parties
While they grew distant in more recent years, Trump and Epstein had a long history of partying together. And the nature of their parties raised quite a few eyebrows.
For example, The New York Times revealed that Trump hosted a 1992 “calendar girl party” at Mar-a-Lago. Who was at this party? Only Trump, Epstein, and about two dozen women.
NBC uncovered other footage from 1992 showing another Mar-a-Lago party. There, Trump seemingly tells Epstein that one of the girls is “hot” before whispering something into Epstein’s ears that makes the man double over in laughter.
Perhaps most alarming is a throwaway line from Roger Stone’s book The Clintons’ War On Women. Stone remembers Trump visiting Epstein’s home in Florida and describing what he saw. “The swimming pool was filled with beautiful young girls. ‘How nice,’ I thought, ‘He let the neighborhood kids use his pool.'”
Trump and Epstein’s legal woes
Donald Trump has been no stranger to legal woes. But one particular incident seemingly ties him even more to Epstein.
Back in 2016, a woman filed a lawsuit alleging that Donald Trump raped her at Epstein’s Manhattan residence when she was 13. She ultimately dropped the suit, but it raised the modern specter of Trump and Epstein’s similar proclivities.
The Miami Herald reported that Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, actually met Epstein when she was working at Mar-a-Lago. There is no indication that Trump was involved, but his Mar-a-Lago features prominently in his ongoing relationship with Epstein.
Trump and Epstein: the falling out
Trump and Epstein were seemingly close at one time. But what caused them to drift apart? There are numerous answers to this question.
According to The New York Times, their friendship fell apart after both of them tried to buy the same oceanfront mansion in the state of Florida. And when attorney Brad Edwards served subpoenas to find out more about Epstein’s alleged crimes, he said Trump was the most cooperative.
According to Vox, Trump told him, “Let’s just talk. I’ll give you as much time as you want. I’ll tell you what you need to know.'” Edwards found Trump “was very helpful in the information that he gave and gave no indication whatsoever that he was involved in anything untoward whatsoever,” and Trump provided “good information that checked out and that helped us.”
In the years leading to his presidential run, Trump distanced himself from Epstein in a more prominent way. He banned Epstein from his clubs and had his attorney Alan Garten clarify that Trump “had no relationship with Mr. Epstein and had no knowledge whatsoever of his conduct.”
Trying to put a nail in the issue, Trump told reporters at the White House, “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”
Fan or no fan, though, Trump’s close association with Epstein in earlier years remains an area of national concern and controversy.