ANONYMOUS

Anonymous "Little Black Book" leak: who was Jeffrey Epstein?

Following the killing of George Floyd, activists Anonymous released "The Little Black Book of Jeffrey Epstein", a list of famous names with alleged links to the convicted sex offender.

Who was Jeffrey Epstein, the man at the heart of the Anonymous leak?
Reuters/New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

On Sunday, the cyber activists known as Anonymous returned from a three-year period of inactivity to divulge, among other things, what purported to be the star-studded address book of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The group said it was motivated by the death of George Floyd in police custody last week to expose information that the establishment has supposedly kept hidden from the world at large.

"The Little Black Book of Jeffrey Epstein"

Under the title “The Little Black Book of Jeffrey Epstein”, Anonymous published a list of names that included Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka and ex-wife Ivana, supermodel Naomi Campbell, musician Mick Jagger, actor Will Smith and many more.

It must be noted, however, that not all the information in this leak is in fact new: this is not the first time a 'little black book' seemingly of Epstein's contacts has been placed in the public domain.

Who was Jeffrey Epstein?

Jeffrey Epstein was a millionaire American financier who was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York in August 2019, as he awaited trial over sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges. Epstein was accused of paying dozens of girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his New York and Florida homes between 2002 and 2005, and faced 45 years in prison.

The 66-year-old had already served 13 months of an 18-month jail sentence in Florida a decade previously, after pleading guilty to soliciting prostitution from underage girls in 2008.

Epstein’s death last year was ruled as suicide by hanging by the New York City chief medical examiner, but a pathologist hired by his brother, Mark Epstein, later contended that his injuries pointed to strangulation rather than suicide.

Donald Trump, Prince Andrew...

Epstein is known to have socialised with the likes of Prince Andrew, former US president Bill Clinton and Trump, the current American president. Trump described Epstein as a "terrific guy" in an article in New York Magazine in 2002, but has since maintained that the pair subsequently fell out and that he was "not a fan".

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who at the time was 17, has alleged that she was coerced into having sex with Prince Andrew in 2001 by Epstein and the socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the media mogul Robert Maxwell. Giuffre says Epstein paid her $15,000 to have sex with the prince, who denies the claims and says he has “no recollection” of meeting his accuser.

In 2016, meanwhile, a woman accused Trump of raping her at parties held by Epstein when she was just 13, before later dropping a lawsuit against him. Anonymous published court documents seemingly relating to this case on Sunday, and even accused the president of having been behind Epstein's death:

"Not everyone in this book was an associate of Epstein's"

As was noted by the fact-checking website Snopes in the wake of previous leaks, Jeffrey Epstein's apparently extensive and VIP-packed list of contacts raises "questions about who knew about Epstein's activities and, worse, who may have been involved".

However, as Snopes explains, a prominent figure's presence in Epstein's address book does not mean they knew him or even ever met him. Referring to the now-defunct blog Gawker's 2015 publication of his 'little black book', the site clarifies: "While Epstein's black book certainly gives some insight into his social connections, these contacts have also been described as 'aspirational'.

"In other words, not everyone in this book was an associate of Epstein's. Some names in the book were people Epstein 'aspired' to connect with."

Netflix documentary on Epstein abuse

In May, streaming service Netflix released the documentary 'Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich', a four-part series that speaks to survivors of his crimes as it examines how he "used his wealth and power to carry out his abuses".

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