Billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein tried to enlist a New York Times reporter to write his biography and bragged to him that he had dirt on powerful people in a previously undisclosed interview a year before his death.
New York Times columnist James Stewart interviewed Epstein “on background” in August of 2018, meaning that he could not attribute the comments to Epstein. Stewart published the excerpts this week because he now considers “that condition to have lapsed with his death.”
“The overriding impression I took away from our roughly 90-minute conversation was that Mr. Epstein knew an astonishing number of rich, famous and powerful people, and had photos to prove it,” Stewart wrote. “He also claimed to know a great deal about these people, some of it potentially damaging or embarrassing, including details about their supposed sexual proclivities and recreational drug use.”
Stewart wrote that his first thoughts after Epstein’s reported suicide was that “many prominent men and at least a few women must be breathing sighs of relief that whatever Mr. Epstein knew, he was taking it with him.”
Epstein claimed to be consulting Elon Musk, Tesla:
Stewart interviewed Epstein because of rumors that he was advising Tesla founder Elon Musk. Epstein was rumored to be compiling a list of candidates to be the new Tesla chairman.
Stewart wrote that Epstein was “evasive” when questioned about Tesla. He claimed to have spoken to the Saudis about investing in Tesla and bragged about his relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“It seemed clear Mr. Epstein had embellished his role in the Tesla situation to enhance his own importance and gain attention,”Stewart wrote. Tesla vehemently denied that Epstein advised Musk on anything.
“Epstein then meandered into a discussion of other prominent names in technology circles,” Stewart wrote. “He said people in Silicon Valley had a reputation for being geeky workaholics, but that was far from the truth: They were hedonistic and regular users of recreational drugs. He said he’d witnessed prominent tech figures taking drugs and arranging for sex.”
Epstein defended sex with underage girls:
Stewart, who was greeted at Epstein’s door by a young woman “in her late teens or perhaps 20,” wrote that while Epstein was evasive about Tesla, he “was more at ease discussing his interest in young women.”
“He said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable,” Stewart wrote. “He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world.”
After the interview, Epstein continued to invite Stewart to dinners with the likes of director Woody Allen and former Trump aide Steve Bannon. Several months later, he asked Stewart if he was interested in writing his biography.
“He sounded almost plaintive. I sensed that what he really wanted was companionship,” Stewart wrote. “As his biographer, I’d have no choice but to spend hours listening to his saga. Already leery of any further ties to him, I was relieved I could say that I was already busy with another book. That was the last I heard from him. After his arrest and suicide, I’m left to wonder: What might he have told me? ”