Former Vanity Fair investigative reporter Vicky Ward revealed that she had on-the-record accounts from accusers of alleged child predator Jeffrey Epstein in 2003 but her editor abruptly cut them from the piece.
In 2003, the magazine published a glowing profile of Epstein titled “The Talented Mr. Epstein,” detailing his lavish lifestyle and “complicated past.”
The piece did not include allegations that Epstein had attempted to extort two sisters, one of whom was only 16, into sex before committing statutory rape with the younger girl, Ward wrote at The Daily Beast.
Ward wrote that she had on-the-record accounts from both the girls and their mother.
“At the time I wanted to go after him. I mean, physically, mentally, you know, in every way, shape, and form. And the advice I was given was, you know, he is so wealthy, he can fight you, he can make you look ridiculous, he can make your daughters look ridiculous, plus he can hurt them. And that was the thing that frightened me was that he would know where they lived and could possibly just send somebody when they walk the dog at night or something around the corner, and we’d never hear from them again,” the mother told Ward.
Editor cut allegations from report:
Ward wrote that Epstein denied the allegations and called then-Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and repeatedly called Ward to remove the allegation.
“Just the mention of a 16-year-old girl… carries the wrong impression. I don’t see what it adds to the piece. And that makes me unhappy,” he told Ward. According to Ward, Epstein had fake letters from the women sent to Carter.
Ward wrote that her sources stood behind their account and she worked with three fact-checkers and a lawyer to make sure everything in the piece was approved. Just before the piece was set to publish, Carter cut the allegations from the story.
“Graydon’s taking out the women from the piece,” Ward recalled her editor telling her.
When she asked Carter why he cut the allegations, Carter told her that Epstein was “sensitive about the young women.”
“And we still get to run most of the piece,” he told her.
Asked by The Daily Beast why Carter cut the allegations, a Vanity Fair spokeswoman told the outlet, Epstein denied the charges at the time and since the claims were unsubstantiated and no criminal investigation had been initiated, we decided not to include them in what was a financial story.”
Epstein was indicted 16 years later:
Though Ward had an account of certain allegations in 2003, and federal prosecutors had identified 36 underage victims by 2007, Epstein got a slap on the wrist and was allowed to plead guilty to just two state prostitution charges.
The deal was kept secret from the victims, as agreed by US Attorney Alex Acosta, who is now Trump’s Labor Secretary, and granted immunity to his unindicted co-conspirators, believed to be well-connected men who participated in his alleged underage sex parties.
Epstein served just 13 months in prison, where he was allowed to leave and work from his office six days per week.
A federal judge later ruled that the plea deal violated the law because Acosta hid it from the victims.
Epstein was indicted on sex trafficking charges in New York Monday. Federal prosecutors allege that Epstein ran a child sex ring for years in New York and Florida.