Discredited claims about Clinton, Trump mentioned in latest batch of Epstein docs

ByJames Hill and Aaron Katersky ABCNews logo
Monday, January 8, 2024
2nd batch of Epstein documents released
A second set of unsealed documents related to late accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein has been released.

A new round of court records from a lawsuit related to the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein were released Monday, which include photos from an accuser as well as an exhibit that mentions discredited allegations she made about Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Prince Andrew and Richard Branson.

At least 17 documents were unsealed. More than 200 documents have been released since Wednesday.

The records are part of a defamation lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre, an alleged victim of Epstein, against his longtime companion Ghislaine Maxwell that the two settled in 2017. Epstein died by suicide in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.

Maxwell is serving a 20-year prison sentence after she was convicted in 2021 of aiding Epstein's sex trafficking of young women and girls. Her appeal will be heard in March.

MORE: Jeffrey Epstein documents: Here's what we know so far

The documents unsealed Monday include several photographs produced by Sarah Ransome, who filed a lawsuit against Epstein, Maxwell and other alleged co-conspirators in 2017 under the pseudonym "Jane Doe 43." Ransome was also involved in the Giuffre case as a witness. She was deposed and provided dozens of photographs showing Epstein, Maxwell, herself and other young women on Epstein's private island.

According to another unsealed filing, Ransome testified that some of the pictures were taken by Jean Luc Brunel, a French model scout and associate of Epstein, and given to her by him.

Brunel died by suicide in his prison cell in February 2022 while awaiting trial on charges of rape of underage girls and sexual harassment -- a crime in France. Brunel had maintained he was innocent.

Several of the photographs unsealed Monday appeared in the media following Epstein's arrest and death. Ransome spoke publicly at a hearing in a New York courthouse in August 2019 and has granted several interviews since.

Also included in Monday's document unsealing is an exhibit that contains emails sent by Ransome to a New York Post reporter in the fall of 2016.

In those messages, Ransome made allegations that implicated former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, Prince Andrew and Richard Branson. She also described alleged videotape evidence she claimed to possess that would back up her allegations but said she could not provide it, according to the messages.

Ransome subsequently told the New York Post reporter, who did not publish any story related to the allegations, that she wanted to "retract everything I have said to you and walk away from this," according to an unsealed message from October 2016.

MORE: New details of Jeffrey Epstein's death, frantic aftermath revealed

In 2019, The New Yorker reported that Ransome told the magazine she had invented the claims of videotapes to draw attention to Epstein's behavior and to make him believe she had "evidence that would come out" if Epstein harmed her, according to the magazine.

These emails from Ransome had been unsealed in a previous round in 2022, but with the names of the men accused redacted.

Ransome was deposed in 2017 as a witness in the Giuffre versus Maxwell litigation. No evidence supporting the allegations Ransome shared with the reporter was entered in the record of this case.

The lawsuit Ransome filed in 2017 under the pseudonym "Jane Doe 43" against Epstein, Maxwell and other alleged co-conspirators was settled the following year.

Neither ex-President Clinton, nor Donald Trump, nor Richard Branson was accused by Giuffre, or anyone else besides Ransome, of any wrongdoing in the course of Giuffre's defamation lawsuit against Maxwell. Clinton has denied any knowledge of Epstein's crimes. Trump has said he cut off contact with Epstein many years ago.

According to The Independent, a Branson spokesperson on Monday cited to the 2019 New Yorker article and called Ransome's claims "baseless and unfounded."

Prince Andrew has long denied allegations that he had sex with Giuffre on three occasions, as she has claimed in court records and interviews, and claimed he could not recall ever meeting Giuffre. The prince, in 2022, settled a lawsuit Giuffre filed against him.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled last month there was no legal justification for continuing to conceal more than 150 names of "John and Jane Does" mentioned in the records.

So far, 208 documents have been unsealed out of an anticipated total of around 250.

A total of 132 documents were released Friday. About 19 documents were released Thursday and the first 40 were released on Wednesday.

Friday's documents detail how Maxwell reacted after Giuffre made explosive allegations in a court case filed by Epstein's alleged victims against the federal government, which challenged the lenient treatment the sex offender received. It was the first time Giuffre alleged publicly that she was forced by Epstein and Maxwell to have sex with Prince Andrew and other prominent men.