NYT Columnist: Epstein had dirt on famous and powerful people

On August 16, 2018, James Stewart visited Jeffrey Epstein at his mansion in Manhattan.


The 90-minute conversation with Epstein made the impression that he knew an astonishing number of “dirt” from the many rich, famous and powerful people and that he had evidence to prove it. His claims to know a great deal includes details that are potentially damaging, downright embarrassing and includes details on supposed sexual proclivities and drug use.

One of the first thoughts that came into Stewart’s mind is on the many prominent figures breathing sighs of relief, knowing that Epstein’s suicide will take all of their secrets to the grave.


In their conversation, Epstein made no secrets of his past nor his actions. To him, it was his nature that magnetized people to willingly confide in him, no matter how grave or different the nature of the confessions were.

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Stewart never met Epstein before, only contacting him through colleagues at the time when Epstein advised Tesla’s Elon Musk who was in trouble after announcing the funding to take Tesla private.

Epstein readily agreed to an interview with Stewart insisting that they meet at the single-family home in Manhattan. Stewart emphasized on Epstein’s charisma.

In that place, he was led to a room where there was a wall covered by several photographs. He was shown photos of Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Arabia who visited Epstein many times. A table was covered with more photographs of him and former President Bill Clinton and the controversial director Woody Allen. There were photos displayed of celebrities who had been caught in sex scandals.

Epstein was cryptic about his work on Tesla. He was much loose in openly discussing his interest in young women, claiming that it was a cultural aberration to criminalize sex with underage girls when history deems it perfectly acceptable. He also points out n homosexuality being a crime punishable by death.

Epstein then continued to discuss prominent figures of Silicon Valley. That the geeky reputation that portrays them as workaholics is a lie. That he himself witnessed these tech figures using drugs and arranging sex. To which Epstein vehemently denies that he used drugs of any kind.

Stewart reflects on the interview, struck by how little Epstein provided information. While it cannot be deemed as a lie, much of it is vague speculation that could neither be proved nor disproved. Epstein shows proof of some ties to Mr. Musj. A photo that widely circulated shows Musk with Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s famous confidante and former companion at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Awards

It was crystal clear that Epstein embellished his role in Tesla not only to gain attention but also to intensify his own self-importance, somehow showing a pattern.

A week later after the interview, Epstein called and invited Stewart to have dinner with him on Woody Allen, to which he declined to say that he’d be out of town. A few weeks after, he was once again invited to join him for a dinner with author Michael Wolff and Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former adviser. Stewart declined once more.

Several months passed and Epstein contacted Stewart to ask if he’d be interested in writing his biography. At this moment, Stewart sensed that he wants companionship. As his biographer, he wouldn’t have a choice but to spend hours listening to Epstein’s saga. He was relieved to deny the offer, as he was already busy with another book.

That was the last time Stewart heard from him. In the shocking events of Epstein’s arrest to his controversial suicide, Stewart keeps on wondering.

If he did go on with the biography, what would he have told him?

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