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Trump flew on Epstein’s private jet at least seven times between 1993 and 1997, according to flight logs made public during various court proceedings.

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Speculation about which famous and powerful figures would be tarnished by the Jeffrey Epstein scandal heated up at the end of last year when a judge ordered that court documents from a years-old case related to the disgraced financier be made public. And while Epstein’s black book contained a staggering number of A-listers and high-society pals, perhaps the biggest question surrounding the court documents’ unsealing was what they would reveal about Donald Trump.

The hype escalated on the afternoon of January 3, 2024, when Mark Epstein said that three years before his brother died in jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, he told him he knew secrets that could blow up the presidential election between Trump and Hillary Clinton.

“Here’s a direct quote: ‘If I said what I know about both candidates, they’d have to cancel the election.’ That’s what Jeffrey told me in 2016,” Mark Epstein told the New York Post.

Wild stuff! But Mark Epstein said he didn’t know what information his brother was referring to. And while Trump and Bill Clinton (who have both denied any Epstein-related wrongdoing) were mentioned in the court documents released in early 2024, there was no smoking gun.

Yet questions about Trump’s ties to Epstein persist as the convicted sex offender is now a conspiracy-theory fixture and still more Epstein files could be unsealed. Here’s a running list of the new revelations and what we have already learned about Trump’s friendship with Epstein.

What we know about Trump’s friendship with Epstein.

Trump began palling around with Epstein in the late ’80s but the depth of their friendship is a subject of debate.

Footage unearthed by NBC News in 2019 shows the two men joking around and ogling women during a party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in 1992.

Trump and Epstein were also photographed together in 1992 and 1997. The now famous image below shows Trump and then-girlfriend Melania Knauss partying with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at Mar-a-Lago on February 12, 2000.

Trump, Knauss, Epstein, & Maxwell At Mar-A-Lago

Photo: Davidoff Studios Photography/Getty Images

Trump flew on Epstein’s private jet at least seven times between 1993 and 1997, according to flight logs made public during various court proceedings. As the Miami Herald reported in 2021, Trump was accompanied by his then-wife Marla Maples and two of his young children on some of these flights:

The flights were all between Palm Beach and New York City airports, with the June 1994 flight stopping at Ronald Reagan Washington Washington National Airport between Palm Beach and New York.

A woman named Marla, apparently Trump’s then-wife Marla Maples, is listed as joining him on the June 1994 flight, along with a Tiffany, apparently their then-infant daughter, and a nanny. Trump’s son Eric is listed as joining him on an August 1995 flight between Palm Beach and New York.

In 2002, the mogul told New York, “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

In 2016 a woman who went by the pseudonyms Katie Johnson and Jane Doe in legal filings accused Trump of raping her in 1994, when she was 13, during an orgy held at Epstein’s home in Manhattan. She accused Epstein of raping her as well.

Three suits were filed over the same allegations; the first was dismissed for failure to properly state a claim, and the other two were voluntarily dismissed. The third case was withdrawn just days before the 2016 election, and the accuser canceled a press conference at the last minute. Her attorney, Lisa Bloom, said the woman had received death threats and, “She has decided she is too afraid to show her face … She is in terrible fear.”

The circumstances around the case were bizarre, as Vox summarized at the time:

It was the end of an incredibly strange case that featured an anonymous plaintiff who had refused almost all requests for interviews, two anonymous corroborating witnesses whom no one in the press had spoken to, and a couple of seriously shady characters — with an anti-Trump agenda and a penchant for drama — who had aggressively shopped the story around to media outlets for over a year.

Those shady characters — a former reality-TV producer who calls himself Al Taylor and a Never Trump conservative activist named Steve Baer — had been mostly unsuccessful in getting the media to bite. There are a few very good reasons for that, which the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim succinctly summed up: Taylor and Baer have been really sketchy about the whole thing, and since the accuser is anonymous, journalists can’t do anything to verify her claims. The only journalist who has actually interviewed Johnson, Emily Shugerman at Revelist, came away confused and even doubting whether Johnson really exists.

Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 20 other women over the years; those women were not underage, and their allegations did not involve Epstein. In May 2023, a federal jury found Trump civilly liable for sexually abusing E. Jean Carroll in the mid-1990s and for defaming her when he denied her rape allegation in 2022. He was ordered to pay Carroll $5 million in damages and is currently appealing the verdict.

When did Trump cut ties with Epstein?

Trump has claimed that he and Epstein had a “falling out” years before the financier was first arrested in Palm Beach in 2005 after being accused of paying a 14-year-old girl for sex. (Though dozens of other underage girls accused Epstein of sexual abuse at the time, because of a 2008 plea deal, he served only 13 months in jail in a work-release program.)

There are reports that a battle over a choice Palm Beach property ended the Trump-Epstein friendship, but it’s unclear what exactly came between the two. Days after Epstein was arrested on federal sex-trafficking charges in 2019, Trump downplayed their relationship while speaking to reporters in the Oval Office. He said he merely “knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,” adding, “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”

In a January 2024 Truth Social post, Trump claimed “I was never on Epstein’s Plane, or at his ‘stupid’ Island.” Flight logs show Trump took at least seven flights on Epstein’s plane, but there is no evidence that he ever visited Little Saint James, Epstein’s property in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Why were more Epstein documents released this year?

The newly unsealed documents are from Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s settled 2015 defamation lawsuit against Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislane Maxwell, who is currently serving a 20-year prison term for trafficking women and girls for Epstein to sexually abuse. Giuffre is one of dozens of women, some as young as 14, whom Epstein allegedly abused.

Some documents were blacked out or sealed over privacy concerns when the suit was settled in 2017. But in December 2023, federal judge Loretta Preska ruled that most of the records would be made public since most of the names were already public. The first 40 exhibits, totaling 943 pages, were released on January 3, 2024. Another 17 documents were unsealed on January 8. Seven more documents were released on January 9. (Read about the other figures listed in the new Epstein documents here.)

On January 3, 2024, Trump’s spokesperson Steven Cheung offered a terse statement on the newly released documents, telling Newsweek that any claims about Trump’s relationship with Epstein had already been “thoroughly debunked.”

What did the January 3 batch say about Trump?

In short: not much. His name was mentioned four times in a May 2016 deposition of Johanna Sjoberg, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, who said she was around him from 2001 to 2006.

Sjoberg said that while flying on one of Epstein’s planes, they made an unplanned stop in Atlantic City and went to “one of Trump’s casinos.” She recalled that when she relayed the pilot’s message that they would need to land in New Jersey, “Jeffrey said, ‘Great, we’ll call up Trump and we’ll go to’ — I don’t recall the name of the casino, but — ‘we’ll go to the casino.’”

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Later, Sjoberg said she never gave Trump a massage.

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What did the January 8 batch say about Trump?

One of the 17 exhibits unsealed on January 8 contained references to Trump, but they were from emails an Epstein victim had sent to a journalist that she later recanted.

In emails exchanged with then–New York Post journalist Maureen Callahan in October 2016, Sarah Ransome made a number of explosive allegations against famous men, saying her friend had had sex with Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, and Richard Branson on multiple occasions. She also said she had videos of the encounters but could not share them without her friend’s permission.

In one of the emails, summarized below by attorneys representing Alan Dershowitz, Ransome said her friend was one of “many girls” Trump had had sex with, claimed the friend regularly had sex with Trump at Epstein’s mansion, and shared other NSFW details about Trump’s sexual proclivities:

cd3a36e9759417b71d480e996e8fc24108 3 ransome 5.w710

Ransome’s email that includes the claims about Trump appears later in the document and is partially cut off:

498cd7679e7c80983b0930a550a34b9ab6 3 ransome 3.w710

In the document, Dershowitz’s attorneys used the emails to portray Ransome as a liar, noting that she had made many outlandish claims to the journalist, such as saying she’d reached out to the Russians for help and was “approached, by Special Agents Forces Men sent directly by Hilary [sic] Clinton herself, in order to protect her presidential campaign.” For example:

6352c2c45f07ca4559b263af68fb26203f 1 ransome 1.w710

In her final email to Callahan, Ransome says she wants to “retract everything I have said to you and walk away from this.” Callahan never published a story related to her allegations.

c3bba4ac49db18c3913236372827c94331 4 ransome.w710

Ransome also told The New Yorker in 2019 that she never had any videos. In her 2021 memoir, Silenced No More, Ransome explained why:

I also told her I had video evidence of public figures participating in Jeffrey and Ghislaine’s pedophile ring. I didn’t. I said I did because I was absolutely terrified that, once I went public with my story, Jeffrey and Ghislaine would find and kill me. I wanted to send them a message via the press: If you wage war on me, I will return fire by releasing my evidence. That would be my leverage, my way of protecting myself.

As ABC News noted, while Ransome was involved in various lawsuits against Epstein, no evidence supporting these claims appears in publicly available court records:

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 Clinton, nor Trump, nor Branson was accused by Giuffre, or anyone else besides Ransome, of any wrongdoing in the course of Giuffre’s defamation lawsuit against Maxwell. 

Ransome gave a victim-impact statement in federal court at Maxwell’s sentencing that did not specifically mention Trump or anyone but Epstein and Maxwell.

What did the January 9 batch say about Trump?

Trump’s name appeared four times in a deposition of Giuffre taken on January 16, 2016. She said that while she’d heard Trump had been in Epstein’s home, she never saw him there herself, adding, “I don’t think Donald Trump participated in anything.”

946f32c81299b417c984ba11aa295b0251 9 trump.w710

Trump’s name was also mentioned in passing later in the deposition when he was described as one of Epstein’s famous friends.

Giuffre testified that she had been recruited into Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring by Maxwell, who approached her in 2000 when Giuffre was a 17-year-old spa attendant at Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s Florida resort comes up more than a dozen times in the newly released depositions, as Epstein and Maxwell are questioned about how they met Giuffre. But Giuffre has said she had no relationship with Trump beyond his being her employer.

What has Trump said about Epstein’s death?

During an August 2023 interview, Tucker Carlson asked Trump if he believed Epstein had killed himself in jail. “I don’t know,” said Trump, who seemed more interested in bashing his former attorney general Bill Barr. After more prodding from Carlson, Trump said that he thought it was “possible” Epstein had been killed but that “I think he probably committed suicide.”

“Life with beautiful homes, beautiful everything, and all of a sudden he’s incarcerated and not doing well,” Trump said. “A lot of people think he was killed. He knew a lot on a lot of people.” Carlson confirmed that he was among those who believe Epstein “was killed,” and Trump replied that “a case could be made either way.”

Will more Epstein documents be made public?

The final batch of documents from Giuffre’s settled 2015 defamation lawsuit was released in January. But other Epstein-related court records could still be made public.

On February 29, 2024, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation that paved the way for the release of grand-jury evidence and testimony from a 2006 Florida investigation into Epstein’s abuse of underage girls. The law says grand-jury records, which are usually secret, can be made public under limited circumstances.

The state’s initial investigation into Epstein’s sex ring has long been controversial, as New York’s Matt Stieb explained:

The state’s response to the initial investigation of Epstein’s sex ring in Florida has long been controversial. After police produced substantial evidence that Epstein was procuring and abusing girls, the state attorney’s office for Palm Beach County kicked the responsibility to a grand jury rather than charging Epstein directly. The grand jury ultimately led to one felony count against Epstein for soliciting prostitution — with no mention that the alleged victims were teenagers. Palm Beach police chief Michael Reiter published a letter he sent to five alleged victims stating that he did not believe “justice has been sufficiently served.” Reiter then brought the case to the FBI — which ultimately led to federal charges against Epstein and more controversy: Somehow, the financier scored a sweetheart deal signed by federal prosecutor Alex Acosta, which allowed him to leave jail six days a week for 12 hours at a time. (In 2019, Acosta resigned from his position as secretary of Labor after facing criticism for his role in the deal.)

Judge Luis Delgado ordered the records released on July 1, the day the new law went into effect. The 176-page transcript does not mention Trump or Mar-a-Lago. As the Washington Post reported, the “long sought-after records that show how prosecutors attempted to paint two young women who testified as criminals rather than victims of sexual abuse.”

What has Trump said about the release of more Epstein documents?

In a June 2, 2024, Fox & Friends interview, Trump was asked if he would declassify various federal files. He quickly answered “yes” when asked about documents on 9/11, the JFK assassination, and Epstein — but then backtracked on the sex trafficker.

“I guess I would,” Trump said. “I think [Epstein] less so because you don’t know, you don’t want to affect people’s lives if it’s phony stuff in there, because it’s a lot of phony stuff with that whole world. But I think I would, or at least—”

Interviewer Rachel Campos-Duffy tried to get Trump back on topic, but he continued musing about the Epstein files.

“Yeah, I don’t know about Epstein so much as I do the others. Certainly about the way he died,” Trump replied. “It’d be interesting to find out what happened there because that was a weird situation and the cameras didn’t happen to be working, etc., etc. But yeah, I’d go a long way toward that one.”

https://youtube.com/watch?v=ZJorAVgHy7Y%3Frel%3D0%26enablejsapi%3D1

This post has been updated.

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