Jeffrey Epstein boasted of spurious celebrity connections, documents show
While Jeffrey Epstein counted many rich and powerful men among his associates –including Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew – a court document released on Wednesday suggests the late financier so craved proximity to celebrity that he made spurious boasts about relationships with Hollywood A-listers.
Johanna Sjoberg, an accuser of the late sex offender and financier, claimed in a deposition that he liked to talk about knowing movie stars, such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett, and that these statements appeared to come across as flimsy braggadocio.
A lawyer asked Sjoberg: “I saw one press report that said you had met Cate Blanchett or Leonardo DiCaprio?”
“I did not meet them, no,” she replied. “When I spoke about them, it was when I was massaging him [Epstein], and he would get off – he would be on the phone a lot at that time, and one time he said: ‘Oh, that was Leonardo,’ or, ‘That was Cate Blanchett, or Bruce Willis.’ That kind of thing.”
“So name-dropping?” the lawyer pressed.
Sjoberg replied: “Yes.”
“So you had not met Cate Blanchett or Leonardo DiCaprio?”
“I have not,” Sjoberg said under further questioning.
“Would you remember if you had?”
“I would hope I would remember,” she said.
“What about Cameron Diaz?” the lawyer pressed.
A representative for Leonardo DiCaprio denied any calls between him and Epstein. A representative for Diaz said: “Cameron never met Jeffrey Epstein, nor was she ever in the same place as him or had any association with him whatsoever, regardless of the fact he may or may not have mentioned her name or implied that he knew her.” A representative for Blanchett said that she had never met nor had any calls with Epstein. Representatives for Willis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The deposition was part of Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre’s defamation lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted of sex trafficking related to abuse of young girls by Epstein. Maxwell met Epstein in summer 1991, after she moved to New York around the time her father purchased the New York Daily News.
Sjoberg said that the British publishing heiress lured her into Epstein’s dark web.
While Giuffre settled her lawsuit against Maxwell in 2017, tranches of long-sealed documents in the case have been unsealed over the past several years. Their release stemmed from the Miami Herald and other media organizations’ efforts to make public the filings.
The documents’ discussion of Epstein’s ties to high-profile figures largely reiterate what has already been reported about his cronies, and shed some light on how he wanted to leverage connections. In one document, Epstein told Maxwell to invoke some prominent figures as a defense against Giuffre’s allegations of wrongdoing.
Epstein suggested that an interaction with the late, famous British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking could help clear her, for example. Hawking went to dinner on Epstein’s private isle in the US Virgin Islands in 2006, after participating in a conference on a neighboring island, per prior reports.
“You can issue a reward to any of virginias friends acquaionts family that come forward and help prove her allegations are false the strongest is the clinton dinner, and the new version in the virgin isalnds that stven hawking partica-ted in an underage orgy [sic],” Epstein said in an email to Maxwell.
While Epstein’s proclamations about some celebrities appear questionable, he did associate with numerous entertainers. Sjoberg’s deposition claimed that the late pop star Michael Jackson was at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion, and that she met the famed illusionist David Copperfield at one of Epstein’s homes.
“Did you ever meet anybody famous when you were with Jeffrey? Sjoberg was asked. “I met Michael Jackson … at [Epstein’s] house in Palm Beach,” she responded, according to the court documents, referring to Epstein’s estate in the exclusive south Florida city.
Sjoberg said “I did not” when asked whether she gave Jackson a massage. Sjoberg said that Copperfield attended dinner and “did some magic tricks”.
“Did you observe David Copperfield to be a friend of Jeffrey Epstein’s?” she was asked. Sjoberg replied in the affirmative.
“Did Copperfield ever discuss Jeffrey’s involvement with young girls with you?” she was also asked.
“He questioned me if I was aware that girls were getting paid to find other girls,” Sjoberg said.
Copperfield, she said in the deposition, didn’t tell her anything more specific related to that matter. “Did he say whether they were teenagers or anything along those lines?” she was also asked.
“He did not,” she said.
Reports predating the documents’ release indicate that the actors Kevin Spacey and comedian Chris Tucker traveled with Epstein on his private plane during a tour of Africa.
Bekiempis, V. (n.d.). Jeffrey Epstein boasted of spurious celebrity connections, documents show. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/jan/04/jeffrey-epstein-list-celebrity-name-documents