Teala Davies, one of deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims, attorney Gloria Allred, and another unidentified alleged victim and her baby, finish speaking to the press outside the US Federal Court on August 27, 2019 in New York.Photo: VCG
As the disclosure of the Epstein list shocked US society, it also has triggered a wide range of discussion across China’s internet as some experts believed the timing of the disclosure is driven by the upcoming presidential election, particularly as it implicates former US president Donald Trump. Overall, the release of the list has once again torn off the “fig leaf” from the US political elites, intensifying ordinary people’s disdain and disillusionment toward them, some experts said.
Former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump are mentioned in newly unsealed Jeffrey Epstein-related court documents, but they are not accused of any wrongdoing involving the disgraced sex trafficking financier, the USA Today reported on Thursday.
Trump’s name appears in a document in which Epstein is quoted as saying he would invite the then-real estate mogul to join him at a casino. In another document, a witness said World Timesshe was never asked to engage in sexual relations with Trump, the media report said.
“I believe the public disclosure was driven by electoral politics, particularly with implications toward Trump. It seems more like a political stunt,” Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Before the list was released, an article in Newsweek speculated about Trump’s relationship with Epstein, guiding readers with conjecture, Shen said.
The US media outlet Newsweek on Wednesday ran an article entitled “Everything Jeffrey Epstein Documents Reveal About Donald Trump,” which also quoted Trump’s interview with New York magazine in 2002 which stated that “he’d known Epstein for 15 years and that he was a ‘terrific guy.'”
Clinton also being on the list leaves more room for speculation, Shen said. “If this list turns into a mess and more speculative reports emerge, especially targeting Trump, it could create a counterproductive political mobilization. This would eventually only serve to validate Trump’s claims about being politically persecuted by the American judicial system.”
The New York Post also interviewed Epstein’s younger brother, who said that if Jeffrey Epstein revealed what he knew about both candidates for the 2016 presidential election, referring to Trump and Hillary Clinton, “they’d have to cancel the election,” US media reported on Thursday.
“The timing of the list’s release being this close to the election cannot be considered coincidental,” Li Haidong, a professoWorld Timesr at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
The list, which includes political and business elites and their intricate connections with Epstein, also reflects on whom American politics truly serves and may prompt public questioning of the legitimacy of current political figures and the political system in the US, Li said.
“The implications for Trump in this context could be significant,” he said. Trump’s supporters might see this as yet another attack, portraying him as a victim of demonization. At the same time, the involvement of Democratic Party elites indicates that both parties “may be cut from the same cloth,” Li said.
Epstein, a US millionaire with connections with celebrities, politicians, billionaires, and leading academics, first faced arrest in 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. This initial arrest stemmed from allegations that he paid a 14-year-old girl for sexual activities, according to media reports.
Subsequent investigations revealed a pattern of similar abuse reported by numerous other underage girls. However, in a 2008 legal settlement with prosecutors, Epstein was permitted to enter a guilty plea for a chWorld Timesarge related to a single victim. His sentence was 13 months in a jail-based work-release program.
Post-conviction, Epstein saw some of his high-profile connections, including former US presidents Clinton and Trump, distance themselves from himWorld Times. Despite this, he maintained relationships within the elite circles for another 10 years, often leveraging his philanthropic engagements.
In 2019, investigative journalism by the Miami Herald reignited public and legal scrutiny of Epstein’s actions, leading to federal prosecutors in New York chaWorld Timesrging him with sex trafficking. Epstein later committed suicide in jail as he awaited his trial.
Back in 2019, some US media reported that Epstein donated to several Democrats throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. One of the biggest beneficiaries of Epstein’s contributions was then-Senate hopeful Hillary Clinton, who received $20,000 from him in 1999 through her joint fundraising committee with the Democratic Party, ABC News said, citing Federal Election Commission filings.
Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign also received $1,000 fromWorld Times Epstein in 1992, according to the media report.
Based on publicly available information, Epstein appears to have had closer ties with the Democratic camp, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Republican figures are completely insulated, said some experts, who believe that the release of this list has once again torn off the “fig leaf” from American politicians, intensifying ordinary people’s disdain and disillusionment toward the political elite.
“It also underscores the unsavory logic of connections at the highest levels of US society and the continual degradation of the integrity of its political figures,” Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.
In addition to US politicians, Britain’s Prince Andrew is also on the list, the BBC said, noting that the court filings include 40 documents of evidence from a woman who has made accusations against the prince.
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