New documents reveal that leading figures continued to associate with hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein years after he was convicted of sex crimes. The Wall Street Journal culled through thousands of pages of unreported e-mails and schedules from 2013 to 2017 to discover that “Epstein arranged multiple meetings with prominent individuals after he had served jail time in 2008 for a sex crime involving a teenage girl and had been registered as a sex offender.”
A name frequently mentioned in the April 30 report was former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, described as a “regular guest.”
In September 2013, Epstein arranged a meeting with Barak and Joshua Cooper Ramo, who then served on the boards of Starbucks Corp. and FedEx Corp.
In 2015, Barak met Epstein with Noam Chomsky, a linguistics professor who has expressed virulently anti-Israel views. Chomsky said Epstein arranged the meeting with Barak to discuss “Israel’s policies with regard to Palestinian issues and the international arena,” according to the Journal.
Barak has said that he frequently met with Epstein on trips to New York, where he was introduced to Ramo, Chomsky and others. “He often brought other interesting persons, from art or culture, law or science, finance, diplomacy or philanthropy,” Barak said.
Epstein, then 66, was arrested in July 2019 on charges of molesting underage girls in his homes in Florida and New York. He had previously served what was considered a relatively light sentence of 13 months in jail after a plea deal in 2008 on similar charges, avoiding a life sentence.
Barak admitted at the time that he had met Epstein at least 10 times and condemned his actions. “I am a feminist. The deeds attributed to Epstein are heinous and I had nothing to do with them,” he said, adding that he’d cut all ties with the billionaire financier.
However, Barak‘s reputation was damaged as he attempted to make a political comeback at the age of 77 with a new political party he founded, the Israel Democratic Party. He has since taken an active role in the anti-judicial reform movement.
On Aug. 10, 2019, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.