The Jeffrey Epstein scandal only recently made headlines, but I've been reporting on him and publishing jaw-dropping stories on his web of evil since 2014. Why did the media stay away from this story for so long? Does the story end with his death? (And was it really a suicide?) What other revelations are still to be revealed? And how do we find out all this information?! AMA!

Proof is in the last sentence of our special episode: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/epstein-devil-in-the-darkness/id1478027784

And here: https://www.facebook.com/2179/posts/10109553402212181?sfns=mo https://twitter.com/MelissaECronin/status/1180131925081628678

Edit: Gotta sign off and go record for the pod! Thank you all for participating! I'm sorry for the slow start. Didn't expect there to be so many questions : ) If I didn't get to your question, tweet me @MelissaECronin. If there's enough interest, I'll do another AMA at the end of the podcast in Nov. Check out all of the revelations from the upcoming episodes at the link above and you can also get our book on Dec. 3, Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

'Til next time - Keep up the fight!

Comments: 1469 • Responses: 94  • Date: 

crackeddryice1469 karma

Since you're paying closer attention than most of us, and you brought it up in your introduction above, what do you have to say about Epstein's reported suicide?

LocusAintBad896 karma

She’s not touching that one with a ten foot length of sheets tied together.

C2melissa3593 karma

I'll go there! And if I turn up dead in the next few weeks you all can avenge me ; ) This would be a good time to note that everything I'm saying here is my opinion and not the beliefs of my employers or business partners, etc etc...

So pretty much _every_ single person we have talked to believes it was not a suicide. At this point, I agree.

First, I do not think that suicide fits with Epstein's character. He always believed he was above the law, and death is the ultimate justice that no one can escape. I find it hard to believe he'd submit to that willingly. Yes, he would be escaping the legal system in doing so, but there are other ways to do that...

Second, I believe that the Occam's Razor in this case points to a hit. Suicide is not the easiest explanation. How did someone who'd supposedly tried to kill themselves just days before get the time and space to go through with it? Why were the security cameras malfunctioning? Why did the guards skip their check-ins? There are too many unexplained variables for a simple suicide, I believe.

In our reporting for the podcast, we actually found and talked to a man who was in a cell across from Epstein's the night of his first "suicide attempt" and witnessed at all. We'll play that interview in an upcoming episode. He has a lot to say about how the guards treated Epstein, and that has definitely influenced my thinking...

And in future episodes, we'll get much deeper into the blackmail tapes, the Mossad question, and other variables that definitely problematize the suicide verdict. Definitely keep listening to hear more of that!

crookedRd1001 karma

I'm so confounded as to why there isn't an absolute army of investigative journalists covering this. What are the barriers?

C2melissa1370 karma

I have felt this way for years! The simple answer is, it's HARD, and a lot of journos are lazy. Myself included at times ; )

First, it's hard because this case has been so buried.

When I first started reporting this case in 2014/2015, the authorities in FL made a simple records request a total nightmare, giving me the runaround for years. "The FBI actually has those records, why don't you ask them. They said we have the records? Oh wait, we do have those records but they washed away in a hurricane...etc etc etc." You might have seen that American Media actually had to sue the FBI at one point to try to get at the files.

In cases like this, making a few phone calls won't cut it. Our reporter Marjorie Hernandez hounded the authorities in PB for months to get the victim interview footage you hear in our next episode.

And we actually sent a reporter out to New Mexico to dig into the Zorro Ranch compound. To my knowledge, no one else has devoted the time or resources there that we did. When she met former employees there, they told her that they'd all had to sign confidentiality agreements. It took a lot of great work by our reporter Katy Forrester to help them feel comfortable speaking out.

That leads me to the second point: It's hard because everyone involved is so scared.

Almost everyone close to the case has been scared for decades: of Epstein, of his powerful friends, of the authorities, etc. Some of these people have obviously felt emboldened by his death, but the reality is that his power lives on in his co-conspirators. When we spoke to Epstein's former chauffeur for the podcast, for example, he insisted on conditions of anonymity because he is still afraid for his life.

It takes a lot of work on our reporting team's part to help people feel safe in this process, and it takes a lot of courage on behalf of the sources to decide this story is important enough to go and risk everything.

The team I work with has never been afraid of hard work. We get fired up when someone tells us "No comment," or "The records aren't available." We think this story is worth the effort.

t_ommi568 karma

My lawyer friend in NYC called Epstein’s death the biggest flex of the government and wealthy class he’s ever seen. What is happening to understand what happened at that federal facility?

C2melissa466 karma

Of course Atty Gen William Barr says they're investigating, but anyone who follows this case knows you can't always take the government's word for it. As part of our own independent process to try to understand what happened, we actually found and interviewed someone who witnessed Epstein's first suicide attempt inside the MCC. We'll air that interview in an upcoming episode, and when you hear it, I think it will definitely give you greater insight into exactly what happened.

Dimbostar502 karma

Do we expect to hear of any prominent people getting prosecuted or will most be protected?

C2melissa823 karma

More prominent people will be prosecuted. The US Atty's office for the Southern District of New York has historically been able to rise above bureaucratic bullshit in service to the truth. In this case, they were able to get as far as they did with Epstein. Insiders close to the case tell us they're focused on getting co-conspirators. I'm not saying we can trust the system to get them locked away forever, but this investigation isn't over.

atseasheiscalm436 karma

What is the most alarming discovery for you in all of your years in researching him?

C2melissa1242 karma

Overall, the most astonishing discovery throughout the whole process of investigating this has been how deeply and extensively it was hidden from the public. As my team began doing new reporting for the podcast, I was so stunned to find how even almost six years after beginning my reporting into all things Epstein, there were STILL videos, documents, witnesses that I had never been able to uncover before. The depth of the rot is so extensive. That's what's so alarming to me. Overall, this is probably the most disturbing story I have ever covered, and it's the one that has been the most challenging to untangle because it's been buried so deep.

On top of that, it's alarming that so many people find it so easy to move on to the next blip in the news cycle. Back in 2014/2015, it was so hard to find a receptive audience for the totally jaw-dropping things we were exposing. And now, we're not even two months past Epstein's suicide and it's already quieted down in terms of wider media coverage.

In terms of an actual fact or incident that I found most alarming, it was probably watching the victim interview videos that we were able to obtain from the Palm Beach police. Even after reporting on this for years, actually hearing the girls' voices from back then and seeing how young they were added an entirely new layer of heartbreak to this. We're playing audio from a bunch of those videos on next week's episode. Listening to it will really remind everyone what's actually at stake underneath all of the intrigue.

Pancho_Lefty2338 karma

Do you believe Epstein was an Intelligence Agency asset running a blackmail operation? If so, do you believe it was a domestic or foreign agency?

C2melissa583 karma

Yes, everything points to a massive blackmail operation. Based on the people he surrounded himself with, I believe it was a foreign agency. If he'd been American intelligence, he would have cultivated different sources.

All-TimeGringo233 karma

Where in the world is Ghislaine Maxwell? What was that photo with the CIA book all about?

C2melissa348 karma

If I had to guess, I would say that Ghislaine Maxwell is in Israel or on a yacht somewhere. Given her dad's ties, it would be easy to disappear with the help of the former. I believe the In-N-Out picture was definitely staged, and the CIA book was a big Eff you. The main clue, according to one of her family friends, was that she was photographed with so much junk food and she was always on a strict diet!

jackrack1721113 karma

Did you happen to see the NY Post article pre suicide about a mysterious In and Out burger being found on the streets of NYC? It was written up very strangely, and made several odd references such as, "some billionaire with a private jet probably put it here as a prank." There's some deep conspiracies that the article and Ghislaine's photo op weeks later are connected, and perhaps contain some intelligence code. I know, tin foil hat, etc... But I found it interesting and would like the opinion of a sane person on the matter! Thanks for doing this AMA!

C2melissa102 karma

Yeah I saw that! Sorry to say I don't think it's connected : ) The genesis of the burger story seemed legit and the effort to fake it may not have been worth it imo.

lackimagination220 karma

I read somewhere that he didn't make as much money from finance-related work as would account for his wealth. Do you have more info/sources on this, his hedge fund accounting analysis and such? This would be compelling to try and look into where his money actually came from.

C2melissa319 karma

Yes - Episode 2 goes really deep into this and it's fascinating. Wall Street power players say it didn't appear to come from legit means. His former colleagues say he was involved in arms deals in the beginning, and that he got his base wealth from the Towers Financial Ponzi scheme.

nochinzilch187 karma

How do we find other people (or groups) doing things like Epstein was? What warning signs did we as citizens miss, and how can we identify this sort of activity in our own universes?

C2melissa294 karma

A lot of people we interviewed said they saw things but assumed it wasn't as bad as it looked. It was easy to look the other way. Don't assume. Try not to be awed by wealth and power. Question official reports. Don't just trust the government to find the truth and protect you.

IamRick_Deckard164 karma

What, in your estimation, is the goal of Epstein's activities? Is the main point human trafficking and pedophilia, or is that a means to exert more pressure on other activities, such as espionage and extortion?

C2melissa304 karma

The more that we learn, the more it seems clear that the goal was not human trafficking and pedophilia. I saw inside his New York home, and he had professional-grade printers everywhere. Feds found dozens of photos in his safe. You wouldn't need to collect all of that material if it was just for your own personal enjoyment.

chickenwing7963162 karma

Why did you consider investigating Epstein?

C2melissa376 karma

Hi everyone! Thanks for joining. This is probably a good place to start.

I began my career as an investigative journalist in 2007, almost straight out of college, working at a tabloid. My dad was an FBI agent, and I loved digging around to find the truth that celebrities and power players tried so hard to hide.

Honestly, I never heard _anything_ about Epstein until the victims' rights case was filed in FL in 2014, and when we started to get court documents out of that case and the subsequent Virginia Roberts Giuffre case, I was totally blown away, wondering 1-Why wasn't this a bigger story the first time around, and 2-Why weren't more people covering this?!

I still feel really driven to expose the truth of this story because it is so massive, so disturbing, and so many people are still ignoring it / wishing it would be swept under the rug.

Overall, the case (and its coverage) says a lot about the dark side of our society as a whole. It's so important, even beyond Epstein and his co-conspirators.

studylife2154 karma

has anyone seen a picture of Epstein's dead body with face clearly shown at the pathologist's for autopsy, same for at burial? I think it may be possible for someone as influential as Epstein to not die, body replaced by someone else and Epstein enjoying his life somewhere outside or maybe even inside USA.

C2melissa190 karma

We have not seen such a photo. Personally, I want to explore this angle more in the coming weeks, because I do think it's entirely possible.

Tacopizza1999144 karma

How on earth have Prince Andrew and Ghislaine been able to walk around without repercussions? How are they being protected?

gnosisong91 karma

Great question - I think ghislane disappeared, but prince Andrew is very interesting to me - how is he completely unscathed and no one seems to dig into his involvement further. Do British royalty just universally get a free pass from scrutiny on stuff like this? Or has the British govt severely restricted access to him from foreign reporters and investigators, etc? Is he out and about, or has he shut himself in a castle somewhere?

C2melissa158 karma

Prince Andrew and Ghislaine obviously deny they've done anything wrong. (Legal disclaimer necessary!)

But international intelligence and British aristocracy certainly can help people hide, if they have a reason to. I think prosecutors are focusing first on easier targets in the US.

_CommanderKeen_134 karma

Do you get tired investigating crimes of people so powerful you know in your heart the worst of them will get away with it? Or do you believe that it is remotely possible that justice will be served?

C2melissa337 karma

Today, we can't depend on the legal system to award justice in all cases. My personal belief is that getting the truth out there when people don't want it out there is justice.

bozacsupertramp133 karma

Do you think Epstein was foreign intelligence?

C2melissa259 karma

We split hairs on this a lot - was he "foreign intelligence, "a spy," "an asset," or part of "a honey trap" with Ghislaine? The more we report on it, the more I'm sure that it was some combination of those. We started getting into this in our special episode with John Mark Dougan, but there's a lot more to come in upcoming episodes.

No one would amass all of that documentation for their own personal spank bank..

JonnyOnThePot420118 karma

Do you believe we will seen any kind of justice come from this clusterf*** that has happened? Epstein must have had many accomplices.

C2melissa220 karma

We have heard from sources inside the NY investigation that it certainly has not slowed since Epstein's death, and they are intent on getting the co-conspirators. Honestly, I think they're probably a little pissed about what happened with the "suicide" and how higher powers might have allowed it to take place.

I'm also really intrigued about the Paris investigation, and what will come from that. We have directed resources to Europe in recent weeks due to that development.

Any of us reporting on this have to believe that justice will be served, in order to do what we do. If only in the sense that the truth will be revealed. I don't hold any faith that co-conspirators will end up locked away and rotting in prison, for sure. But every time we talk to a victim or former accomplice who shares new information publicly, every time we find new documents and materials that have been buried for decades, it feels like a little bit of justice.

The people involved certainly don't fear the rule of law, but they do fear the truth.

ALiddleBiddle116 karma

Has the FBI or any other law enforcement agency searched the Zorro ranch in New Mexico?

C2melissa207 karma

Not yet! We talked to someone who had been inside and they told us about a freaky basement situation that's described in upcoming Episode 6.

Sansophia116 karma

Why does it seem to me that not only is this a not a suicide, but the way it was done, it's almost movie designed to make it look suspicious so plebs in Ohio like me KNOW it's murder to remind us we are powerless in the face of the wealthy and powerful? In this case, it's perfectly OK to tell me that bitterness and animosity towards the ruling class are twisting my vision, but between the timing, the method, the way the media has no more interest AT ALL. It feels like a half assed written cover up in a mediocre political thriller.

Am I the only one who feels that way? Can you give me some perspective as a longtime investigator of this matter?

C2melissa122 karma

I know, it does seem laughably obvious at times. I don't think it's a message to the middle classes though. More of a message to some people in the upper ones...

bsbing115 karma

Your dad works for the FBI? Did he try to convince you to leave this alone?

C2melissa296 karma

He did, but he died under mysterious circumstances in 2003. That's for another podcast!

jimmywales2020108 karma

What has been the most surprising reveal in your investigation so far? I love the real-time element of the series, what other targets do you have lined up?

C2melissa273 karma

My favorite "reveal" of the series so far was from Epstein's New Mexico massage therapist recruiter, who told us about her weekend on the property with Prince Andrew and a young woman (NOT Virginia Roberts Giuffre). We had that in the bank right about the time he released his most recent denial, and if you listen to yesterday's episode, it definitely adds another level of questions about what he might have known.

It was really important to me and the team to send a reporter out to New Mexico, because it's been pretty under-covered throughout the years. Obviously everyone knows about the NY and PB homes, but Katy Forrester found so much more out in the desert.

In terms of future reporting, we have a reporter in Europe right now working on locating Ghislaine, untangling Epstein's ties to British aristocracy, and digging in to the Paris investigation.

We also just wrapped an interview with one of Epstein's victims on Wednesday, and she gave us the names of some other never-before-revealed co-conspirators that we are now hunting.

jackrack172177 karma

It's common knowledge that Ghislaine and her sisters still rub elbows with Israeli Intelligence. Ghislaine herself is probably Mossad, or at least worked as JE's handler. Do you really think "they'll" allow your journalist anywhere near her?

C2melissa94 karma

If you're talking about Laura Goldman from the podcast, she is a journalist in general, but did not approach the Maxwells in that way. She's a longtime friend of Isabel, and met her at an event in Israel. They're friends, not a reporter and a source.

In terms of the reporter tracking her in Europe, we're not so much trying to find her by knocking on her door as to find other people and clues that will lead us to her, at this point. That's possible.

dominho197284 karma

Hi Melissa - how big is the operation working on the podcast? Do you have a dedicated team actively investigating / writing in real time as things develop?

C2melissa154 karma

This is a great one because our team is so awesome! All of us have reported on Epstein for years, but when we decided to do the podcast we fired up a whole new round of dedicated effort to tell this story once and for all. That dedication to real-time reporting, combined with our history and experience reporting this case, is what sets us apart from other podcasts.

We sent one reporter, Katy Forrester, out to New Mexico at the start to talk to employees of Epstein's Zorro Ranch. One employee told us about Prince Andrew's secret visit, which is in this week's episode. Our reporter Doug Montero was just down in Palm Beach last week working on some new on-the-ground reporting. We have a reporter in the UK, Aaron Tinney, who has been working on the Maxwells and Epstein's business affairs. In New York, Andy Tillett got us killer material on Epstein's early days, that you heard in Episodes 1 &2. Out in LA, Jen Heger has been getting us updates from several victims' attorneys. Our justice reporter Marjorie Hernandez just flew out from LA to TN this week to interview a victim on film with our DP Jason Katz. James Robertson in NY took a weekend call to Dougan in Moscow, which you heard in our special episode.

And while that's all happening, our script writer Dominic Utton, production team Sean Kravit, Sam Ada, and Tom Freestone and so many others are working on the final product. Our host Danielle Robay records in LA. My co-Executive Producer Dylan Howard is flying around the country meeting with other sources.

It's a 24/7 operation to uncover the truth and we all LOVE it! We are sharing the results of that work with our listeners in breaking news special episodes, like the Dougan one on the blackmail tapes posted last week. We'll have a new one coming up soon...

Armsofdanger57 karma

I’m curious why you’re so open on who’s been working on this when theres probably a huge risk they’ll try to kill y’all if you get closer revealing everything

C2melissa180 karma

We've all had death threats before. When I was little my mom used to say if someone threatened to kidnap me, to say "well shoot me in the street then." I'd have a better chance of being found and helped that way. I kind of feel like doing something like this is equivalent? ha

Hoopty5081 karma

Why do you think this was swept from the headlines so quickly and has seemingly become unimportant as far as current events are concerned? OR better yet, WHO is keeping it down?

C2melissa155 karma

The 24/7 news cycle is always looking for the next storyline and the next hit of dopamine, unfortunately. I don't think anyone is overtly telling outlets not to cover it. Like I said before, it's a tricky story to report on and it's easier for some people to just bang out an outraged article on the President's tweets. I'm interested in seeing, however, how the current big stories might end up being connected to Epstein..

pokeking1078 karma

Can you expand on what is known about Epstein's connection with Mossad, the Saudis, or the CIA? Certainly intelligence agencies regularly employ criminal contacts but what specific activities or services could he have provided them?

C2melissa89 karma

We get really deep into this in upcoming episodes. There's a lot of evidence suggesting that Robert Maxwell was Mossad. We talked to Martin Dillon, author of Robert Maxwell: Israel's Super Spy, who claims Ghislaine followed in his footsteps. She obviously would deny ever being involved.

But Epstein and Ghislaine would have made a great honey trap. They cultivated relationships with politicians and scientists - the latter being an even greater resource for intelligence agencies, and an angle that's not much covered in this case. Epstein had extensive photo and video materials in his NY mansion, and surveillance cameras everywhere, so it would have been easy to gather evidence footage of anyone who visited him there, like Prince Andrew, who was photographed inside talking to a young woman.

ALiddleBiddle71 karma

Do you think that the buck really stopped with Alex Acosta or were there other people higher than him that authored the non-prosecution agreement?

C2melissa156 karma

I 100% don't think it ended with Alex Acosta. No offense to him, but I personally don't see him as a brilliant power player...All signs point to other players being involved, IMO.

bkbrigadier62 karma

Do you think anyone involved in this deep web of fuckery will ever be held legitimately accountable? The whole thing makes me bummed as hell, and the feeling of “I guess if you’re rich enough you can get away with f*cking children” is incredibly depressing and disheartening.

C2melissa124 karma

It depends what you think "holding someone accountable" is. Do I think they'll all go to jail? No. But do I think they could be exposed and lose their businesses, social standing, and/or political office as a result? Definitely. The second scenario might be worse to some of these people.

Joe_cal1759 karma

Before researching Epstein was there something you thought that was true about him that you later realized to be false?

C2melissa168 karma

In the beginning, I thought he was actually a legit genius billionaire! One of the most interesting things about this case has been finding out that everyone secretly thought he was kind of dumb, and that he didn't actually make his millions the usual way on Wall Street.

HunterC9556 karma

How do you stay sane? I feel like the more and more I think of the Epstein shit the more angry and frustrated i feel.

C2melissa60 karma

Connecting with people who actually care about the case helps

fillmo2256 karma

What kind of roadblocks have you hit during your investigation?

C2melissa100 karma

The most significant roadblocks have been lack of cooperation from the authorities and the system of intimidation and fear perpetrated by Epstein and his co-conspirators. I got deeper into this in another answer, but it's been so hard to get documents out of the official agencies. And it's been understandably difficult for people involved with the case to feel safe enough to speak out about this.

Epstein made covering his tracks a full-time job for decades, so it hasn't been surprising that this is one of the harder cases to crack. It makes all of what we've found that much more exciting to us.

audeo1355 karma

What are your thoughts on the abyssmal coverage by the British media of Prince Andrew's connection/part in his dead BFF's hobbies? It seems like the majority of the media out there prefer to focus on any missteps by the Sussexes (real or imagined) rather than a royal prince's unseemly ties to a convicted paedophile rapist. Do you think Virginia Guifres and her fellow survivors will ever see any sort of justice?

C2melissa79 karma

The reality is that the British media often depends on cooperation from the royals to get coverage. Some outlets like The Sun (who did a great story on Andrew today) take a more antagonistic standpoint. The Times of London has done great reporting above the fray on Epstein's blackmail material on Andrew and why MI6 is involved.

In the UK, it's much easier to sue for libel than it is in the US, so they can be a lot more wary about going up against big targets.

In the US, we're certainly not stopping, though.

ALiddleBiddle52 karma

Did Les Wexner actually give Jeffrey Epstein the New York house or did Jeffrey Epstein sign it over to himself when he had power of attorney?

C2melissa81 karma

Epstein bought it from Wexner. He got a _really_ good deal on it, but he didn't actually steal it. Not part of the misappropriations Wexner later claimed happened.

ALiddleBiddle51 karma

Why do you think Les Wexner never reported that Jeffrey Epstein “stole” millions and millions of dollars from him until recently?

C2melissa95 karma

Rich people don't report stuff like that because it's incredibly humiliating. We saw this with Maddoff. They want their friends to think their biz geniuses and saying they were duped is embarrassing. Given Wexner's position, it also could have given his shareholders pause and affected his position at the Limited, if he was so easily bamboozled.

2fast4u_50 karma

Was Epstein a big fish or a little fish in all this? You think there were people giving Epstein direct orders? Is it possible the person above him is walking around in plain sight kind of like when Epstein would just go to parties casually with stars?

C2melissa165 karma

Definitely a small fish. Everyone who we talked to that had met him said Epstein was kind of an airhead. One that caught a lucky break, unfortunately. I don't really think we'll get all the way to the top in my lifetime, unfortunately, but more rungs on the ladder are going to be revealed.

PalmBeacher46 karma

Do you have the autopsy report? The news indicated multiple broken bones in his neck. They kept harping on just the hyoid bone, but if he had any cervical vertebrae broken as well that’s the much bigger story!

C2melissa129 karma

We have a reporter working with a source close to the family to get it.

This was actually really interesting. NY Medical Examiner released the death certificate before giving an autopsy report to the family. That was SUPER unusual. The family was entitled to an autopsy BEFORE the results went public. In the weeks after the death announcement, Epstein's family was calling them almost every day to get the official autopsy and they kept getting put off. Eventually sources said that it DID show broken bones in his neck..

SuchTeach42 karma

How did you get invited inside the mansion, what did you see?

What types of threats/opposition have you faced during your investigation?

Do you have archives of Larry Visoki, Nadia Marcinko, Sarah Vickers, or other associates social media like Instagram?

C2melissa102 karma

Hi! I saw inside the mansion but I did not go_ inside_ it...I describe it in the podcast, but on the surface it just looks like a really gaudy rich person palace. The disturbing Epstein touches were: a professional grade printer, six monitors in a security room showing activity all over the house, what appeared to be a camera on the toilet, a massive massage room pleasure palace with a shower with four shower heads, a jacuzzi in the wall, etc., photos of Epstein with world leaders like Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, and a giant photograph of Epstein carrying an unidentified young (5-6 years old ish) blonde girl on his shoulders, grinning.

jryaegle41 karma

Any insight into how someone actually gets away with that stuff for so long. Like, I understand the being rich part, but is that really all it is? Buying his way out? Or is there a lot of looking the other way/corruption involved?

Edit: spelling

C2melissa78 karma

Money and fear help keep people quiet, but a lot of people definitely looked the other way.

Also, in some corruption cases you have to consider that the people tasked with uncovering the truth might have in effect been investigating themselves, and therefore not really motivated to put effort into it. I'm not saying that's what happened with Epstein, but that's certainly something we've seen in other cases.

Guineapiggea38 karma

Do you believe he is dead?

C2melissa78 karma

Not 100% on that.

greenleaf18735 karma

Was your life in danger at anytime since you’ve started the investigation?

C2melissa88 karma

I don't think so? The only time I've ever felt my life was in danger on a past story was reporting on Kim Kardashian's Paris robbery. Some scary stuff happened.

QuiteAwareWereDying33 karma

How can a person like me make sure this doesn’t turn out like another Franklin Coverup situation?

Lawrence King is still a free man and the people he helped rape children are still walking around free. Is justice blind or just dead?

C2melissa63 karma

Keep fighting to keep the story alive, on Twitter, Reddit, etc. MeToo showed that we have to be so loud as to be unignorable in order to have a chance.

shadowofashadow33 karma

Some people say the pedophile thing is a red herring to distract from the financial side of things. He had tons of money with no way of showing how he got it, he was funding research all over the place with no question of where the money was coming from. what are your thoughts on that side of the story being potentially bigger than the sex crimes? Who was bankrolling him? Was he a conduit to funnel money from the power players without direct contact?

C2melissa44 karma

It's definitely a separate angle, but I think they're tied together. We get into his money in Ep2, and he got a lot of it from business in foreign nations. In terms of being a conduit, I don't think he shared money with others so much as information.

ALiddleBiddle30 karma

What are your thoughts about Vicky Ward? Her story to me is kind of confusing. It bothers me that she says “I tried to warn all of you” but then there are so many pictures of her hanging out with Ghislaine AFTER she realized Epstein was a pedo and her blog entries about Ghislaine are so effusive. There’s also conflicting information because on the one hand she blames the editor at Vanity Fair bring out including the information about young girls in her original article but on the other hand in her blog she says she decided to focus on his business pursuits because she couldn’t really confirm at the story of the girls.

C2melissa64 karma

All journalists are part of the same club to an extent, and I do think she's done great reporting on this case for years. The reality is that as a reporter, sometimes you have to get close to problematic people tin service of the truth. I don't know whether she was truly friends with Ghislaine or cultivating her as a source. And I definitely believe her when she says she faced pushback about the girls' story, and so focused on business. Legally it's easier to get through stories where you have black and white documents as opposed to victim interviews, unfortunately.

gnome82829 karma

Any idea why he had dentist chairs on his island? Also thoughts on the use of that temple?

gnosisong11 karma

Yes - tell us about the temple please 👍🏻

C2melissa57 karma

I don't know about the dentist chairs!

As for the temple, I don't go as far as Satanic rituals or anything like that. The temple looks a lot like the dome I saw inside his NYC mansion massage room area. I think it's likely he just replicated the NY design in the Caribbean, and that he used the space for massages and/or orgies.

The outside coloring and design of it matches his bedroom in NY.

Since so few people have seen inside his home, they wouldn't know that.

It's less ritualistic to me than really bad taste. Not to say that bad things didn't happen there.

climbing33629 karma

The goverment said Epstein ran a sex trafficking network. Have any other arrest been made in connection to the Epstein case as far as direct accomplices?

C2melissa37 karma

Not yet, but the investigation is continuing.

cathmore28 karma

Which celebrities are yet to be named as affiliates?

C2melissa55 karma

Can't say here for legal reasons but hoping we can work with our lawyers to get into future episodes!

forter427 karma

Have you uncovered any substantial evidence that links Epstein's child prostitution ring to prominent figures we would know? And would we be shocked? (you don't have to name any, obviously)

C2melissa68 karma

Yes - I have seen photos of Epstein in his NY mansion with famous public figures that have not yet been identified as having been linked to him. The New Mexico massage therapist recruiter we spoke to also named additional visitors to the ranch that were never known. I have not seen any of the blackmail tapes, but to me that's evidence enough of a link.

freebog27 karma

Blackmail operation? Who is the puppet master? How compromised would our government be?

C2melissa53 karma

Yes, I think foreign intelligence played a role here. I don't think our government was the target so much as specific individuals. Because globally, specific individuals like members of the Bilderberg Group are more powerful than governments..

Lifeesstwange26 karma

How in the world did Epstein fall back into favor after I first read about all the terrible things he did like 7 or so years ago?

C2melissa45 karma

People are willing to look the other way, but I honestly think a lot of it has to do with the internet. When you only had an hour a night for news, it was hard for stories to break through. And the internet back in 2007/2008 was still such a baby. There's more space for stories like this now to breathe and grow.

CommanderCougs26 karma

Hi, love the podcast.

Has your team discovered anyone of note connected with Epstein that you haven't or won't reveal due to fears about lawsuits or threats?

C2melissa53 karma

Thank you! Absolutely. There's one person involved - I won't say if male or female, victim or accused - but they have called or emailed angry about almost every story we've done that named them.

bkbrigadier26 karma

What measures if any, are you and your team taking to maintain an objective viewpoint? I don’t doubt that any of this stuff is true, but i worry about the people who forever gaslight and will go to no end to discredit valid reporting, especially if there’s no like, devil’s advocacy or whatever. Wow I’m really bad with trying to articulate this question...

I mean like the mueller report. Depending which side you are on will depend if you call it a witch hunt or a damning reveal. I hate to think that there’s people who are Epstein-deniers, but let’s face it there will be. And they’ll likely be the people at the top, or blind followers of the people at the top.

C2melissa46 karma

All we can do is present the evidence. We try to let the people who actually witnessed or experienced this stuff tell it all in their own words. That's why the podcast is so great. You can actually hear them say it and judge for yourself.

ggrievous200525 karma

How do you handle situations where law enforcement may be involved in the cover up, do you go to the next higher division?

C2melissa51 karma

A lot of times we have to go higher, push harder (in terms of filing a lawsuit), or finding an employee that may have left because of the corruption and cover-up. With Epstein, that's what happened with John Mark Dougan. He left the Palm Beach County Sheriffs office because of Epstein's sweetheart deal, he says, and now he claims to have Epstein's blackmail tapes. He says what's on there was certainly enough to get Epstein more prison time than he served.

NecroC21 karma

How does a 6'0 tall man hang himself in a cell with a very thin blanket that caused certain bones to snap?

C2melissa43 karma

I don't think that happened. See above.

Ruby_Rad19 karma

Do you fully believe that Epstein is dead?

C2melissa32 karma

No.

j-r-callahan00719 karma

What is the validity of the list that circulated shortly after Edpsteins death that exposed who was seen on the manifest of the Lolita Express? There were dozens of famous and influential politicians and celebrities, how valid are these claims?

C2melissa38 karma

The flight logs are real.

talixansoldier18 karma

Have you looked into, or have any recent information on this supposed investigation by Bill Barr into Epstein's supposed death?

C2melissa26 karma

We actually haven't heard anything specific about it. That's why we've kind of been doing our own investigation in the meantime. We got someone from inside the jail to speak in an upcoming episode.

lovedoesnotdelight17 karma

Why do you think Dershowitz argued against Maxwell’s plea for secrecy?

C2melissa25 karma

Dershowitz has been adamant that Virginia Roberts Giuffre is lying, so he wants to get any potential evidence to that effect out there. He wants all the records involving everyone to be publicized, because he says that will exonerate him.

superkleenex16 karma

Besides some of the countries mentioned in the news such as the USA and Britain, what other countries are there that he had operations in?

C2melissa42 karma

Epstein had an Austrian passport that listed his place of residence as Saudi Arabia. In the 80s and early 90s, he had business throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

But he did a lot of his "business" dealings in the Virgin Islands. He worked with officials there to get tax breaks and had an actual brick and mortar office with employees.

Fark_ID15 karma

What is happening with the dozens/hundreds of labeled DVDs that were found in a safe in his NY apartment? Seems like a pretty solid jumping off point that just went silent.

C2melissa18 karma

I'm sure the authorities are using them as leads to continue the investigation. They won't release anything until they make another arrest.

mungojerry24615 karma

I live in Australia and wasn't really familiar with Epstein until his court proceedings so I am not very educated on him or his story, regardless my question is, Have you met with any less than cooperative people and if so what was their demeanour like towards you?

C2melissa37 karma

Oh for sure. We've had tons of doors slammed in our faces. Someone in FL sicced a dog on our reporter. At least one death threat so far.

People are scared to speak out, and afraid people do crazy things.

boston_shua14 karma

Did one of the cops from his initial arrest move to Russia or something like that?

C2melissa35 karma

Yes! John Mark Dougan was a Deputy Sheriff in Palm Beach County - they didn't run the arrest investigation, but they were responsible for him when he was in prison / work release. He left the dept and fled to Russia, where he has political asylum. He says he took case files with him.

lovedoesnotdelight14 karma

Do you believe that Sarah Kellen and Nadia Marcinko are victims or perpetrators?

C2melissa35 karma

I think they are both. In a situation this evil, the line between victim and perpetrator was frequently blurred as Epstein had his victims become recruiters.

CaptnRobb8214 karma

Have you also investigated people who are connected with Epstein? Are there any names that you would be willing to drop today for us to dig on?

C2melissa29 karma

I can't go too deep here for legal reasons but I think there's more to learn about Jean-Luc Brunel and the FL modeling agency for sure.

Noodletron13 karma

I can understand local police being corrupted by Epstein and his immense wealth and power, but why hasn't any national/ international law enforcement taken Epstein/ co-conspirators to task? To your knowledge, is real effort being put into bringing down criminal associates of Epstein?

C2melissa42 karma

Insiders close to the NY investigation have told us that they're still actively going after co-conspirators. I think they're keeping a lid on the specifics in the hopes of catching these guys unawares, like they did with Epstein at Teterboro.

When Epstein was first investigated back in Palm Beach, someone tipped him off and when the police got there, all his files were gone. In NY, he was surprised and they got all the goods.

They're trying to prevent leaks and get a bigger score.

Tdangles9713 karma

Has anyone seen his corpse?

C2melissa23 karma

Not on our team, and no one that we talked to.

ironlabel113 karma

Do you think there are secret tunnels on his private island? If not what do you know about the island?

C2melissa32 karma

I do think there are secret tunnels. See above re: the temple.

We reported in the past that he held orgies there, and he certainly hosted "scientific retreats" with people like Stephen Hawking.

RedditLovesAltRight13 karma

Who are some of the most interesting people that have associated with Epstein?

C2melissa44 karma

I was pretty shocked by Stephen Hawking, even though he's not alleged to have been anything other than a colleague.

I was also really surprised at the Harvard connections bc I was an undergrad there at the time and I had no idea he was there!

karmenrider55512 karma

I don’t think whatever that dude was hiding will ever come up to light fully, maybe just the tip of the iceberg. Too many elites will dragged down from all over the world and all those who are complicit to his actions.

Even though I still have hope but you know lol human behaviour and hierarchy in terms of money, influence and power. I just want to ask about your opinion, (1) do you think there’s is a chance the whole thing will come to light? Like every nook and crannies.

(2) Do you think his “business” have any affiliation with one of the greatest religious organisation.coughs the church

C2melissa28 karma

I don't think the whole thing will come to light in our lifetimes. It's almost like the story of the entire world. Too much to digest. While we're here, I think we can do our part to get closer to that day, though.

EpicMatt2812 karma

Do you think there is a correlation with Epstein and the PizzaGate conspiracy?

C2melissa14 karma

No.

Ruby_Rad10 karma

I’ve heard about the Clintons, Trump, Tom Cruise, and Barbara Walters being highly connected to Epstein and his island. What other celebrities have you found are connected to Epstein?

C2melissa25 karma

The variety of people who have links to Epstein is really insane. Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker were on the Lolita Express according to flight logs. Bill Gates, too. Stephen Hawking was at his Caribbean Island. Naomi Campbell had Virginia Roberts Giuffre at her birthday party in 2001. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip hosted party Epstein attended in 1990. They all obviously strongly deny knowing anything at all about Epstein's darker side. If you Google Ghislaine and Jeffrey, you'll find even more photos of them with B- and C-list celebrities that are surprising / raise a lot of questions..

ThePracticalDad10 karma

Thanks for sharing. I see based on your comments that those involved have been doing a lot of deep cover given what they would have to hide.

...but , why do you think, we haven't heard more from the victims? Surely at least a few would be willing to speak out. Given the apparent breadth of this atrocity, there must be hundreds? ...I'm blown away that there doesn't seem to have been a single public accusation outside of those directed at Epstein.

C2melissa26 karma

I mentioned this above, but a lot of them don't want to subject themselves to thinking about or talking about this again. It's how some people cope.

Also, they're afraid. Both as adults, and as the children they once were.

It's a really unimaginable situation to be in, and pressing them to speak out is so delicate. We're here when they're ready to talk, though.

Jared_01410 karma

How closely was Epstein tied with the U.S Intelligence community, if at all?

C2melissa11 karma

I think Epstein was watched by the US intelligence community certainly, but I don't think he worked for them.

WanderWut9 karma

Do you expect any justice to come now that all the files have been given to the DOJ, under Barr’s rule? Why has nothing come of all that evidence, which I imagine is pretty damning, after several months and counting now?

C2melissa26 karma

I think other people have access to the materials, luckily. Our special episode with John Mark Dougan gets into this. He took the materials from the Palm Beach case. And if you're referring to the "suicide," I don't think we need to rely on the DOJ to find out what happened. Historically there are always people who believe the truth deserves to get out, whether through a leak or whistleblower action. It just takes time, sometimes, for them to find the courage. I'm optimistic.

Bad-JuJU-Man8 karma

Was he really some kind of informant for the FBI or another agency? Or do you believe that was just the cover to get him a lighter sentence?

C2melissa27 karma

The more we report on this story, the more evidence we have gathered that suggests a link to foreign intelligence.

In terms of his sentencing, Alex Acosta has said that he was told Epstein was intelligence, and that the matter was above his paygrade.

I don't think Epstein was working for the FBI though.

bsbing8 karma

Who is/how are you financing this project? Do you ever feel conflicted about how you are using affiliate marketing in segments?

edit: wording

C2melissa12 karma

In technical terms, I guess I've profited from a lot of scandals. Some people think that that's what all news media does. Sometimes, victims get mad at reporters even just for reaching out.

But if we weren't digging in to this, would they be able to tell their stories? Would the truth ever be uncovered?

At the end of the day, all of us need money to live and resources to reach out to victims and people involved to help them tell their stories. Especially with a case like this, it takes resources to pursue.

I hope the end result is worth it and that we do it in a way that honors the people involved, gives them some sense of peace, and hopefully prevents something like this happening again.

Twrd43217 karma

What’s different about the past and now such that there’s a lot more focus not just on Epstein, but also the people around him, and the institutions who have taken money from him?

C2melissa10 karma

I don't think there's necessarily more focus now, unfortunately. There was more coverage of the arrest because it's more of a 247 news cycle, but it's certainly quieted down. Luckily, places like Twitter and Reddit allow people to connect and build critical mass to keep pushing to get questions answered.

bokito127 karma

What do you know about John Mark Dougan and his claims of having the files that Recarey had on the Epstein case? How trustworthy are these claims?

C2melissa12 karma

We have interviewed Dougan a few times from Moscow and did a special episode on his claims. I have to say he's obviously a character, but I believe him more the more that we talk to him, and the more that comes out.

We wouldn't publish something if we didn't think it had real weight.

He obviously was coy in the beginning, but he has every reason to protect himself.

We're continuing to work to try to uncover all he knows.

GeekinLove7 karma

Do you think him or his ring has anything to do with the rash of kidnappings of young Hispanic girls in Phoenix, Az, that began shortly after his "suicide?"

C2melissa17 karma

Sadly no. There's so much evil in the world

proggieus4 karma

Do you have any plans to try and answer more than 2 questions per hour or is this going to be the longest AMA in history?

C2melissa15 karma

Going faster now! : )

Tiller94 karma

To what extent have you found ties between Epstein & Bill Clinton?

The media wants to wash over this badly, even though he has twenty-some flight records on Epstein's plane, some of which he didn't bring his security detail with him.

C2melissa4 karma

I talked about this a bit above. Clinton is all over the flight logs. He obviously strongly denies any allegations, or even that he knew what was going on.

I actually don't think Clinton was one of the bigger players in this. I think it was just another dumb decision by Slick Willy that ended up biting him in the butt.

lovedoesnotdelight3 karma

Why do you think the FBI isn’t releasing the their evidence/videos?

C2melissa4 karma

They normally don't release materials from ongoing investigations..

fuheyu3 karma

This question might be a little abstract, but bear with me: do you believe Epstein was actually a pedophile? Most people would say the answer is obviously yes, but from what I've seen he targeted teenagers as opposed to pubescent girls. To add to that, I've always suspected that with men like him it's less about sexual gratification and more about power and the ability to be above the law.

C2melissa3 karma

yes, based on what victims have told me about their assaults. We get more into this in upcoming episodes.

BareIceBear3 karma

Can you explain the connection, if any, between Epstein and the POTUS?

C2melissa6 karma

Trump has obviously backed down from his claims that Epstein is a "terrific guy." But like Prince Andrew, it's clear they were more than acquaintances. Epstein's own brother said in a deposition that Trump and Epstein were "good friends" and that he flew on the Lolita Express. Victim attorney Spencer Kuvin told us they had witnesses documenting Trump at the Pam Beach home and obviously there's photo and video of them partying together. Trump seems to want to shut the door on it but it's just one of the many issues on which Americans have to decide if they can take Trump at his word.

ChanadalerBong2 karma

What's your take on Rusty's drone videos and the guy who looked suspiciously like Epstein from early September?

PirbyKuckett2 karma

Wasn't that just his caretaker seen in lots of other photos

C2melissa9 karma

Epstein is not on Little St. James. Guy in the video was a staffer. We've licensed Rusty's video for an upcoming TV show we're doing and he appears to be a local hobbyist. We've spoken to lots of local journos down there who are keeping an eye on the island.

DJValen7ine1 karma

Are you gonna answer any of these peoples questions?

C2melissa4 karma

Sorry - I haven't done one of these before and started too slowly!