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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!

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.

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.

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.

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.