The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Jeffrey Epstein is Dead

Rich Galen

Monday August 12, 2019

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  • Jeffrey Epstein is dead. He didn't pass away, or pass on. He didn't, as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet's famous soliloquy, shuffle off this mortal coil. We can only hope he didn't, in the words of Dylan Thomas, go gentle into that good night.

  • Apparently, he hanged himself in his federal prison cell on Saturday morning.

  • Subject to your favorite conspiracy theory.

  • I have not made a study of Jeffery Epstein. In fact, I'm pretty sure I never heard of him before the investigative reporter for the Miami Herald, Julie K. Brown, effectively reopened the Epstein case with a series late last year.

  • The recapitulation left a nation scratching its head over this mystery man, this wealthy enigma, this Bizarro Jay Gatsby who showed up to teach at a private school in Manhattan as a college drop-out and walked away as a junior partner at Bear Stearns.

  • The retelling of how Epstein served time in a local jail on a state rap during which he was allowed to go to an office almost every day and just sleep in jail cost Donald Trump's Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, his job. Acosta was the U.S. Attorney in Florida who allowed Epstein to plead to a minor prostitution charge.

  • But the furor that erupted when more and more people were talking about Epstein's pedophilia after Brown's series led - or appears to have led - to the fabled office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to arrest Epstein as he got off his private jet at a general aviation airport in New Jersey last month.

  • Epstein was charged, according to the report in Vanity Fair with "one count of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking."

  • Over the weekend the Washington Post ran a long article about how, before he became involved in the young girl business, Epstein and a partner, swindled millions of dollars from "hundreds of thousands" of investors.

  • Epstein's partner, Steven Hoffenberg, went to jail for 18 years. According to the Post article, Epstein's name, "initially included in prosecutors' descriptions of the scheme, quickly vanished from the record."

  • The U.S. Attorney in Illinois who presented the case to the grand jury, Edward Kohler, told the Post, "All I can tell you is it was 25 years ago. I really haven't thought about it since then."

  • There are several lines of thinking about the sudden death of Jeffrey Epstein. A dead person cannot be prosecuted, but his estate can be sued.

  • One line of thinking holds that without the threat - even from a federal prison cell - of Epstein working his Svengali-like influence over everyone from young teenaged girls to U.S. Attorneys that victims will be more likely to tell their stories.

  • That may drag a number of well-known men into Epstein's posthumous web, but so be it.

  • The other side of the argument is that with Epstein's silence now assured, those well-known men can (a) simply deny any insinuation of their involvement with sex trafficking because (b) Epstein can't trade their names with prosecutors for a lesser sentence.

  • I had dinner over the weekend with three really smart women and I posed this question: Would you rather Epstein have gone to trial and, assuming a guilty verdict or plea, to jail?

  • All three said they would. They wanted Epstein to suffer the psychological and likely physical pain of a multi-decade prison sentence.

  • I wasn't so sure. Given what we now know about Jeffrey Epstein's bewildering ability to slither out of trouble like the cockroach he was, I'm not at all certain that he would have been found guilty in a trial.

  • As far as I'm concerned, Epstein's death on Saturday morning will send him to Hell sooner, and he will have to remain in Hell longer.

  • Justice. At last.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring Page today: A link to an interview with the Miami Herald's Julie K. Brown, to the orgin of the term "Bizarro," to the Vanity Fair report on Epstein's arrest, and to the fascinating Washington Post piece on Epstein escaping being charged in the Ponzi scheme.

    The Mullfoto is a head-scratcher dealing with a telephone pole in the middle of a sidewalk.

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