The Weekly | The Hunt for Jeffrey Epstein’s Hidden Files
THE FULL EPISODE WILL BE AVAILABLE TO TIMES SUBSCRIBERS IN THE U.S. ON
MONDAY, Jan. 5
[You can also watch “The Weekly” on FX, Hulu, and in these areas outside the U.S.]
Episode 22: ‘The Hot List’
Producer/Director John Pappas
When a big bear of a man in flip-flops showed up with a bottle of Japanese whiskey promising to deliver evidence implicating some of the world’s richest and most powerful men in an epic cover-up of sexual misconduct, our reporters were hooked.
The man went by a pseudonym, Patrick Kessler, and he said he had terabytes of video surveillance from Jeffrey Epstein’s residences and other materials that, if true, would validate theories Epstein was engaged in an extensive blackmail operation. Kessler said he would share it all with The New York Times.
As his outrageous story began to unravel, he illuminated something else: how two of America’s top lawyers considered using the promised trove of Epstein information.
This special hourlong episode of “The Weekly” tells the wild story of four Times reporters chasing one of the biggest stories of the year – if only it were true. In the course of their reporting, they get a rare glimpse into the secretive world of legal settlements in which wealthy people are allowed to make damning evidence disappear.
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More than a dozen New York Times reporters have been investigating the Jeffrey Epstein case, including several members of the Business desk, led by Ellen Pollock. For this special episode of “The Weekly,” the finance editor David Enrich and business reporters Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Emily Steel teamed up with Jacob Bernstein of the Styles desk to chase down a too-good-to-be-true lead in the Epstein case.
Accusations of sexual predation had followed Epstein for years, though it wasn’t until his arrest in July that the scope of his abuse became clear.
Epstein long maintained ties to a number of high-profile public officials, celebrities and business moguls.
In an interview with Times columnist James B. Stewart a year before Epstein killed himself in jail, he claimed to know potentially damaging or embarrassing secrets about his rich and powerful friends.
David Boies, long considered one of the top litigators in the country, represents five of Epstein’s accusers who are suing his estate for unspecified damages. They’re also trying to extend the window when victims of sex crimes can bring civil claims to court.
Boies suffered “an unprecedented public relations disaster” after his longtime client Harvey Weinstein was branded a sexual predator and another of his clients, the blood-testing firm Theranos, on whose board Boies served, was exposed as a fraud.
The New York Times fired Boies’s firm, which was representing the newspaper on unrelated matters, after learning he was involved in efforts to smear Weinstein’s victims and deceive Times reporters.
John Stanley Pottinger, a lawyer, former investment banker and best-selling novelist, has been working with Boies to represent women who say they were abused by Epstein. Pottinger’s legal career dates to the Nixon administration, when he served as an assistant attorney general for civil rights.
[New York Times subscribers in the U.S. can watch some full episodes of “The Weekly” on our website. Episodes are also available on FX, Hulu, and in these areas outside the U.S.]
Senior Story Editors Dan Barry, Liz O. Baylen, and Liz Day
Producer Lizzie Blenk
Directors of Photography Adam Beckman and Jaron Berman
Video Editors Geoff O’Brien, Sean Frechette, and Marlon Singleton
Associate Producers Madeline Rosenberg, Lora Moftah, and Wesley Harris
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