Epstein files: What do they show and what does it mean for those named?

Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein (US Department of Justice)
Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein (US Department of Justice)

High-profile celebrities, politicians, and royalty have been named in court documents relating to the late paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke of York, Bill Clinton, Stephen Hawking, and Michael Jackson are all referenced in the first tranche of files, which were published as part of Epstein victim – and Prince Andrew accuser – Virginia Giuffre’s civil claim against disgraced socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the key extracts from the documents and what it might mean for those involved.

Where have the court documents come from?

The documents were used as evidence as part of Ms Giuffre’s civil claim against Ghislaine Maxwell – a case that was settled in 2017.

Why have the files been released?

The documents were published following an order by a US judge, who ruled in favour of the media that it was in the public interest for the names of associates, friends, and some victims of Epstein to no longer be anonymised.

What is contained within the documents?

The documents show interviews given under oath by Maxwell, Ms Giuffre, and a woman named Johanna Sjoberg, who previously said Andrew touched her breast while sat in Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

Also included in the files are emails between Epstein and Maxwell; Ms Giuffre and the FBI; and Maxwell and her lawyers in the UK.

Who are the key figures named in the documents?

The Duke of York features heavily in the documents, as well as former US president Bill Clinton.

Other famous faces include Jackson, Hawking, Donald Trump, and David Copperfield.

What was said about the Duke of York?

Court filings from 2014 resurfaced about Andrew allegedly having sex with an underage girl during an orgy with other underage girls on Epstein’s private island, named Little St James.

Ms Sjoberg’s interview under oath also revealed how she claimed Andrew touched her breast while she and Ms Giuffre were in Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

Andrew denies any wrongdoing.

How will the files affect Andrew’s reputation?

The Duke of York was seen as recently as Christmas Day walking from Sandringham to church with the King and other members of the royal family, just months after appearing publicly at Charles’s coronation in his garter robes.

Andrew reached a multi-million pound settlement with Ms Giuffre in 2022 after she claimed he sexually assaulted her when she was 17, but the resurfacing of the allegations against him are likely to be seen as a setback, potentially jeopardising his hopes of any future public appearances alongside his family.

What was said about former US presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump?

Ms Sjoberg can be seen saying that Epstein had told her Mr Clinton “likes them young, referring to girls” during her interview under oath.

In 2019, Mr Clinton’s spokesman said he knew “nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to” and that the pair had not spoken “in over a decade”.

Mr Trump also featured in Ms Sjoberg’s evidence after she said Epstein had called him and visited one of his casinos due to his private plane being diverted.

What was said about other celebrities in the documents?

Epstein sent an email to Maxwell saying he would be content with rewarding Ms Giuffre’s friends to counter her allegations of wrongdoing after she filed her civil claim – including that Hawking participated in an underage orgy.

Jackson was mentioned in Ms Sjoberg’s interview as someone she had met at Epstein’s house in Florida – but she said their relationship was not sexual.

According to Ms Sjoberg, US magician Copperfield asked her if she was “aware that girls were getting paid to find other girls” and that he performed magic tricks over dinner at one of Epstein’s properties.

Are more documents expected to be released?

There are still a number of documents that are yet to be released, with only 40 of about 250 published so far.