‘All mentioned the girls, as an aside’

Michele Goldberg nails what was at stake in the Jeffrey Epstein: the mesmeric power of plutocrats to hornswoggle the media and handlers to cover their crimes. Reporter Vicky Ward had trouble getting anyone to pay attention to Epstein at the dawn of the 2000s.

Twelve years later, in The Daily Beast, Ward wrote about how, in the course of her reporting, two sisters allegedly preyed upon by Epstein, as well as their mother, had spoken to her on the record. But shortly before the story went to press, Ward wrote, the Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter cut that section, saying, of Epstein, “He’s sensitive about the young women.” (In a statement on Monday, Carter said Ward’s reporting hadn’t been solid enough.)

Over the last couple of months, Ward told me, she’s started going through transcripts of the interviews about Epstein she did more than 16 years ago. “What is so amazing to me is how his entire social circle knew about this and just blithely overlooked it,” she said of his penchant for adolescents. While praising his charm, brilliance and generous donations to Harvard, those she spoke to, she said, “all mentioned the girls, as an aside.”

I see the same privilege claimed by Brett Kavanaugh; the rage on display last October evinced his genuine surprise at being caught. It’s not even that he was caught lying – it’s that he was accustomed to acting as if rape accusations shouldn’t concern him.

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