The Rich Escaped Justice

The Rich Escaped Justice

As one adage would have it, “All newspaper opinion writers do is come down from the hills after the battle is over and bayonet the wounded.”

Or as George Bernard Shaw wrote, “A newspaper is a device unable to distinguish between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.”

Given that “Maxwell Found Guilty of Procuring Teen Girls for Epstein” was the front page, banner headline, above the fold, it looks like Shaw may have been on to something.

The Ghislaine Maxwell verdict is reminiscent of two previous high profile prostitution cases: Sydney Biddle Barrows a.k.a. the “Mayflower Madam” and Heidi Lynne Fleiss a.k.a. the “Hollywood Madam.” Barrows and Fleiss were both stripped to their skivvies by the IRS and brought to justice in public trials without besmirching the good names of their honorable clients. All three trials were as much about damage control as they were about justice.

The plotlines fit somewhere between Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and Nathaniel Hawthorn’s “The Scarlet Letter.” When the wheels of justice take a year and a half to indict Maxwell for the Epstein capers, and she was hiding out in broad daylight the whole time in the boondocks of Bradford, New Hampshire one might question the urgency of her case. We might wonder if the authorities will be able to locate Andrew Cuomo when his time comes.

When a federal jury requires five days of deliberations, one might wonder how cut and dry these cases really were. Whether it is the reporting or the proceedings themselves that dance around the fire is debatable.

Regardless, the tunnel vision and laser focus of the reporting is inescapable. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Verdict caps yearslong effort to seek justice for Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers.” Why isn’t this reported as justice for Ghislaine Maxwell’s accusers?
Could there be an element of truth when Maxwell’s lawyers aver that “she was being used as a scapegoat?”

While Maxwell is “described as the longtime confidante of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein,” the jury was confronted with irrelevant “Photographs of Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein … to show that they had a close relationship.” To prove it, the jury was presented with a photo of her giving him a foot massage; now that is romantic intimacy. The implicit purport is that a guilty verdict for Maxwell is a guilty verdict for Epstein.

The Journal reported that “Epstein amassed a half-billion-dollar fortune by leveraging his ties to rich and powerful people.”

A Pope and Fidel Castro being amongst them. Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but if the documentaries on Epstein hover over the truth, it was his — now missing — archive of videos in the Manhattan townhouse that netted the half-billion-dollar fortune via old fashion shakedowns like blackmail and extortion.
“Rich and powerful people” are willing to invest a lot of money to hose their clay feet and preserve a patina of integrity. Just ask Prince Andrew.

Picture a “half-a-billion-dollar fortune,” then imagine the salivating tort lawyers and class action lawsuits that Maxwell’s guilty verdicts will inevitably grease the skids for. A Mall Lawyer could win such a case.

The Journal reported that “prosecutors said … her role (was) … helping Epstein sexually abuse underage teens.” Although “prosecutors called two dozen witnesses, including former pilots” there is no mention of Lolita Express passenger manifests nor names that appeared on these FAA required lists. Would it be unreasonable to think that Maxwell effectively helped the passengers on those manifests to sexually abuse underage teens? Did the people who were freighted to Saint Thomas and the Little Saint James pleasure dome also “sexually abuse underage teens” or did they go there just for shuffleboard, Piña Coladas and conch fritters?

The Maxwell trial could have been an opportunity to really lance a scandalous carbuncle on the scale of the Private Server Emails, Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian Sinecure and Art Sales, Whitewater, or the Christopher Steele Dossier. Instead, the trial appeared more like the surgical application of a cosmetic butterfly stitch.

The Journal reminded us that “Epstein died” — as determined by “The New York City medical examiner (who) ruled his death a suicide” — in a federal jail cell “in August 2019 while awaiting his own sex-trafficking trial.” Is it a coincidence that many of the “rich and powerful people” who toured the tropical expanses, and undoubtedly reposed in the boudoirs, of Little Saint James, also hailed from New York City?

As U.S. Attorney Damian Williams crowed in his statement, “A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable … The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done.”

What he might have said was that damage control was successful; all the men actively participating in the prostitution ring inexplicably escaped unsullied and unindicted, while one 60-year-old woman took the rap and will be forever locked up, out of sight and media coverage.

A small price to pay to protect the freedom and reputations of a group of men that deserve neither; now is that really justice or a cover-up? As reported, “The trial outcome followed a yearslong effort to bring closure to scores of accusers of Epstein.”

With all due respect for the victims, is there any doubt that no one appreciates the “closure” more than those semi-tumescent “rich and powerful people” on the passenger manifest of the Lolita Express?

— Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey R Smith, US Navy Retired