Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was pictured posing with one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers — part of the well-connected sex offender’s use of photos to manipulate the women he abused and control the narrative around his nefarious behavior, according to a new report.
The photo — believed to be among the first showing Gates with an alleged Epstein victim — was allegedly taken by the shady financier himself at Gates’ Seattle office in March 2014, years after Epstein’s 2008 conviction in Florida for soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution, The Wall Street Journal reported.
In the image, published by the Journal Sunday, Gates is seen smiling and fiddling with the zipper of his dark quarter-zip sweater as a woman identified as a Polish model, then in her 20s, stands erect at his side in a grey jacket and blue scarf with her chest nearly pressed up against him.
The woman, whose face was obscured in the published photo, told the Journal she met Epstein, a registered sex offender, months before the snap was taken and that he then quickly began showering her with promises that he could help her career with his powerful connections.
At least three other photos exist allegedly showing Gates with Epstein accusers, the Journal reported, saying it reviewed images of a Russian model who claims she was abused by Epstein posing with the tech titan at locations including the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City and Epstein’s Upper East Side townhouse.
Gates, 68, was not the only prominent figure to appear in newly emerged photos with alleged victims of Epstein, who hanged himself in his Manhattan jail cell on Aug. 10, 2019, while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.
The Polish model was also pictured alongside director Woody Allen at Epstein’s townhouse, with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud in 2014, and with former CBS News journalist Charlie Rose, among others, according to the Journal.
The model did not accuse Gates or any of the other men of sexual misconduct.
But her attorneys told the Journal that even if unbeknownst to her, Epstein was using his powerful connections to further his alleged sex trafficking operation.
“Without having legitimate connections to so many high-powered people, Jeffrey Epstein would not have been able to traffic most of these women after 2008,” said Brad Edwards, who alongside his law firm partner Brittany Henderson represents the model and more than 150 of Epstein’s accusers.
“He used the powerful people he was intermingling with to further facilitate his sex trafficking scheme, whether those people knew it or not,” Henderson added. “He was using everyone around him to create this façade of legitimacy.”
A number of Epstein accusers have previously been seen in photos with powerful men, including the now-infamous shot of Britain’s Prince Andrew with his arm around the bare midriff of then-17-year-old Virginia Roberts Giuffre, with convicted Epstein madam Ghislaine Maxwell smiling in the background.
Another photo features former President Bill Clinton getting a massage from former Epstein employee and accuser Chauntae Davies during a trip aboard Epstein’s private jet, known as the “Lolita Express.”
In the cases of the Polish and Russian models, Epstein accumulated images of the young women with business leaders and other prominent men, telling them the snaps could advance their careers — but then used those images to support his narrative of being powerfully connected, which he in turn used to lure in more victims, the Journal reported.
The models told the newspaper that Epstein would push them to post the images to their social media accounts, and would then string them along with promises of being given work through those connections.
But those promises would nearly always fall through in the end.
For the Polish model, Epstein’s drawn-out line of promises ended with an offer to be the mistress of one of his friends, which he said could earn her millions, she told the paper.
She declined the offer shortly before escaping home to Poland in 2015, only for Epstein to use her photo with Gates to try to draw her back.
He sent her the snap in March 2015, telling her that instead of the life she used to live, “now you are back in your room, as you only follow your own advice,” the report said.
“My impression is that becoming a mistress was the only one job proposition you were really serious about,” she wrote to him a few months later. “Meeting Gates or Woody was great — thank you — will never forget it – although nobody hire me just because I have a nice pictures with them.”
Gates has previously admitted to and expressed regret for having several meetings with Epstein in the 2010s — after Epstein’s 2008 conviction in Florida — as part of efforts to raise money for the Gates Foundation.
A representative for Gates reiterated that the businessman and philanthropist “only ever met with Epstein for philanthropic purposes, which he regrets.”
“Epstein tried, unsuccessfully, to connect himself to Mr. Gates by any means possible, including spontaneously bringing in people for photos with Bill, whom Bill did not know or interact with further,” the spokesperson said.
Allen, in a statement to the Journal, said he was never aware that Epstein was using Allen’s name to manipulate victims.
“At no time did he ever request I cast anyone in a movie — and I never did it,” the director said.
Representatives for Wexner, whose fortune Epstein managed for years before being hit with sex crimes in 2006, said the billionaire “severed all ties with Epstein in 2007 and never spoke with him again.”
Epstein was constantly meeting with new potential victims to draw into his web of lies and abuse, often targeting young women from Russia and eastern Europe who had histories of sexual abuse.
Many would be given piles of cash from Epstein, assurances that their visas would be taken care of, that he would pay for their education in the US or that they would be put up in apartments near his townhouse, the Journal reported.
Before long, however, they found themselves being jetted to Epstein’s private Caribbean island where they would be made to spend their days naked, the report said.
He would advise some to abandon their modeling goals and consider massage therapy, which he had them practice on him.
It was in those massage sessions Epstein often began his sexual assaults, according to his alleged victims.
“He knew they weren’t going to report it because they were trained not to report abuse,” Henderson, the victims’ attorney, told the Journal, adding that Epstein engaged in “insidious mental manipulation” that exploited their insecurities and pasts to control them.
The Russian model told the paper she was constantly harassed by Epstein about her weight — sometimes being told she needed to lose weight, then being told she needed to gain it back, though she was around 5 feet 10 inches and just 130 pounds.
“There was always something with my body that was not right.”
Even as his promises for help turned to abuse, Epstein was leaving a paper trail seemingly intended to reinforce the image he’d created of himself as a champion of women looking for their big break.
He demanded written thank you notes from the women every time he did anything for them, the Russian model told the Journal, and would force them to smile while he took nude photos and filmed them.
“It was almost like he was documenting everything so we can’t go against him,” the woman said.
“If you’re not smiley and positive, he was going to give you a talk, because then you’re acting ungrateful,” she added. “And those gratitude letters, I’m sure he was using them as just another guarantee that we wouldn’t go against him.”
No matter how much they thanked him or what they did for him, Epstein’s promises always fell through.
“After a couple of years in the JE circle, none of us had any legitimate things to add to our résumés, and none of the jobs he promised ever materialized,” the Russian model said.
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