Could the strange case of Jeffrey Epstein possibly get any weirder?
Here's a story I reported on today that I couldn't not share. Apparently, a mysterious self-identified hacker who used the pseudonym Patrick Kessler approached the New York Times and attorneys to Epstein's victims shortly after the notorious high-profile pedophile’s death earlier this year.
He claimed to have damning evidence in the form of surveillance footage, photographs, communications, and financial records which implicated several of Epstein’s highest-profile associates.
It has long been suspected that the entire Epstein sex ring was an international blackmail scheme. Wealthy, powerful men engaged in sexual acts with the underage girls Epstein trafficked, and all the while he was recording the interaction.
This is why it so many adamantly insist that he did not, in fact, kill himself.
Zero Hedge explains:
Armed with nothing more than blurry photos of what he claimed were high-profile individuals in compromising situations, Kessler approached lawyers representing several Epstein accusers, John Pottinger and David Boies - the former of whom suggested that billionaire Sheldon Adelson - an ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - might pay for the alleged footage of Barak.
The Times reported:
According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant’s materials — starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election — and fetch a high price.
After many weeks, the Times was invited by the attorneys to speak with Kessler. It was now mid-September. This is when things started to get crazy.
Kessler went rogue.
He contacted the paper, accusing Boies and Pottinger, who he had originally contacted, of an extortion plot against the subjects of the tapes he had.
Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: “Are you free?” He said he wanted to meet — alone. “Tell no one else.”
Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O.
"At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents," the Times wrote.
Weeks after this meeting, the lawyers struck a deal with the Times on the last Friday in September. They’d send a team overseas to download Kessler’s evidence. They had already alerted the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan of this plan. They would then share all their evidence with the paper under the condition that they would have discretion over who could be written about, and when.
Kessler, however, had separately arranged to give the Times his evidence through a series of complex steps, but at the 11th hour canceled, claiming a “fire was burning” and that he had to flee to Ukraine.
In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein’s servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates — a very short Icelandic man named Steven — to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3.
Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler’s colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren’t followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct.
Specialists at The Times set up a number of “air-gapped” laptops — disconnected from the internet — in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage.
On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv.
Just two hours later, however, Kessler would contact Pottinger without mention of any “fire.” He asked the lawyer to put together a plan to get $1 billion from the potential targets with the footage, which the Times seems to think could have been some sort of trap.
Pottinger agreed, however, explaining that they could either use a “standard model” for such legal settlements and split the money among the victims of Epstein, a charitable foundation, Kessler, and themselves (they’d get 40%).
Or, they could approach the high-profile men, convince them to hire them to protect against being sued, and then "make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of their retainer."
Pottinger would represent a victim, settle their case, and then represent the victim’s alleged abuser. If this sounds dirty and crooked to you, by the way, it’s probably because it totally is.
Boies told the Times in a November 7 email, "I still believe [Kessler] is what he purported to be," adding "I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real."
That said, he also noted "I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much."
Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger’s conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines.
Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion?
Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients — in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the “hot list.”
When the Times showed Boies text messages between Kessler and Pottinger, however, he "showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time seeing them."
Boies ultimately concluded that Kessler was probably a con man.
"I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up," he said, adding that he had probably baited Pottinger into writing things that sounded worse than they were.
However, Pottinger claims he was stringing Kessler along, "misleading him deliberately in order to get to the servers."
In spite of Kessler’s story unraveling, the Times still wonders if his claims are plausible:
Did America’s best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men?
Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein’s homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a “sex slave,” wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room.
“I said, ‘Are you recording all this?’” Ms. Farmer said in an interview. “He said, ‘Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.’”
During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks — one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found.
So here we have two lawyers, a pack of fake news journalists, and a hacker, all trying to expose men who may have engaged in a notorious pedophile’s underage sex ring.
So who knows who is telling the truth. But why would Kessler run circles around these lawyers and journalists if he doesn’t seem to have gained anything? Is there perhaps something even deeper going on here?
Zero Hedge concludes:
So - it appears that Kessler was either a fraud or an operative, and the entire saga may have been designed to cast doubt over whether tapes actually exist. Or, Kessler is for real - and for some reason hasn't found a way to release the videos. That said, since he says he's not interested in extortion, what's the hold-up?