Jeffrey Epstein insisted he wasn’t a pedophile and compared himself to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft during a series of off-the-record interviews earlier this year, the reporter who spoke to him revealed on Tuesday.
Epstein downplayed his 2008 Florida conviction on two counts of soliciting prostitution — one involving a minor — by claiming he didn’t know the girls he paid for “erotic massages” were underage, Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino wrote.
Epstein also told Gasparino that case “wasn’t that much different than what happened to Bob Kraft,” who was busted in February on pending charges of paying for sex acts in a South Florida massage parlor.
“Only he went somewhere, and they came to me,” Epstein said.
Epstein claimed that he wasn’t the pervert portrayed in news accounts, telling Gasparino, “I just want you to know I’m not a pedophile.”
“Maybe the only thing worse than being called a pedophile is being called a hedge fund manager,” the multimillionaire financier added with a slight laugh.
During three phone conversations in March, Gasparino said, Epstein gave no inkling that he knew he was the target of a federal investigation that led to his July 6 arrest on allegations of abusing dozens of girls as young as 14 in his Upper East Side townhouse and waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005.
Gasparino said he initially arranged the interviews to find out whether Epstein had scored his sweetheart plea deal in Florida by cooperating with a federal investigation into the 2008 financial crisis.
Epstein called the idea that he was a snitch “all b——-,” Gasparino wrote, adding that Epstein said an FBI memo that noted how he “provided information to the FBI as agreed upon” referred only to the sex-crimes allegations against him.
Gasparino said he decided to break his promise to keep his conversations with Epstein confidential in part due to Epstein’s death, noting that “journalists have been known to provide the identities of anonymous sources on important stories once the person has passed.”
“More importantly, this qualifies as an important story,” the veteran financial reporter wrote.
“Anything we can glean about Epstein, in his own words and not filtered through the nuances of background sourcing, may provide a better understanding of the man and the allegations against him.”