Jeffrey Epstein, the high-profile sex-trafficking suspect who died in a Manhattan jail, asked for nude photos from one of his victims a month before he was arrested, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
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The claim against the disgraced financier's $577 million estate says Juliette Bryant initially met Epstein in 2002, when she was a 20-year-old aspiring model living in South Africa. She says she went to a restaurant with Epstein, after being introduced by a model turned journalist, and then attended a speech in Cape Town he gave the following day, according to the suit.
Epstein asked Bryant to bring a modeling portfolio, per the suit, mentioning his close relationship with Les Wexner, the founder of women’s lingerie company Victoria’s Secret. Bryant later traveled to Paris, where she stayed with Epstein's associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, and says she was forced to pose for nude photos taken by an assistant. She also claims in the suit that Epstein raped her over the course of their travels together.
“Instead of fulfilling her dreams of becoming a model, Juliette was subject to extreme and repeated sexual abuse,” the lawsuit alleges, adding that for two years, Bryant traveled with Epstein to various places in New Mexico, New York City and the Virgin Islands.
“For those years, Juliette felt like a prisoner and was afraid of betraying Epstein because of his money and power,” according to the lawsuit. “She was afraid he would hurt her or her family. In fact, the very first time Epstein brought Juliette to the United States, in order to scare her, he told her that when another woman had accused him of rape, he planted drugs in the woman’s apartment and had her sent to prison.”
On Thursday, Epstein’s estate said it would run a compensation fund to handle claims made by accusers.
Epstein’s death in August was a suicide, the New York City medical examiner’s office ruled, finding that he hanged himself in the federal detention center where he was awaiting trial.
Conspiracy theories abound about how the embattled hedge fund manager’s life ended, including speculation he was killed to keep him from incriminating anyone else.
Former President Bill Clinton flew on Epstein's private jet and once reportedly described him as a "highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist." President Trump also knew Epstein, describing him to New York magazine in a 2002 article as a "terrific guy."