Like ‘Stealing a Bagel’: The Way Epstein Reportedly Downplayed 2008 Conviction Sounds Awfully Familiar

Late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein reportedly downplayed his 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from an underage girl by calling it no worse than “stealing a bagel.” This encounter took place when representatives for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation went to the disgraced financiers’ Manhattan townhouse in 2011 to discuss a possible charity fund-raising program, according to three sources for The New York Times. These sources were described as people who were there. Two of them recounted the “bagel” statement.

That story sounds awfully familiar. Epstein said something almost identical on the record in 2011 to The New York Post.

“I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender,'” said the convicted abuser, who was accused of hurting dozens of underage girls, but only pleaded guilty in a relatively narrow so-called prostitution case. “It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.”

In New York, Epstein was classified as a Level 3 sex offender, and therefore considered to be most at risk of a repeat offense.

If the Times report is taken at face value, then it shows that Epstein had a pattern of downplaying his conviction while attempting to reintegrate into high society. To hear him tell it, the events leading to the 2008 were a relatively minor transgression, nothing more.

At the time of his death in August, Epstein was in federal jail facing new charges he abused dozens of underage girls. A medical examiner’s office determined this was suicide.

There’s been a recurring question with the Epstein case: How could an allegedly prolific sexual abuser get away with it for so many years? He only pleaded guilty in the Florida case after reaching a controversial non-prosecution agreement with local federal prosecutors.

Those in Epstein’s orbit also garnered scrutiny. The disgraced financier collected famous friends and acquaintances. Bill Gates is one of them. He met up with Epstein starting in 2011 despite the convicted abusers’ past, according to the Times.

From the report:

In fact, beginning in 2011, Mr. Gates met with Mr. Epstein on numerous occasions — including at least three times at Mr. Epstein’s palatial Manhattan townhouse, and at least once staying late into the night, according to interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship, as well as documents reviewed by The New York Times.

A Gates spokesperson said Gates and Epstein were introduced to each other by “high-profile people” and they met to talk about philanthropy.

“Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so,” Bridgitt Arnold told the outlet. “Gates recognizes that entertaining Epstein’s ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates’s personal values and the values of his foundation.”

[Mugshot via US Marshals]

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