Jeffrey Epstein had “close ties” to the sitting U.S. Virgin Islands governor who fired the crusading attorney general behind a lawsuit accusing JPMorgan Chase of knowingly profiting from sex trafficking, a court filing alleges.
JPMorgan has tried to deflect claims that it was “complicit” in Epstein’s crimes by pointing the finger back at one of its accusers: the Virgin Islands government.
Earlier this week, JPMorgan filed a heavily redacted document claiming the Virgin Islands government “actively facilitated and benefited from Epstein’s continued criminal activity.”
On Thursday, broad swaths of redactions were lifted from that document, including black lines shielding passages about sitting Gov. Albert Bryan.
“The USVI has had three governors over the last 16 years: John de Jongh (2007-2015); Kenneth Mapp (2015-2019); and Albert Bryan (2019-present),” a footnote of the document notes. “As detailed herein, Epstein had close ties to each of them.”
Certain unsealed passages describe donations either solicited by or to Bryan.
“Similarly, in 2018, the now-current USVI Governor Albert Bryan facilitated donations by Epstein to USVI’s schools and little leagues,” one of those lines states.
Before being arrested for sex trafficking, Epstein routinely placed donations to cultivate an image of a wealthy philanthropist, and often, prosecutors say, to gain access to young victims. His now-convicted accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial turned up evidence of Epstein’s donation to Interlochen School of the Arts, a summer camp where Epstein met an anonymous 14-year-old victim who testified under the pseudonym “Jane.”
JPMorgan’s filing contains few details about the charitable causes in which Bryan allegedly sought to interest Epstein, but there are a few clues.
One exhibit is described as showing “Governor Bryan’s suggestions for which schools Epstein should donate $50,000.”
Another exhibit states: “Albert [Bryan] asked that the $30K go to the VI Little League.”
A third describes a discussion of a “$25,000 private gift to current Governor Bryan’s inaugural committee.”
Days after ex-Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George sued JPMorgan over its relationship with Epstein, Bryan fired her without explanation. Local press reported that George hadn’t informed Bryan about the lawsuit before filing it, but the governor’s office downplayed any connection between the two events. George was replaced by her deputy Carol Thomas-Jacobs, and the AG’s post is currently under the stewardship of Ariel K. Smith, whom Bryan nominated in April.
A spokesperson for the governor didn’t immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Another part of the document details former first lady Cecile deJongh’s alleged role in tweaking the Virgin Islands sex-offender legislation to Epstein’s liking.
“Is there anything you want me to do re the hearing tomorrow?” deJongh wrote to Epstein before the passage of the legislation, according to the document. “I am going to try to find out if anyone from justice has been asked to testify again on Monday.”
JPMorgan claims that Epstein’s personal attorney Maria Hodge exchanged emails and phone calls with the territory’s Department of Justice and attorney general about changes to the bill, which ultimately weren’t to his satisfaction.
First lady deJongh, the bank says, offered Epstein “comfort.”
“I know this was a horrible week and i am really sorry about how things panned out,” she allegedly wrote. “Not being able to take someone at their word is incredibly frustrating. However, all is not lost and we will figure something out by coming up with a game plan to get around these obstacles.”
JPMorgan claims that deJongh delivered by crafting a plan to travel from and to the Virgin Islands, with the help of then-local politicians.
Read the filing here.
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