Fact check: Everyone wrongly named in Jeffrey Epstein news
After Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest, several names popped up in connection with her case. A Twitter user started a thread rattling off names sourced by bad-boys.us and connecting them with the Ghislaine Maxwell & Jeffrey Epstein cases. The post was shared over a million times on social media.
While the list named convicted sex offenders who targeted children, none of the names had to do with Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial or the unsealed documents. Some are tangentially related to Jeffrey Epstein. Harvey Weinstein was friends with Epstein. Most of them are unconnected.
How did this social media rumor blow up? Also, who was named that has no connection to Jeffrey Epstein? Here’s what we know so far.
Media producer Harvey Weinstein came under fire during the #MeToo movement as allegations sprang up that he sexually abused his employees. Weinstein was convicted and is serving what amounts to be a life sentence. While he was close with Jeffrey Epstein, the details of his case are only vaguely related.
The only connection between Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein comes from a report of how the two fell out. According to a lawyer for Epstein’s victims, Epstein cut off their friendship when Weinstein verbally berated one of Epstein’s “favorite girls” for rejecting his advances during a massage.
Given the friendship between Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein, it’s likely that Weinstein was one of Epstein’s clients. However, there’s been no link revealed in either the Epstein investigation or the Ghislaine Maxwell documents yet.
Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner fell from grace after he sent an explicit photo of himself to a 21-year-old woman. Then, he was caught sending pictures to multiple women, once when his toddler was present. He pled guilty to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor, ending his political career, mayoral run, and marriage.
U.S. Representative Keith Farnham was caught with child pornography in 2014. Amid the scandal, he resigned from his post. He was convicted of possessing child pornography and sentenced to prison. He died in prison in 2017 related to health conditions he had before surrendering himself to prison.
Farnham was caught after investigators seized a computer in his office and found over 2,700 files of child pornography. Some of the children were six-month-old infants.
This former Racine, WI mayor was sentenced to prison in 2010 after he tried to solicit a minor for prostitution in 2009. That “minor” happened to be an undercover police officer from the Wisconsin Dept. of Criminal Investigation. Becker’s arrest shocked & disturbed Racine, where he had been mayor since 2003.
Becker would have only faced probation, except when investigators searched his home, they found pink and black sequined girls’ panties. The find landed Becker in jail for three years, with an additional five years of court supervision.
The former mayor of Stillwater, NY was sentenced to five to fifteen years in prison for downloading & viewing child pornography. During his sentencing, the judge reminded the court that what he did was not a victimless crime. Nelson expressed his remorse, saying “sorry is just not enough” to his family & friends.
Nelson pled guilty to five counts of possessing child pornography and pled twice due to a change in New York law. His conviction marked the fifth time in forty-two years that Nelson was accused of victimizing children, according to The Times-Union.
How were the facts checked?
While the crimes these powerful men committed were reprehensible and disgusting, they weren’t connected to Jeffrey Epstein. With the exception of Weinstein, whose formal charges haven’t been linked to Epstein, none of the people named were in the Ghislaine Maxwell documents.
The post was fact-checked by Facebook as part of its initiative to prevent false or misleading information circulating on its site. Politifact also documented the hundreds of pages that were released from the Ghislaine Maxwell civil suit.
Other inconsistencies between the above cases and the Jeffrey Epstein & Ghislaine Maxwell investigations are the nature of the crimes (child porn vs. sex trafficking) and whether the perpetrator knew the victim. Sadly, many of the victims in the wrongly linked cases were the children & stepchildren of the perpetrators.