Upon hearing of Jeffrey Epstein's suicide, "one of my first thoughts ... was that many prominent men and at least a few women must be breathing sighs of relief." So writes New York Times business columnist James B. Stewart, recounting a 90-minute background interview he did with Epstein a year ago based on the multimillionaire's rumored role advising Tesla CEO Elon Musk. During the interview, the "undeniably charismatic" Epstein said little of his involvement with Tesla, and Stewart suspects he "embellished his role" in that particular story. But the registered sex offender did claim to know the secrets of "an astonishing number of rich, famous, and powerful people," including information on drug use and sexual tendencies. All in all, Stewart found Epstein surprisingly "unapologetic" about his own reputation, and this paragraph stands out:
- "If he was reticent about Tesla, he was more at ease discussing his interest in young women. He said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable. He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world."
Stewart concludes by noting that he eventually turned down a request from Epstein to write his biography. But now "I'm left to wonder: What might he have told me?" (Read the full column