Rumors about Jeffrey Epstein’s inner circle filled social feeds in early 2024 after a judge in New York unsealed legal documents related to his sexual abuse of teenage girls.
While the records added few details to what was already known about Epstein’s offenses, they gave fodder to people eager to fictionalize the late, convicted sex offender’s impact on high-profile people and evidence of his crimes.
- An image that supposedly shows Epstein and former President Donald Trump sitting next to each other on a private plane. Although there are multiple authentic photos of the two together (Trump has called Epstein a “terrific guy” and was named in the recently unsealed documents), this image of them on a plane, in particular, is fake.
- A video that was said to show former President Bill Clinton at a hospital recently to distract the public from the aforementioned documents. The footage was actually from 2021. (Clinton's name also appeared in the newly released records.)
- A painting that was supposedly owned by Epstein and depicted former President George W. Bush playing with paper airplanes while sitting in front of two collapsed Jenga towers. While the painting is real, there’s no credible evidence to confirm (or disprove) Epstein owned it.
- A photo of Taylor Swift with her arm around a man people mistook for Epstein. In reality, the man is Monte Lipman, the CEO of Republic Records.
- A video that social media users framed as footage of young girls in a house on Epstein’s island. No evidence connected the video to him.
- An AI-generated image of a young girl wearing a crop top with Epstein and Trump. There were telltale signs of the photo being fake. For instance, the faces of people in the background are deformed and Trump has only one leg.
Think you’ve come across a fake photo or miscaptioned video involving Epstein? Send it our way for potential fact-checking.
Not all rumors linking Epstein to former presidents are made up. For instance, a photo showing Trump with two of his children, Ivanka and Eric, alongside Epstein in the ‘90s is real, as well as a photo that was taken a few years later including Melania Trump and Epstein’s longtime partner, Ghislaine Maxwell. Also, there is a genuine photograph of Chauntae Davies, one of the women who has come forward to accuse Epstein of sexual abuse, giving Clinton a shoulder massage.
Moreover, Epstein's connection to former presidents has been well known for years. And, while politicians including Trump and Clinton appeared in the recently unsealed files, it was erroneous to frame that fact as evidence of their complicity in Epstein-related sex crimes.
— Snopes staff contributed to this report.