Written by Bethany Marsden, CNN
The celebrity billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was sentenced in 2008 to 18 months in jail for soliciting underage girls for prostitution, and reportedly traveled with a stable of underage girls to exotic locations for sex.
On Thursday, W magazine released a new account of Epstein’s last days. It claims that his hotel came under fire over his frequent sexual encounters with underage girls in the final months of his life, even though the allegations were never investigated.
Mark Bury’s vivid description of the hotel’s administration, “the ragtag, cloak-and-dagger operation,” takes readers inside the private cigar lounge at the Coral Gables, Florida property in the months leading up to Epstein’s June 2013 suicide.
During a March 2014 visit, Epstein’s assistant “told them he was taken ill and needed the hotel staff to help him in an effort to keep up with his celebrity friends, including President Obama.” In April, the assistant contacted the chief executive of the hotel about removing the “call center” that had been set up to assist Epstein with his mistresses.
He later booked a room in the suite for a “hangover session,” according to Bury, and by October, the 52-year-old architect was dead from cyanide poisoning. Bury said the bust of the murderer, who wore “a carefree New York Mets shirt,” also appeared in his Palm Beach home.
By April of the next year, two girls had been arrested on charges relating to Epstein’s life. Natalia Veselnitskaya, whose name was first given to CNN’s Jake Tapper in December, initially worked on Epstein’s defense team, but dropped the billionaire after CNN aired accusations of a third woman. She said she was then asked to do Epstein’s “dirty work.”
The Russian lawyer was the founder of the Dossier Project , a platform devoted to investigative journalism with ties to law enforcement. She also advised the Kremlin’s 2014 Sochi Olympics Organizing Committee, which Epstein is said to have bankrolled.
Veselnitskaya is a high-profile figure in Russian politics, but has never been convicted of a crime.
High-level Russian officials have sought to distance Veselnitskaya from Veselnitskaya, telling CNN that her work for her client was professional and not political.