So what can Ghislaine Maxwell tell prosecutors about the parties with all those Silicon Valley barons?
Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao may have thought she was revealing corruption in Silicon Valley. She did not realize she was implicating herself.
Pao, a bigshot in Big Tech, claims that Ghislaine Maxwell attended a Kleiner Perkins party in 2011. This was three years after Jeffrey Epstein was convicted of child sex-trafficking. The fact that she attended this party is really not newsworthy. What is significant is Pao's comment that "[w]e knew about her supplying underage girls for sex, but I guess that was fine with the 'cool' people who managed the tightly controlled guest list." Members of the "elite" are privy to a great deal of information that is not known to the public because the media do not appear interested in reporting on it.
Others have mentioned that Epstein's activities were well known, too. The late Sen. John McCain's heiress widow, Cindy McCain, earlier on, announced: "Epstein was hiding in plain sight. We all knew about him. We all knew what he was doing, but we had no one that was — no legal aspect that would go after him. They were afraid of him. For whatever reason, they were afraid of him."
Clearly, Epstein's activities were not unknown in elite circles.
Who attended the party Pao described? According to Business Insider, the guests including former vice president (Crazed Sex Poodle) Al Gore, Apple vice president of engineering Mike Abbott, and numerous other tech firm CEOs and financial managers. A number of females also attended the party, but according to Yahoo Finance, "even spouses weren't allowed in."
Pao at the time was a partner at Kleiner Perkins. She left the firm in 2012 and later filed a lawsuit alleging that she was fired for complaining about gender discrimination. Pao was an early proponent of feminism and racial justice in Silicon Valley. However, it appears that her concern did not apply to the sexual exploitation of young teenagers. This is similar to black athletes' concern with the history of slavery while being endorsed by companies that manufacture tennis shoes with slave labor.
The negative reaction to her tweet required some damage control. After all, she was one of the guests invited by the "cool" people. She later modified her statement to claim people only suspected Maxwell's ties to child-trafficking: "To be clear, the press had described her as supplying underage girls for sex, but she had not been charged so I guess it would be more accurate to say we 'suspected' v 'knew.'" She then locked her account. A Kleiner Perkins spokeswoman claimed the firm does "not have any record of Ghislaine Maxwell being invited to a Kleiner Perkins holiday party."
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell traveled in elite circles. Their association with child sex-trafficking was not a problem until it became public. After his conviction, Epstein still maintained his contacts with the elite. In 2010, Epstein held a dinner for Prince Andrew and the guests included Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos. Maxwell was a special guest at Chelsea Clinton's wedding, an invitation few of the elites could cadge. In March 2011, Epstein had a dinner attended by several tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google cofounder Sergey Brin, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Epstein knew Bill Gates and had several meetings with the Microsoft founder following Epstein's first conviction for sex crimes in 2008. Gates later said he met with Epstein to secure funding from Epstein for his charities, calling it a "mistake in judgment." Elon Musk was photographed with Maxwell at an Oscars afterparty in 2014. Musk claims that he did not know Maxwell. George Stephanopoulos claims, "That dinner was the first and last time I've seen him. It was a mistake to go." There will be a long line of people using the Sergeant Schultz defense ("I know nothing").
Will this defense hold up if Maxwell reveals what she knows?
John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (Algora Publishing). He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from St. Mary’s University. He is retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. He is featured on the BBC's program "Things We Forgot to Remember:" Morgenthau Plan and Post-War Germany.
Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of screenshot detail from shareable Netflix video on YouTube, public domain image from Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department, via Wikimedia Commons, and Pixabay public domain image.