Separating Fact from Fiction: Jeffrey Epstein File Unlocked

By: Lauren | Published: Jan 15, 2024

The news surrounding Jeffrey Epstein and the criminal acts he not only committed himself but also facilitated for hundreds of wealthy and famous individuals has been making headlines for years.

However, since the release of a 943-page document on Jan. 3, 2024, which brought new information to light, people online have been incessantly sharing “new” photos and details about who knew and participated in Epstein’s crimes, many of which are fake or altered.

Not All of This 'New' Information Is Real

Even though people certainly know that Epstein and his cohorts did commit the sex-trafficking crimes they’re accused of, it’s become apparent that some incriminating photos have been altered, and many of the claims are completely false.

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A woman protesting against Jeffrey Epstein takes in the shade while outside a Manhattan courthouse where media has gathered for the arraignment hearing of Ghislaine Maxwell

Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

So, in order to gain some semblance of the truth, USA Today’s fact-check team got to work to find out exactly what is real and what is not. Here are just 10 of the rumors the fact checkers have found to be fake and false.

False: Tom Hanks Escaped to Israel to Avoid Criminal Charges

One rumor circulating is that actor Tom Hanks quickly boarded a flight to Israel when the document was released on Jan. 3 in order to avoid being charged.

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Tom Hanks at a red carpet event

Source: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images

A video of Hanks landing in Israel is authentic, though it’s now clear that the footage was from when the star visited Israel in 2014 to attend a friend’s wedding (via USA Today).

False: Oprah Winfrey’s Private Jet Flew to the Island 11 Times

One conspiracy states that Oprah Winfrey visited Epstein’s Island 160 times in recent years, and another claims that her private jet made the trip 11 times.

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Oprah Winfrey smiles at the camera during a red-carpet event

Source: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

However, according to USA Today, neither Winfrey nor her private jet were ever listed on the detailed flight logs from the island.

Unconfirmed: New Document Clears Donald Trump’s Name

Some are saying that the newest document includes a statement from a witness claiming Donald Trump never visited the island, and therefore, they believe the former president is now cleared of suspicion.

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Former president and candidate for the 2024 presidential election Donald Trump

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

But that interview was actually listed in the 2019 document and is not considered by authorities to be concrete proof that Trump was never there, according to USA Today.

False: The Jan. 3 Document Mentions Physicist Stephen Hawking

After the Jan. 3 document was released, a document was posted on X, formerly Twitter, that appeared to include Stephen Hawking’s name.

Famous physicist Stephen Hawking

Source: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

But this document, like many on social media, has been altered, and according to USA Today, Hawking’s name never appeared in the recently released document.

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False: Jimmy Kimmel’s Name Is Listed on the Jan. 3 Documents

Popular TV host Jimmy Kimmel says he has never been associated with Jeffrey Epstein, but after football player Aaron Rodgers insinuated Kimmel and Epstein had ties on ESPN’s “Pat McAfee Show,” people were confused.

Jimmy Kimmel waves to the paparazzi

Source: RB/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

It’s now been confirmed that Kimmel’s name is not mentioned in the document (via NBC Sports).

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False: The Obama Family Vacationed on Epstein’s Island

There was another photo on the internet that appeared to show former President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two daughters on vacation on Epstein’s Island.

The Obama family smiles in a photograph taken at the White House

Source: Pete Souza/White House/Getty Images

Now, the world knows that the photo was taken on the family’s trip to Hawaii, and someone added the famous blue and white striped building in the back (via USA Today).

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False: Kamala Harris and Jeffrey Epstein Were Friends

Another online photo seemed to show Vice President Kamala Harris and Jeffrey Epstein standing together at a black-tie event. However, this was debunked all the way back in 2021.

Vice President Kamala Harris

Source: Alex Wong/Getty Images

But after just a bit of research, it’s clear that the original photo was of Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff in 2015, and that someone superimposed Epstein over Emhoff (via Reuters).

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False: Matthew Perry Was on Epstein’s List

Beloved actor Matthew Perry died earlier this year in the hot tub at his home. But some argue that story is false, and Perry was in fact killed because he visited Epstein Island.

Matthew Perry at a red carpet event

Source: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

But local authorities report no evidence of foul play at the scene of the star’s untimely death, and Perry’s name has never appeared on a flight log or the Jan. 3 documents (via USA Today).

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False: Justin Trudeau Was on Epstein’s Plane

One photo seemed to connect Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Epstein in the form of a CNN graphic. However, Trudeau is not part of the graphic that was shown on CNN, according to USA Today.

 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Source: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The photo was altered by someone on Facebook. Per USA Today, “The Facebook user appears to have taken a screenshot of a graphic from a Nov. 30 broadcast of ‘CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera.'”

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False: Pathologist Michael Baden Is Part of a Bigger Conspiracy

Some believe that Epstein isn’t really dead, and the evidence they use to support this theory is the claim that pathologist Michael Baden somehow autopsied Epstein, as well as JFK, MLK, and George Floyd.

Pathologist Michael Baden testifies in court

Source: Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images

USA Today confirms that this conspiracy is false. Baden was tied to all four investigations in some way (usually through testimony) but only autopsied George Floyd. Baden observed Epstein’s autopsy, per FactCheck.org.

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