A U.S. congresswoman went to Jeffrey Epstein’s home in 2018, within a year of his being arrested on charges of child sex trafficking.
Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.) went to Epstein’s townhouse in September 2018, she acknowledged during a deposition this month.
“I recall going to the address, ringing the bell … someone opening the door,” Plaskett said as she answered questions under oath on May 8.
“He was sitting at a very long table having a conversation with another gentleman,” Plaskett added later. That man left, and Plaskett sat down and spoke to Epstein for a period of time that she said was less than one hour.
They spoke about “Virgin Islands’ politics, national politics, campaign contributions,” according to Plaskett.
Epstein was one of a list of individuals from whom Plaskett planned to ask for money for herself, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), or both. She was supposed to raise a certain amount, somewhere around $250,000, for the DCCC, which helps get Democrat congressional candidates elected.
Plaskett asked Epstein for the maximum donation an individual could give, about $30,000. Epstein agreed and did not ask for anything in return, Plaskett said. But the donation was rejected.
The DCCC conveyed that Epstein “had not passed their vetting,” Plaskett said. The DCCC did not pick up the phone or return a voicemail.
Epstein was a convicted sex offender starting in 2008, when he pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution.
Plaskett acknowledged being aware of Epstein’s criminal past but said she didn’t recall when she first learned of it. The knowledge may have come to her before the meeting. Plaskett said she saw no women in Epstein’s home other than Lesley Groff, one of Epstein’s associates.
Plaskett’s campaign received more than $30,000 from Epstein and people linked to him, such as Darren Indyke, a lawyer for one of his Virgin Island-based businesses, and Groff.
Epstein pushed associates to donate to Plaskett, writing to one that “we would have a friend in Stacey” if she were elected, according to an email obtained by JPMorgan Chase. Plaskett’s deposition was taken as part of a civil case against the bank.
Plaskett in 2019 vowed to donate an amount equal to that which she received to Virgin Islands organizations supporting women and children.
“My litmus test for accepting campaign contributions has been based on whether the donor’s money was made legally or by ill-gotten means and that the contributor will not ask of me or my Congressional office for any special favors. All my contributions have passed that test,” she said at the time.
“In this case, however, I am uncomfortable having received money from someone who has been accused of these egregious actions multiple times.”
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