Epstein, who killed himself in prison earlier this year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, was accused of molesting hundreds of young girls in 2006. Most of the charges were dropped in a plea deal that saw Epstein plead guilty to two counts of soliciting prostitution from a minor. He had to register as a sex offender.
After the conviction and short prison sentence, Epstein and Gates got to know each other over the course of a number of meetings, reported the New York Times.
Gates visited Epstein’s Manhattan mansion at least three times and employees of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also spent time there.
“His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me,” Gates wrote of Epstein to colleagues in 2011 after the pair’s first meeting.
That was in reference “only to the unique décor of the Epstein residence—and Epstein’s habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates,” a spokeswoman told the paper. “It was in no way meant to convey a sense of interest or approval.”
At Gates’s and Epstein’s first meeting, according to the New York Times, Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin and her 15-year-old daughter were present. The meeting went for several hours and afterward, Gates emailed people telling them about it.
“A very attractive Swedish woman and her daughter dropped by and I ended up staying there quite late,” he wrote in some of the messages.
One photograph taken later in 2011 shows Epstein, Gates, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and a senior JPMorgan executive, James Staley, at Epstein’s house.
Gates in August denied having a relationship with Epstein despite flight records showing the philanthropist flew with Epstein. The logs showed that Gates flew with Epstein from Teterboro Airport to Palm Beach, Florida, on March 1, 2013.
The next month, Gates said: “I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him. I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that.”
“There were people around him who were saying, hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people,” Gates said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
“Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men. I was never at any parties or anything like that. He never donated any money to anything that I know about.”
He was not asked any other questions about Epstein, according to the transcribed questions and answers, such as which “rich people” he was referring to.
Despite his penchant for spending time with young girls, Epstein spent time with people high up in scientific, technological, political, media, and business circles, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulus, and former President Bill Clinton.