Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein were chummy until the disgraced movie mogul allegedly berated one of Epstein’s favorite girls for rejecting his advances, according to an upcoming book by attorney Bradley J. Edwards, who has spent 12 years representing Epstein’s victims. In the following excerpt from his new book—Relentless Pursuit, with Brittany Henderson to be published by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster—Edwards tells how model scout and Epstein pal Jean-Luc Brunel first related the falling out between the two wealthy predators.
On May 2, 2016, true to his word, Jean-Luc Brunel showed up to the Boies Schiller Flexner office in New York. He did so on one condition—that I would not be there. He explained before he arrived that he did not like me. He somehow blamed me for the fact that he had skipped out on his original deposition. His reason for disliking me wasn’t very logical, but this was his condition, so I lived with it.
I still believed that Jean-Luc was pretending to cooperate with us while really being there as a Jeffrey Epstein spy and told [lawyer] Stan [Pottinger], who would be meeting with Jean-Luc without me, as much. Jean-Luc was claiming, after all, that he now hated Epstein because his association with Epstein had ruined the reputation of the modeling agency. It was hard for me to imagine a decades-long friendship between the two of them having gone sideways because of the exact conduct that had brought these two men together in the first place. So, what was Jean-Luc’s game? Was this voluntary interview being offered in hopes of getting our help to serve his bogus lawsuit on Jeffrey Epstein, or did he have other motives in mind?
Stan and Jean-Luc talked for hours. Jean-Luc put up a good front. He seemed to have several objectives. One was to convince Stan that he, Jean- Luc, was not the person he was accused of being. He explained how he had known Ghislaine [Maxwell] since the 1980s and how she had introduced him to Jeffrey in the 1990s. He didn’t speak well of Jeffrey or Ghislaine—these were once two of his best friends, but now he was willing to spill the beans on both of them.
Jean-Luc spun a story that even he was a victim of Epstein’s operation. He was vulnerable when he met Jeffrey Epstein, he said, and yes, it was true that Epstein had gotten him back on his feet in the modeling industry and he was indebted to Jeffrey. But it irritated Jean-Luc because he would talk about models and Jeffrey would pretend that he had his own eye for modeling, while really, he was just trying to sleep with them. Epstein would put these girls in his apartments and say they were “models,” but they never modeled. Maxwell basically did whatever Epstein wanted her to do. Brunel talked angrily about how his reputation had been ruined by Epstein, who took the modeling concept and turned it into trash.
Jean-Luc did seem to remember having met [victim] Virginia [Roberts Giuffre]. And, certainly, he knew the names of many of the people whom Epstein lent his girls to for sex. Still, he identified only a few, and when pressed for names, focused only on one—Harvey Weinstein. Remember, this interview was happening in May 2016, more than one year before the world would learn about Harvey’s unwanted sexual advances and attacks on women.
In later discussions, Jean-Luc described one incident in greater detail, which he said culminated in a heated argument between Epstein and Weinstein that terminated their relationship. Weinstein was at Epstein’s apartment in France receiving a massage from one of Epstein’s girls when he attempted to aggressively convert the massage into something sexual. The girl rejected his advances. As the story goes, Harvey then verbally abused her for rejecting him. Little did Harvey know, this was one of Epstein’s favorite girls at the time and Jeffrey viewed the aggressive mistreatment as disrespectful to him. Jeffrey then came into the room, got in Harvey’s face, and kicked him out of his house, delivering the message that he was never to come back.
Following the interview of Jean-Luc, I heard various versions of this story from others, including years later from Epstein himself, who referred to Harvey as a pig. Imagine that.
Even more interesting was Jean-Luc’s knowledge and description of the current state of Epstein’s operation. Epstein’s new chief recruiter was a Russian-born twenty-something-year-old woman named Svetlana. According to Brunel, she was using her connections to import young girls into the United States under the pretense that they were models.
While many media accounts have hinted that a primary purpose of Epstein’s enterprise was to attract young females and lend them out to powerful people in order for him to hold these sexual encounters over their heads as blackmail, that was not really the case. The primary, if not exclusive, purpose of the operation was Epstein’s personal sexual gratification. If some of his friends liked what they saw and wanted to partake, Epstein would share with a select few. For those who participated, it incidentally provided ammunition for Epstein to hold over their heads if he ever wanted to, but despite all the speculation, there has been no recovered evidence that he actually used any of this sexual information against anyone in order to get something out of them. Maybe the knowledge that he could have done that was enough. Maybe it was also enough to influence his pals without his having to threaten them explicitly.
Either way, Jean-Luc verified what we thought was true: Epstein’s so-called jailing in Florida had not changed the essence of who he was, only the way he operated. Jail had had no effect on the number of cult followers. The devotion of his past and current female followers was reminiscent of the Manson family at its peak.
Copyright © 2020 by Bradley Edwards. From the forthcoming book RELENTLESS PURSUIT by Bradley J. Edwards with Brittany Henderson to be published by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.