The U.S. Senate Finance Committee, part of the legislative branch of the U.S. government, is investigating why Wall Street billionaire Leon Black gave sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein $158 million. But the Senate has made no mention of investigating the more than $100 million in unexplained money and property that former retailing magnate and billionaire Leslie Wexner gave to Epstein.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, part of the executive branch of the U.S. government, denied our Freedom of Information Act request for documents relating to Leslie Wexner’s relationship with Epstein. The Department of Justice, also part of the executive branch, has failed to bring any charges against Wexner.
The federal courts in the Southern District of New York, part of the judicial branch of government, have locked up tight for years incriminating witness testimony involving Leslie Wexner.
Earlier this week, one of those highly incriminating court documents was unsealed and released by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, following years of a legal fight by the Miami Herald newspaper to unlock the documents from the grasp of judicial darkness.
The document was a deposition given by Virginia Giuffre, whom Epstein had turned into his sex slave when she was underage. In a BBC interview in 2022, Giuffre said she was “passed around like a platter of fruit” for sex with Epstein’s powerful friends. Prince Andrew was one of Epstein’s powerful friends and settled a lawsuit by Giuffre last year for a reported $12 million.
The deposition of Giuffre was taken on January 16, 2016 as part of discovery in a Florida state court case where lawyers Brad Edwards and Paul Cassell sued attorney Alan Dershowitz for defamation. Dershowitz had claimed that the lawyers had filed a lawsuit containing falsehoods about him. The case was settled between the parties less than four months after it was filed with terms undisclosed. The Giuffre deposition document then made its way into Giuffre’s defamation claim against Epstein’s procurer of young girls, Ghislaine Maxwell, in the federal court in Manhattan. It was unsealed there on Tuesday.
In the newly unsealed deposition, the following separate exchanges occur between the attorney for Dershowitz and Giuffre:
Q. Was Les Wexner one of the powerful business executives that you were trafficked to? A. Yes.
Q. How many times did you have sex with Les Wexner? A. Multiple. Q. What’s the approximate range of number, more than three? A. More than three. Q. More than five? A. Possibly. Q. More than ten? A. No.
Q. Did Mr. Wexner ask you to wear any particular clothing during your sexual trafficking? [Back and forth comments between lawyers.] A. Yes, I wore lingerie for him. Q. At his request? A. It wasn’t his request, it was Ghislaine [Maxwell] who set it up for me. [Maxwell is serving a 20-year prison sentence after being convicted by a jury on federal sex trafficking charges related to Epstein’s victims.]
Q. How many times did you and Les Wexner and Sarah Kellen have sex together? A. Once that I can remember. Q. Where were you? A. New Mexico. Q. Are there other witnesses? A. Number 48 [name redacted in document] I can’t pronounce her last name. Q. [Name redacted in document] A. [Redacted in document] yes. Q. Anyone else? A. Number 50, [name redacted in document].
Later in the deposition, the following separate exchanges occur:
Q. Did you name Les Wexner to the FBI? A. Yes.
Q. And you said I think he has relevant information, but I don’t think he’ll tell you the truth. Do you see that? A. Yes. Q. Why did you think he wouldn’t tell the truth? A. Because he did things that were wrong. Q. What do you mean by that? A. He participated in sex with minors. Q. Did you tell Rebecca [Giuffre’s friend] that Les Wexner had participated in sex with minors? A. Yes, I did.
Let’s pause here for a moment. Giuffre has listed three witnesses to her alleged sexual event(s) with Wexner. She reported his name to the FBI. Perjuring oneself in testimony to the FBI is not something that young women tend to do. And there is a further mountain of evidence that raises alarm bells about Wexner.
Wexner is a billionaire and former longtime Chairman and CEO of The Limited (a/k/a L Brands) retailing chain which, at various times, included Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, Lane Bryant, Bath & Body Works and others. L Brands was a publicly traded company which had to comply with SEC requirements.
According to the SEC, form 8K must be filed with the SEC by a publicly-traded company to announce major events that shareholders should know about. Companies, typically, have just four days to make the 8K filing after becoming aware of the event.
In 2019, the Board of Directors of L Brands hired the law firm, Davis Polk & Wardwell, to investigate the ties between Epstein and Wexner after their close relationship became public following Epstein’s arrest on federal sex trafficking charges. Wexner’s wife had been a lawyer at Davis Polk prior to her marriage to Wexner and the law firm was the longstanding outside counsel to the company. After a shareholder sued the company over Davis Polk not having adequate impartiality in the matter, L Brands hired a second law firm, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, to conduct a second investigation.
We could find no public release of the findings of either the Davis Polk or Wachtell report, nor could we find an 8K filing by L Brands with the SEC disclosing those findings.
What followed the Davis Polk and Wachtell investigations suggest that there were damaging findings. Wexner announced in 2020 that he would be stepping down as Chairman and CEO of L Brands. In 2021, both Wexner and his wife, Abigail, announced they would not seek reelection to the Board of L Brands. In August of 2021, L Brands ceased to exist with the spinoff of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works as separate companies.
On August 7 of last year we filed a FOIA with the SEC seeking to learn if L Brands had ever filed the Davis Polk or Wachtell internal investigative reports with the SEC – which would mean that the publicly-traded company requested and received confidential treatment of those reports by the SEC since they are not in the SEC’s public database.
On August 23, we received a letter via email from the SEC advising that nothing would be forthcoming to us in the way of documents under our FOIA request. The SEC based its refusal to provide even a shred of a document on the following:
“We can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any records responsive to your request. Even to acknowledge the existence of such records could interfere with the personal privacy protections provided by FOIA Exemptions…Under Exemption 6 the release of this type of information would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy….”
The public should read that statement as this: billionaires will be protected even when there is more than a decade of credible evidence of a sex trafficking ring operating with impunity within the United States.
The Limited (a/k/a L Brands) was a publicly traded company during a period in which one of its corporate jets, a Boeing 727, was transferred to Epstein’s ownership. Shareholders have a legal right to know how that came to pass. Wexner’s upper East Side mansion in Manhattan also ended up being owned by Epstein, for still unexplained reasons.
Epstein functioned as a financial advisor to Wexner and held a broad power of attorney for Wexner’s financial interests from approximately 1986 to at least 2008. Epstein’s Boeing 727, which was referred to as the “Lolita Express,” and his mansion in Manhattan (both originally tied to Wexner) were used to facilitate sexual assaults on underage girls, according to multiple victims. Prosecutors found a safe full of photos of naked girls, hundreds of which appeared to be underage, when the Manhattan mansion was raided by the FBI in 2019.
Epstein also came into possession of a luxury home on the Wexner estate in New Albany, Ohio. Another woman, Maria Farmer, has alleged she was sexually assaulted in that home in 1996 by Epstein and Maxwell and initially prevented from leaving by Wexner’s security team. Farmer was able to leave the property after calling her father, who showed up at the gate and demanded her release.
According to court filings, Epstein also posed for years as a recruiter for Victoria’s Secret models, telling models that he could get them work at the company. Multiple women have said that when they showed up for the modeling interview with Epstein, he sexually assaulted them.
In addition to having an inordinate amount of power over Wexner’s finances connected to his retailing empire and his charities, Epstein also became a business partner of Leslie Wexner in Wexner’s multi-million-dollar residential/business development project known as the New Albany Company in New Albany, Ohio.
There is other circumstantial evidence that suggests Wexner had more than a casual interest in young naked women’s bodies. His art collection that he put up as collateral for bank loans included a focus on women’s bodies, including a frontal nude. Below is a screen shot of the photo that appeared atop the Board of Directors’ website page at L Brands on July 26, 2019. Notice how young the two girls on the right appear to be.
Another company that was part of Wexner’s retailing empire at one time was called Limited Too. It marketed apparel to girls between the ages of 7 and 14. The company no longer exists, but we checked its apparel offerings at the Internet Archives’ Wayback Machine and found sexualized underwear for children. We also found a survey of young girl customers that inquired if they were good at giving “massages.” (See screen shot below.) Epstein, who had multiple ties to this store chain, was indicted in 2019 on federal sex trafficking charges, including luring underage girls to his home for “massages,” which quickly became sexual assaults. (Epstein died in a Manhattan jail in 2019 while awaiting trial, taking a lot of dark secrets about his accomplices with him. His death was ruled a suicide by the New York City Medical Examiner.)
Wexner’s name appears on numerous buildings at Ohio State University where he has been a major donor, including its Medical Center and Wexner Center for the Arts. On July 23, 2023 Wall Street On Parade filed a request under the Ohio Public Records Act seeking copies of any investigative reports the taxpayer-supported institution of higher education had conducted on Wexner’s relationship with Epstein. After a long period of stalling, no meaningful documents were received by us.
It’s long past the time for the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Senate, the SEC, and the investigative teams at America’s major newspapers to do their job and provide the American people with an uncensored report on the granular details between Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring and Leslie Wexner.