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The Epstein-Barr Virus and Donald J. Trump

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The Epstein-Barr virus, first of all, is the cause of an infectious disease, mononucleosis, which is (interestingly enough in light of what this column is principally about) called the "kissing disease." Its primary symptoms are: fatigue, fever, lack of appetite, rash, sore throat , swollen glands in the neck, and weakness and sore muscles. While in this column we are dealing with a different kind of Epstein-Barr virus, one of the political sort (credit here must go to one of my Twitter mates, JoeInWVa, for identifying it as such [although unfortunately I cannot find the link to that particular cartoon]) some of the symptoms are the same. That is if you broaden the diagnosis to include Sick-of-Trump-and-Barr Syndrome.

Little St James Island: All Jeff's, even the U.S. flag.  How patriotic!  But don't try to go there, unless invited.
Little St James Island: All Jeff's, even the U.S. flag. How patriotic! But don't try to go there, unless invited.
(Image by Navin75)
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But let's look at some of the particularly noticeable socio-political outcomes so far of the Jeff Epstein/Bill Barr virus that has suddenly burst on the scene, not necessarily in order of importance.

· The law firm of Kirkland-Ellis in Chicago is central . It is the world's highest-grossing law firm. It was Bill Barr's firm for a while, although not during the period when it obtained the sweetheart deal for Steve Epstein in Florida. That's why Barr at first recused himself (announcing it to the press) on one day, then quickly un-recused himself the next day (announcing through a DOJ spokesperson). One can just imagine the call from Trump that led to the second event (if that is indeed what happened). This is a clean webmagazine, so I won't conjure up the language Trump likely used. Of course, much more important than Trump's language in that hypothetical call, is why Barr un-recused himself, whether there was such a call or not. Couldn't have anything to do with being the President's lawyer rather than the U.S. Attorney General and what interest Trump might have in limiting the scope of the current case, could it?

· The Epstein deal in Florida, arranged by the current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was illegal. If a plea deal is underway, the prosecutors by law are supposed to inform the complainants. They didn't and didn't respond to repeated "what's going on?" inquiries from some of them. Acosta's excuse was that "the times were different." Pardon me? How many African-Americans went to prison for rape back then, and much further back for the same sort, or even a lesser sort, of evidence? No, it was the person charged who was different.

Alexander Acosta.  Let's just keep things buttoned up.
Alexander Acosta. Let's just keep things buttoned up.
(Image by Gage Skidmore)
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· Bunches of prominent people have been associated with Epstein, including Bill Clinton. Clinton's possible (but only possible) cover is that everywhere he goes he is accompanied by Secret Service agents. But who knows what he did or did not do. Nevertheless, the right-wing media are filled with "whaadabouts" as per usual, as if what Epstein did and what Trump said about him years ago were OK, by that standard. It was Bill O'Reilly who years ago established this format, that, you know, two wrongs make a right, for the Right.

· One fascinating question is what does Epstein have on all of them, including Trump, and how could he use it this time around. (There is that matter of his phone book, [and this, folks, is from a right-wing source], with 14 numbers for Trump as well as numbers for Ivana and Ivanka in it. Who knew that the tech-limited Trump had that many phones. One wonders if any of them were "smart.") As a matter of fact, did he use what he might have on a variety of folk last time around to secure that sweetheart deal in Florida? And then one must ask why Cy Vance Jr., the New York City D.A. who let off Ivanka and Jared (as well as Harvey Weinstein ), applied to have Epstein's sex offender status in New York City down-graded?

· Then there's the matter of Barr's father and The Dalton School in New York City. Back in the 70s when he was the Headmaster there he (Barr's father) hired Epstein as a math/science teacher . Epstein never went to college and while he had a reputation of being a "math genius" he had no education or training in teaching it to teen-agers. Important? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm sure that media folk will be investigating that one further. Suffice it to say that the father was gone from Dalton within a year or so of his hiring of Epstein, who apparently didn't last long there.

Then there's fictional mystery writer James Patterson's book about Epstein, "Filthy Rich," which came out in 2016. According to an interview with him that I saw on Ari Melber's show, "The Beat," earlier in this week, in the book he covered much of the same ground that the Miami Herald Reporter, Julie K. Brown, did which (her work, that is) led indirectly to the current indictment. However, Patterson, VERY well-known as a novelist, got little attention for his work, at the time.

Widely reported were/are the tactics of Epstein's lawyers, harassment, threats of law-suits, being followed, and etc., applied, among others, to Patterson, who is quite open about it. This from one of the nation's top law firms, to which Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz (now a strong Trump supporter), for example, has lent his name for years. Another Kirkland-Ellis notable was Ken Starr, the Clinton special prosecutor.

· Every defendant is entitled to a legal defense. Every law firm is entitled to choose whom it will represent. Kirkland-Ellis chose to defend a serial sex-offender who over the years did little to hide what he was doing. They didn't have to. And then, just suppose a) Epstein were African-American, b) poor. Wouldn't get Kirkland-Ellis. Hmm.

· Epstein's lawyers now would seem to have a very weak case. If they had a strong one, why would they start right off with attempting to apply the existence of the Florida plea deal in asking for a dismissal, when that deal specifically said that it applied only to South Florida, not to any other Federal jurisdiction. Anyway, there are now the photos and who knows what else taken from Epstein's New York City mansion.

· No one knows the source of Epstein's great wealth. Man, can one speculate on that one. How much cover has he gotten from the wealth --- of whom --- he has managed? It's just fascinating that one of his private islands, in the U.S. Virgins (I'll let that one go), pictured above, for years has been called by the locals "pedophile island."

· Who were the facilitators, besides, apparently, the Epstein's apparently well-known adult girl-friend, for a time at least? What charges might they/will they face? And might they then flip? (Oh boy!)

· Then, finally, speaking of flipping, we come to the Trump involvement. While he is attempting hard to distance himself from Epstein, the media are now really digging, e.g.: https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/07/10/trump-hosted-an-exclusive-party-with-jeffrey-epstein-at-his-mar-a-lago-estate-a-new-report-claims-it-was-just-the-2-of-them-and-28-girls/23767340/. With the help of Fox"News", other elements of the Murdoch media empire, The National Enquirer, the vast Right-wing blogosphere, and etc., Trump has survived so many scandals that one is tempted to say, "oh yeah, he'll 'always attack, never defend (learned from Joe McCarthy's lawyer Roy Cohn)' his way through it again." But still, why is Trump so nervous about this case that he had one-half of the virus un-recuse himself?

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
 
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