Jeffrey Epstein secretly funnelled $270,000 on behalf of far-left political activist Noam Chomsky and paid $150,000 to Leon Botstein, according to a new report.
Chomsky and Botstein met the child sex trafficker multiple times after he was a registered sex offender. Chomsky admitted to reporters that they met occasionally to discuss political and academic topics. Botstein, the longtime leader of Bard College in New York, admitted he met with Epstein in an attempt to raise funds for the school.
Wsj.com reports: They were among the many academics, politicians and businesspeople who met with Epstein in the years after he pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution. He was charged in 2019 with sex trafficking and died in jail while awaiting trial later that year.
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In response to questions from the Journal, Botstein said he received checks from an account linked to Epstein in 2016 totaling about $150,000. Botstein said he donated the sum to Bard that year as part of a more than $1 million donation. A spokesman for Bard College confirmed that the school received the donation from Botstein.
Botstein said Epstein designated him as a consultant of an entity and made the payments as if they were fees for consulting work, but he said he didn’t do any consulting work for Epstein. A spokesman for Botstein said the funds were compensation for serving a one-year term on an advisory board for Gratitude America. Epstein created the foundation in 2012 and used the charity to steer funds to various causes, the Journal has reported.
“I have no idea why he concocted this scheme,” Botstein said. “He didn’t want to write a check to Bard. He took pity on me, and he said, ‘I’m gonna give you money and you do whatever you want with it.’”
In a previous interview with the Journal, Botstein said Epstein gave the school $75,000 in unsolicited donations in 2011 and that he met with Epstein more than a dozen times but had been unsuccessful in raising more funds.
He later said he didn’t remember the 2016 payments until asked by the Journal since they didn’t appear as donations from Epstein in the school records.
“The important thing to recognize is that I did not personally benefit,” he said. “Each fiscal year I give more in philanthropic gifts to Bard and the [American Symphony Orchestra] than anything that has come my way—conducting fees, writing fees, consultancies, speaking etc.—in order to protect myself and the college of the suspicion that I am enriching myself by exploiting my position.”
In response to questions from the Journal, Chomsky confirmed that he received a March 2018 transfer of roughly $270,000 from an Epstein-linked account. He said it was “restricted to rearrangement of my own funds, and did not involve one penny from Epstein.”
Chomsky explained that he asked Epstein for help with a “technical matter” that he said involved the disbursement of common funds related to his first marriage.
“My late wife died 15 years ago after a long illness. We paid no attention to financial issues,” he said in an email that cc’d his current wife. “We asked Epstein for advice. The simplest way seemed to be to transfer funds from one account in my name to another, by way of his office.”
Chomsky said he didn’t hire Epstein. “It was a simple, quick, transfer of funds,” he said.
When initially asked about his relationship with Epstein, Chomsky had told the Journal, “First response is that it is none of your business. Or anyone’s. Second is that I knew him and we met occasionally.”