When sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein asked his madam and accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell to put a bounty on information that would discredit one of his most prominent accusers, he also brought up rumors involving two high-profile figures — Bill Clinton, a former president, and Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist.
In a 2015 email from Epstein to Maxwell, the now-deceased child trafficker offered a reward for information that would disprove an apparent rumor that Hawking engaged in illicit conduct on his private island and that Clinton had eaten dinner there.
“[Y]ou can issue a reward to any of [Virginia’s] friends, [acquaintances], [family] that come forward and help prove her allegations are false,” Epstein wrote in a typo-filled missive Jan. 12, 2015. “[T]he strongest is the [C]linton dinner, and the new version in the [V]irgin [I]slands that [Stephen] [H]awking [participated] in an underage orgy.”
Photos show the scientist and author did visit Epstein’s island in 2006 during a conference involving some of the world’s leading physicists.
The conference took place on St. Thomas, a larger land mass in the U.S. Virgin Islands to the northwest of Epstein’s Little St. James, which critics and many locals refer to as “pedophile island.”
During the conference, Epstein hosted Hawking and other researchers for a barbecue on Little St. James. Photos also show Hawking taken for a boat tour and even a submarine dive.
A 2006 article in the St. Thomas Source, a U.S. Virgin Islands newspaper, reported the conference included three Nobel Prize winners and that Epstein had been “the driving force” behind setting it up.
“There is no agenda except fun and physics, and that’s fun with a capital ‘F,'” Epstein told the paper.
The researchers met to discuss the question, “What is gravity?”
Months after the conference, Epstein was arrested for child sex crimes for which he received a controversially lenient plea deal in 2008.
Hawking, who had a debilitating illness known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), died in 2018. He spent most of his adult life with the disease, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which paralyzed him but did not hinder his research and writing.
Hawking, whose books included the bestselling “A Brief History of Time,” once joked that the biggest mystery he still hadn’t cracked was simple.
“Women,” he told New Scientist Magazine in 2012. “They are a complete mystery.”
Epstein’s newly revealed email did not contain any evidence that Hawking had actually participated in any wrongdoing. Epstein was known to socialize with the rich, the famous and the powerful, as well as elite academics and celebrities.
Hawking, who was British, received the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2009. He was also an early critic of artificial intelligence, warning more than a decade ago that such technology could mean the “end of the human race.”
The email was first revealed Wednesday as a federal court in New York unsealed a trove of Epstein-related files in a lawsuit alleged victim Virginia Giuffre brought against Maxwell in 2015.
Epstein had relationships with numerous influential figures, from politicians to Hollywood stars, leading academics and a number of billionaires.
Epstein had ties to many famous figures in politics, entertainment and academia, including Britain’s Prince Andrew, who is named dozens of times in the documents and who settled his own lawsuit with Giuffre in 2022 without admitting wrongdoing.
Both Epstein and Maxwell were convicted in separate sex-trafficking cases.
Epstein died in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on more serious federal charges. A lengthy FBI report described his death as a suicide but accused the Bureau of Prisons of negligence and misconduct for creating an environment that allowed him to die before “his numerous victims, many of whom were underage girls” a chance to seek justice.