Media Outlets Bury Revelation That Epstein Accuser Retracted Trump Allegations

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Media outlets buried the revelation that an accuser of the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein had retracted former President Donald Trump from her allegations.

On Monday, multiple media outlets ran reports of Trump having been named in the latest Epstein documents, but failed to note in the lede of their articles that the accuser had actually retracted those allegations in 2019.

Court documents made available on Monday included Epstein victim Sarah Ransome’s 2016 emails to the New York Post suggesting that she had Epstein-related sex tapes involving half a dozen prominent people, including Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, and Sir Richard Branson.

Ransome, however, could not provide the tapes when asked, and no such footage has ever been uncovered.

Then in 2019, Ransome retracted her claims, according to the New Yorker, which reported that Ransome admitted to having “invented the tapes to draw attention to Epstein’s behavior, and to make him believe that she had ‘evidence that would come out if he harmed me.'”

Sarah Ransome, who has accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse, walks out of Manhattan Federal Court after the sentencing of former socialite Ghislaine Maxwell on June 28, 2022, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Multiple media outlets nonetheless ran with the old — and retracted — news on Monday, burying the lede in their stories, which was that Ransome’s claims had already been retracted years ago.

“These baseless accusations have been fully retracted because they are simply false and have no merit,” Steven Cheung, Trump spokesperson, said in a Monday statement.

A headline by Daily Mail read, “Donald Trump named in latest Epstein documents: Sarah Ransome said he had sex with ‘many girls’ in email where she also claimed pedophile had tapes of the ex-president, Richard Branson, Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton.”

“She retracted all her claims, telling Callahan she wanted to ‘walk away from this’, citing fears for her family,” Daily Mail eventually acknowledges in its article — four paragraphs down from the headline.

Another headline by the New York Post read, “Epstein accuser claims pedophile had sex tapes of Trump, Clinton, Prince Andrew and Richard Branson: new docs.”

“Ransome walked back the salacious allegations in an Oct. 23, 2016 email with a Post columnist, writing, ‘I would like to retract everything I have said to you and walk away from this,’ according to the filing,” the New York Post eventually admits in its article — also four paragraphs down from the headline.

Essentially, new salacious headlines were published by media outlets on Monday using old and retracted news from four years ago. That is the assessment of author and investigative reporter Vicky Ward, who first reported on Epstein in a profile piece for Vanity Fair in 2003.

“Very importantly, Sarah Ransome has since said that isn’t true — that she invented the sex tapes because she was so terrified of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the time,” Ward explained in a Monday video on her Substack titled, “Ignore The Salacious Headlines About Clinton, Trump.”

“This is why covering this story is so complicated. Witnesses, victims are afraid. People have imperfect memories and sometimes complex motives,” Ward added.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and X/Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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