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Ehud Barak, Woody Allen, Noam Chomsky appeared on Jeffrey Epstein’s meetings calendar

The revelations were part of a trove of documents uncovered by The Wall Street Journal

Noam Chomsky, Woody Allen and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak were among dozens of prominent individuals who had meetings scheduled with Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire sex offender who was found dead in his jail cell in 2019, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal cited thousands of pages of previously unreported documents that include Epstein’s schedules from 2013 to 2017. The documents list “multiple meetings” with Chomsky, Barak and others after Epstein was convicted of a sex crime involving a teenage girl. The Journal said the documents don’t reveal the purpose of the meetings, and that it couldn’t verify that all of the scheduled meetings took place. 

The Journal reported that Woody Allen attended “dozens of dinners with his wife, Soon-Yi Previn, at Epstein’s mansion and invited Epstein to film screenings.” Among Epstein’s planned events was a 2014 screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho where Allen was to have given the guests lessons in film editing, the Journal said.  A spokeswoman for the film director told the Journal that Allen never spent time with Epstein without his wife being present.

The Journal reported that Barak was a “regular guest” at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse,  that he accepted two flights on Epstein’s private jets, and that Barak had been introduced to Epstein by the late Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

In 2015, Epstein arranged a meeting between Chomsky and Barak to discuss Israeli policies. That generated lots of chatter on Twitter.

Chomsky is the most important modern theorist in linguistics and a longtime political activist. He opposed the Vietnam War, is a vocal critic of Israel and has equivocated on assigning blame in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which he sees as a proxy war for U.S.-Russia tensions.

In an email to the Journal responding to a request for comment about his relationship with Epstein, Chomsky said: “First response is that it is none of your business. Or anyone’s. Second is that I knew him and we met occasionally.”

Epstein described himself as a “science philanthropist” and often met with academics to offer funding for labs, research and projects. He donated at least $850,000 to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 2002 and 2017, and more than $9.1 million to Harvard from 1998 to 2008. MIT later donated the money to charity. 

Chomsky was a professor at MIT; he retired in 2002 but continued to do research as a professor emeritus. MIT said lawyers investigating its ties to Epstein found Chomsky had not met with Epstein on campus and had not received funding from him. 

Chomsky told the Journal that at the time of his meetings, Epstein had “been convicted of a crime and had served his sentence. According to U.S. laws and norms, that yields a clean slate.” 

The paper quoted Barak as saying that Epstein “often brought other interesting persons, from art or culture, law or science, finance, diplomacy or philanthropy,” but that in retrospect, Epstein “seems to be a terrible version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Barak also told the Journal that he “never participated in any party or any other improper event around [Epstein], and never met him with girls or minors, or even adult women in improper context or behavior.”

Harvard sanctioned one of its professors, Martin Nowak, who had taken funding from Epstein. Among the meetings the Journal mentioned was a 2015 gathering of academics arranged by Epstein that included Nowak and Chomsky, which Chomsky said included a discussion of neuroscience and other topics.

Others whose names appear on the calendars include CIA director William Burns and Bard College President Leon Botstein. Botstein told the Journal he was seeking funding for the school; a spokesperson for the CIA said Epstein was introduced to Burns as an expert who could offer advice on Burns’ transition out of government service and into the private sector.  

Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution in 2008 and served 13 months in a work-release program. In 2015, another woman accused him of trafficking her when she was a teen to Prince Andrew and other men. 

The Journal reported that “despite the negative press,” Epstein continued to meet with people at restaurants, hotels and his townhouse. He was charged in 2019 with sex trafficking and was found dead in his jail cell later that year in what officials said was a suicide. 

The Journal said the documents also list Ariane de Rothschild, described as having “married into the famous banking family” and who now heads a private Swiss bank, as having more than a dozen meetings scheduled with Epstein. After his 2019 arrest, the bank said she never met with him and had no business links with him, but the Journal said the bank now acknowledges that she met with him to discuss financial matters “as part of her normal duties at the bank” prior to 2019, when she was “unaware” of questions about “his personal conduct.” 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information from The Wall Street Journal about Barak’s meetings with Epstein and with Woody Allen’s interactions with Epstein.

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