By Zachary Stieber
The Democrat megadonor who funded a lawsuit accusing former President Donald Trump of defamation met with Jeffrey Epstein at the sex offender’s home.
Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, who has donated millions to Democrats over the years, went to Epstein’s notorious island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Hoffman told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which broke the news from records it reviewed, that he was trying to convince Epstein to donate to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he helps advise the MIT Media Lab.
Hoffman was also scheduled to sleep at Epstein’s townhouse in New York City in 2014.
Hoffman, who could not be reached, told The Journal he regrets how he interacted with Epstein after the latter pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution.
“It gnaws at me that, by lending my association, I helped his reputation, and thus delayed justice for his survivors,” Hoffman said. “While I relied on MIT’s endorsement, ultimately, I made the mistake, and I am sorry for my personal misjudgment.”
Former MIT Media Lab head Joi Ito said that Hoffman went to the island at his request “after I confirmed to Reid that Mr. Epstein had been an approved donor target for MIT in accordance with university rules and regulations.”
MIT did not respond to a request for comment. However, it has said it shouldn’t have accepted donations from Epstein and that it donated money to nonprofits helping women who have been sexually abused.
In addition to funding a lawsuit against Trump by magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, Hoffman has backed groups that created election disinformation, including a group that worked to suppress Republican voters.
Epstein was later charged with sex trafficking of minors. Authorities said he “created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit in locations including New York and Palm Beach.”
Multiple women have said they were abused on the island owned by Epstein, who died in 2019 in jail while awaiting trial. Epstein’s estate settled with the U.S. Virgin Islands for more than $105 million in 2022.
The WSJ says it reviewed documents, including Epstein’s schedule, that reveal new connections between Epstein and various notable people, including CIA Director William Burns and former MIT professor Noam Chomsky.
Epstein also met with Larry Summers, a secretary of the treasury under former President George W. Bush and a top economic adviser to former President Barack Obama, and donated to Summers’ wife’s nonprofit, the WSJ reported. A spokesperson for the couple said Summers regrets meeting with Epstein, and his wife regrets accepting the funds.
Epstein donated to top institutions, including Harvard University and MIT, over the years. Following the federal charges announced in 2019, many launched internal investigations, and some took action, like punishing people who were most closely involved with Epstein.
But some people and entities have made false statements about their connections with Epstein, including Edmond de Rothschild Group, which said its CEO, Ariane de Rothschild, never met with Epstein and that the bank never did business with him.
Documents reviewed by the WSJ showed Rothschild met with Epstein more than a dozen times and assisted him with various tasks, and the bank acknowledged its earlier statement was not truthful. A spokesperson for the bank declined to offer further details.