New Jersey's Teterboro Airport was travel hub of Jeffrey Epstein's sex traffic ring

WOODLAND PARK, N.J. – Jeffrey Epstein’s globe-trotting life of luxury and alleged sex trafficking traveled through an unlikely hub: Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. From his mansion in Manhattan to his ranch in New Mexico and his island in the Caribbean, Epstein allegedly used his fleet of private jets to deliver dozens of sex slaves – some as young as 14 – to celebrities, royals and famous politicians, according to statements made in criminal and civil court filings since 2008, some of which were first released to the public last week.

The heart of Epstein’s global transportation network was a corporate airport carved from a New Jersey swamp. His planes, which ranged from a Cessna to a Gulf Stream jet to a Boeing 727, recorded at least 730 flights to and from Teterboro between 1995 and 2013, according to flight logs contained in documents unsealed last week by a federal court in a lawsuit brought by one of Epstein's alleged victims against one of his close associates.

This represents roughly a third of all of Epstein's flights, more than any other airport recorded in the logs.

Epstein was arrested July 6 at Teterboro Airport after flying from Paris. He was charged with two counts of sex trafficking. In the indictment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, said Epstein and his employees operated a sex trafficking network that transported dozens of girls between his homes in Palm Beach, Florida, and Manhattan.

Epstein will never see trial.

He was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City on Aug. 11. Two days later, U.S. Attorney General William Barr pledged to continue the investigation into Epstein’s trafficking network and possible co-conspirators.

“Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein,” Barr said at a news conference.

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If that investigation moves forward, flight logs from Epstein’s planes may prove to be an essential piece of evidence. The logs are voluminous, spanning thousands of flights between 1995 and 2013.

The logs were kept by David Rodgers, just one of at least six pilots employed by Epstein at various times, court documents show.

The other pilots included Lawrence Visoski, Bill Hammond, Pete Rathgeb, Gary Roxburgh and Bill Murphy, according to a statement of facts filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre in her 2015 lawsuit against Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell. In that suit, Giuffre alleges Epstein lent her out as a minor for sex with his friends.

Logs from the other pilots have not surfaced in court records. Rodgers and Visoski were subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan shortly after Epstein's arrest in July, The New York Times reported, and both pilots have cooperated with the investigation.

Attempts to reach Rodgers for comment were unsuccessful.

Epstein and his associates also allegedly booked some of his sex trafficking victims on commercial flights, according to statements in court documents.

The logs, all 106 pages of which are written in Rodgers’ blocky handwriting, mirror the ups and downs of Epstein’s professional and personal life. According to statements made in state and federal court documents, they also show the names and initials of Epstein’s victims, and of the people he allegedly employed to help operate his sex trafficking network.

The logs record 322 flights between Teterboro and Palm Beach, the site of Epstein’s waterfront mansion. This is where Epstein recruited dozens of girls to provide him and his associates with massages and sex, according to claims made in documents from a local police investigation that were recently unsealed in federal court.

Rodgers flew Epstein’s planes an additional 112 times between Teterboro and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned a 78-acre island with a mansion and two swimming pools, the flight logs show. It was there on a beach in 2001 that Johanna Sjoberg and Virginia Roberts performed massages and sex with Epstein, according to a court deposition by Sjoberg, who was 21 at the time.

Roberts was 17. She flew to and from Teterboro on Epstein’s jet eight times starting when she was 16, according to the logs. In the Caribbean, workers at the airport in St. Thomas were disgusted to see Epstein, by then a man in his late 40s, flying with so many underage girls, according to interviews published by Vanity Fair magazine.

Teterboro Airport

Teterboro Airport sits in the floodplain of the Hackensack River, 12 miles west of Manhattan. It is a popular destination for corporate jets, which often ferry wealthy business executives and celebrities to and from New York City.

It operates as a reliever airport, removing smaller and slower aircraft from the congested flight paths of the region's three large commercial airports – LaGuardia, JFK and Newark Liberty. Most flights at Teterboro are coordinated by five fixed-base operators, private companies that operate as one-stop shops for wealthy plane owners. These operators handle everything from aircraft maintenance and fueling to baggage handling and hotel reservations for passengers.

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All workers at Teterboro Airport receive training to report suspicious activity to law enforcement, said Cheryl Ann Albiez, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the airport. Members of the Port Authority Police Department patrol the airport, Albiez said, and are instructed to report matters, including sex trafficking, to the FBI.

“Teterboro is really an airport for the rich and famous,” said Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of the New York-based Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. “The customers there are very privileged, and can pull strings that can lead to confidentiality.”

The flight logs unsealed by a federal court judge Aug. 9 list 82 trips to and from Teterboro by Sarah Kellen and 48 trips by Nadia Marcinkova. According to a 2008 plea agreement in an earlier sex trafficking case in Florida – which reduced Epstein’s punishment from a potential life sentence to 13 months in jail – Kellen and Marcinkova were identified as “potential co-conspirators.”

Epstein's planes ferried underage girls from Teterboro to his various homes, according to allegations in court documents. Epstein’s planes also flew direct from Teterboro to Paris, London, Ireland and Aspen, according to the flight logs. Prominent people listed in the logs as flying through Teterboro on Epstein’s planes included Bill Gates and Alberto Pinto, a famous interior designer.

Another person who appears in the logs is Alan Dershowitz, a famous lawyer who helped lead Epstein’s legal defense team against sex trafficking charges in 2007. Dershowitz was listed as flying through Teterboro on Epstein’s planes seven times, according to the logs. The trips included one flight on Feb. 5, 2004, in which the logs indicate Dershowitz flew from Teterboro to Palm Beach accompanied by Epstein and Kellen.

Virginia Giuffre has claimed in various legal actions, including one as recent as April 2019, that Epstein forced her to have underage sex with several of his associates, including Dershowitz.

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Rodgers' flight logs do not indicate that Dershowitz and Giuffre were ever on the same flight.

Dershowitz has aggressively denied Giuffre's allegations, calling her a liar. Giuffre responded by suing Dershowitz for defamation.

In that complaint, Giuffre claims she was "regularly abused by Epstein and was lent out by Epstein to others for sexual purposes."

"Dershowitz was also a participant in sex trafficking, including as one of the men to whom Epstein lent out Plaintiff for sex,” according to the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.

Oral arguments in the defamation case are scheduled for next month. Dershowitz has filed a motion to dismiss.

Lolita Express

Another person who appears hundreds of times in the flight logs is Ghislaine Maxwell, a close friend of Epstein.

In depositions related to Giuffre’s civil lawsuit against Maxwell, which were recently unsealed by a federal court judge in Manhattan, several women alleged that Maxwell served as a recruiter and manager of Epstein’s network of underage girls. Maxwell has vigorously denied the allegations, and she has never been charged with a crime.

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Giuffre's case against Maxwell settled in 2017.

According to the flight logs, Maxwell flew hundreds of times on Epstein’s Boeing 727, a former commercial airliner coined the Lolita Express by news tabloids, a nickname based on Vladimir Nobokov’s novel about a middle-aged professor who repeatedly rapes a 12-year-old girl.

The plane is registered with the FAA using a tail number that ends in Epstein’s initials, JE. Other planes that appear in Rodgers’ logs include a twin-engine Cessna with a tail number ending in Maxwell’s initials, GM. Both planes spent days on the tarmac at Teterboro when not in flight, according to the logs.

The logs also appear to document changes in Epstein’s business and social standing.

Beginning in 1995 and continuing for several years, Epstein flew regularly to Columbus, Ohio, home to billionaire executive Leslie Wexner. Wexner founded L Brands, a company that owns retail chains including Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.

Over time the two men grew so close that Wexner gave Epstein power of attorney over his personal finances, with broad authority to invest and borrow money on Wexner’s behalf. Those details were included in an Aug. 8 letter from Wexner to members of the Wexner Foundation, a charity he controls. The letter, which attempts to explain Wexner's relationship with Epstein, was also sent to news organizations.

According to the letter, Wexner cut ties with Epstein in 2007, as Epstein prepared to defend himself against charges of trafficking young girls in Florida.

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Around that time, Epstein’s flights to Columbus ceased, according to the flight logs.

How the logs were being recorded also changed.

For years, Rodgers filled his logs with the names and initials of people boarding Epstein’s planes. When he didn’t know his passengers’ names, Rodgers accounted for them by writing notations such as “3 females” or “2 nannies,” according to an interview with Rodgers by Palm Beach police contained in recently unsealed court documents.

But in February 2007, as state and federal investigators ramped up their investigations into Epstein’s alleged trafficking ring, the names and initials of many of the passengers were no longer recorded in the logs.

Contributing: Abbott Koloff, Jean Rimbach, Alexis Shanes and James M. O'Neill, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record. Follow Christopher Maag on Twitter: @Chris_Maag

This article originally appeared on North Jersey Record: Jeffrey Epstein: Teterboro Airport was travel hub of sex traffic ring