Santa Fe, N.M.
Jeffrey Epstein, the indicted financier accused of sexually trafficking girls as young as 14, fantasized about spreading his DNA by impregnating dozens of women, The New York Times reported last week. He spoke of inseminating 20 women at a time, friends recall, and having them live at his 33,000-square-foot ranch outside Santa Fe. One former confidant thinks Epstein used his extravagant dinner parties to screen accomplished women who might bear his children. Epstein’s multimillions endeared him to some of the world’s top scientists, with whom he shared fringe theories about improving humanity and extending life spans; Epstein reportedly wanted his head and penis to be cryogenically frozen upon his death. His July indictment reignited fury over his lenient prosecution in 2008 after being accused of molesting dozens of girls. Goaded by the flood of revelations, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week ordered a probe into Palm Beach’s handling of the case.
Echoes of Jim Crow
Galveston’s police chief apologized this week after a photo emerged of two white officers on horseback leading a black suspect in handcuffs down the street with a rope tied to him. The image went viral on social media, with many saying it evoked images of slavery. Donald Neely, 43, had been arrested for criminal trespass in a commercial district and was escorted about four blocks with what police insisted was a “line,” not a rope, clipped to his handcuffs. Neely has lived on the streets for about seven years, his family said, his condition made worse since he stopped taking medication for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Police knew all this, they maintained. “He was treated like an animal paraded through the streets,” sister-in-law Christin Neely said.
Chicago suffered its most violent weekend of 2019, with seven people dead and 52 injured in 32 separate shootings last week. After 17 people were shot in a two-hour stretch, a hospital stopped accepting patients because it was filled to capacity. Most of the violence stemmed from gang- and drug-related disputes, police said, causing a gun battle at a park and a flurry of drive-by shootings. While shootings have fallen since 2018, at least 1,600 Chicagoans have been shot this year. On Twitter, Ivanka Trump said Chicago’s weekend spike caused “little national outrage or media coverage,” adding, “we mustn’t become numb to the violence faced by inner city communities every day.” Critics said Trump was exploiting the violence to muddy the gun debate. “I’m not going to be distracted by nonsense tweets from people who don’t know what they’re talking about,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
New York City
Cesar Sayoc, a Florida man who mailed pipe bombs to the president’s rivals last fall, was sentenced to 20 years in prison this week. Prosecutors sought a life sentence for Sayoc, 57, whose 16 targets included President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and CNN’s New York offices, and Sayoc looked up at the courtroom ceiling, sobbed, and mouthed “thank you” upon hearing the sentence. The former pizza delivery man, described as a “Trump superfan” by his lawyers, was “fully capable” of building functional bombs, Judge Jed Rakoff said, but appeared to decide not to. Still, he filled padded envelopes with pipes packed with firework powder, fertilizer, a pool chemical, and glass fragments. Each package included a photograph of the intended victim crossed out with a red “X.” Sayoc “hated his victims,” the judge said. “But he was not so lost as to wish them dead, at least not by his own hand.”
Hyannis Port, Mass.
Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the 22-year-old granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, died last week at her family’s New England compound. She was found in cardiac arrest, reportedly from a drug overdose. The daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill, the fifth of Robert and Ethel’s 11 children, Saoirse was a rising senior at Boston College who was active in Democratic politics and volunteer work. She also spoke openly of her struggles with depression. The night before her death, Kennedy Hill ate dinner with her grandmother and then went out, returning before dawn to swim in the Atlantic Ocean as the sun rose. Her death follows a history of family tragedies, from John and Robert Kennedy’s assassinations to the plane crashes that killed John F. Kennedy Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy. After Kennedy Hill’s death, Ethel, 91, said, “The world is a little less beautiful today.”
Fighting the FBI
Former Russia probe investigator Peter Strzok sued the FBI this week, claiming “unrelenting pressure from President Trump” led to his firing last August. The 22-year FBI veteran says his constitutional rights were violated in late 2017, when the bureau released nearly 400 of his text messages with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, in which Strzok called Trump an “idiot” and referred to the Russia probe as an “insurance policy” should Trump be elected. The incendiary texts fueled the claim that the “Deep State” had a strong anti-Trump bias, yet he insists his views didn’t affect his work, adding that the FBI initially decided against firing Strzok. His lawsuit contends that his texts were private and thus protected by the First Amendment. In contrast, he cites Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior aide who has repeatedly violated restrictions on partisan advocacy from federal employees. Trump has ignored several recommendations to discipline her. ■