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Friday, July 12, 2019

Pinker-Epstein connections

Jeffrey Epstein, Lawrence Krauss, Steven Pinker
From Buzzfeed News

After Jeffrey Epstein was indicted for sex crimes in 2006, his Harvard lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, called on the expertise of one of his Harvard colleagues, famous linguist Steven Pinker. 
An obscure document from Epstein’s legal defense shows that Pinker weighed in on the precise meaning of a federal law about using the internet to entice minors into prostitution or other illegal sex acts.

Pinker told BuzzFeed News that when he offered his opinion to Dershowitz, he was unaware of the details of the client or the case. He now regrets his involvement, he said.
“Though I did this as a favor to a friend and colleague, and not as either a paid expert witness or as a part of a defense team, knowing what I know now I do regret writing the letter,” Pinker said by email.

Epstein, who had donated millions of dollars to Harvard, seemed to relish his connections to the university. He once served on Harvard’s Mind, Brain, and Behavior Advisory Committee, and press releases issued by his charitable foundation billed him as a “Harvard philanthropist” and a “Harvard investor.”

New York Magazine

 One of Epstein’s foundations reportedly made a $250,000 donation to Arizona State University professor Lawrence Krauss’s Origins Project after its founding in 2010. Krauss and Epstein’s relationship goes back to at least 2002, when he flew with Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker on Epstein’s private jet. In 2014, Krauss and Pinker were pictured having dinner with Epstein. In 2011, Krauss, who recently retired from ASU after allegations of sexual misconduct, defended their relationship: “I don’t feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it.”