By Michael Austin  December 3, 2021 at 2:20pm

The extent of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein’s influence was sweeping. This is extremely disturbing, considering the multitude of sex crimes for which he was convicted or charged before his death two years ago, many involving children.

New evidence submitted in the trial of Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, further emphasizes just how far-reaching that influence was. According to federal prosecutors, she helped groom many of his victims and at times even participated in the abuse itself.

Multiple reports Friday said a photograph showing Epstein and Maxwell being blessed by Pope John Paul II had been submitted into evidence in Manhattan federal court in New York.

Epstein and Ghislaine were blessed by the POPE: Photo reveals paedophile billionaire and his ‘madam’ at private meeting with the Head of the Catholic Church in the Vatican after flying into Rome on his ‘Lolita Express’ private jet

— Maxwell Trial Tracker (@TrackerTrial) November 22, 2021

The picture of Pope John Paul with Epstein has been entered into evidence.

— Maxwell Trial Tracker (@TrackerTrial) December 3, 2021

The fact-checking site Snopes previously questioned the authenticity of the photograph, saying it was “rating this claim unproven until we’re able to independently confirm its authenticity.”

Time for Snopes to update their “independent” fact check on this photo.

— Maxwell Trial Tracker (@TrackerTrial) December 3, 2021

The site now indicates the photograph is, in fact, authentic.

“Status changed from Unproven to True on the basis of evidence and testimony presented at Maxwell’s trial,” Snopes said on Friday.

In an article covering live updates of the trial, The Independent reported that “[c]rime scene investigator Gregory Parkinson is answering Assistant US Attorney Maurene Comey’s questions about it, noting the three-car garage and photos of Epstein with Pope John Paul II and Fidel Castro.”

A live update published by the New York Post included a similar report.

“Former Palm Beach Police officer Gregory Parkinson resumed testimony after the lunch break, and prosecutors are asking him questions about a video he recorded while executing a search warrant at Epstein’s estate in 2005,” the Post reported Friday.

“The video shows one photo of Epstein with Pope John Paul and another with Fidel Castro, Parkinson said.”

The Sun reported on the photo on Oct. 20, writing, “The snap sees the paedo billionaire and his alleged ‘madam’ enjoy a private audience with the head of the Catholic Church at the Vatican.”

“They are understood to have flown to Rome by private jet for the blessing by John Paul II almost two decades ago. A source told The Sun On Sunday: ‘Pictures like this show just how powerful Epstein’s connections were and his ability to open almost any door,’” the report said.

“‘He managed to manipulate his way into royal palaces, the White House and the Vatican, all with Maxwell by his side.’”

Indeed, this photograph further emphasizes the sheer influence Epstein had on the world stage.

That raises a disturbing question: How many other global elites were involved in his crimes?

Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including numerous original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet’s video podcast, “WJ Live.”


Ames, Iowa




Iowa State University

Topics of Expertise

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