NY Times biz columnist Stewart on his Epstein meeting
New York Times business columnist James Stewart spoke with Columbia Journalism Review editor and publisher Kyle Pope about his 2018 on-background interview with convicted sex offender and money manager Jeffrey Epstein.
Stewart said he reached out to Epstein because he had heard he was working with Tesla CEO Elon Musk to attract new board members to the auto company.
“He had been trying to rehabilitate himself somewhat,” said Stewart.
“At the time what I thought he was doing was rapport building.. kind of shooting the breeze,” said Stewart about his meeting with Epstein. “I knew he was a fairly notorious character. But I was fairly indifferent about that. I wanted to know whether he was working for Musk.”
Stewart said the discussion was on background and those terms were agreed upon before the interview.
“I thought he was slippery and evasive,” said Stewart. “I don’t like dealing with people like that as a source. … He could talk in circles in a way that didn’t go anywhere.”
In a later phone call, Epstein asked Stewart to write a book about him. Stewart declined.
After Epstein committed suicide, the Times and Stewart decided he would write a column about the meeting. “I didn’t make the decision lightly by any means,” said Stewart.
To listen to the interview, go here.