In July 2019, all eyes were on Jeffrey Epstein as he walked into a Manhattan federal courtroom in prison blues and orange sneakers. The reclusive multimillionaire, accustomed to luxury getaways across the world with powerful friends, looked disheveled as he was accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.
Police had arrested the 66-year-old financier two days earlier, and a crowded crowd of journalists, lawyers and victims were now watching him plead not guilty to child sex trafficking charges – more than a decade after avoiding severe prison sentences for assault. dozens of teenage victims at his Palm Beach, Florida mansion.
But as the press focused on Epstein, one high profile viewer apparently went unnoticed – at least, unnoticed by most. Two eyewitnesses have said former White House lawyer Kathryn Ruemmler was at Epstein’s appearance that day for his support, The Daily Beast has learned.
Two people who attended the hearing separately said Ruemmler – who served as a White House lawyer during the Clinton and Obama administrations – had a “professional relationship” with Epstein and was seated behind his defense team.
At the time, Ruemmler was a partner at Latham & Watkins and the global co-chair of the law firm’s white-collar defense and investigations practice.
“Epstein knew her,” a knowledgeable source told The Daily Beast about her court appearance in July 2019. “He had a professional relationship with her. I think he may have contacted her to be involved in the case. The source said Ruemmler’s appearance was “probably just a show of support.”
“She worked for a big, high-profile company,” the person said. “There has been some exploration of his participation in [defense] team, but that was not going to happen.
Ruemmler did not return any messages requesting comment. A Latham & Watkins spokeswoman said neither the law firm nor Ruemmler represented Epstein; she did not resend The Daily Beast follow-up emails.
“I deeply appreciate his intelligence, judgment and wit – but most of all his uncanny ability to see corners that no one else anticipates.“
– President Obama, on Ruemmler
Martin Weinberg, Epstein’s lawyer since 2008, said Ruemmler did not represent the financier and was not a member of the defense team led by himself and Reid Weingarten. “I can say with certainty that Kathy Ruemmler has not represented Mr. Epstein and has not appeared at any hearing at any time on his behalf,” Weinberg said in an email.
Ruemmler has previously represented the Clinton Foundation and George Nader, a key witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia, which was sentenced to 10 years in prison for child sex trafficking.
She left Latham & Watkins in April to become Global Head of Regulatory Affairs at Goldman Sachs. Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month, Fox News reported that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden may have put Ruemmler on the shortlist for a future SCOTUS seat.
Indeed, Ruemmler and other Obama-era officials hosted a DC event for Biden last November as his fundraising dwindled ahead of the primaries. According to Washington Examiner, Ruemmler told the crowd that the 2020 election is all about “character,” and “no one has the strength and quality of character, nobody like Joe Biden.”
Ruemmler has long walked the revolving door between the civil service and Latham & Watkins, whose phalanx of former high-ranking government lawyers inspired a the Wall Street newspaper blog to call the company “DOJ’s home.”
At Latham, Ruemmler has defended companies in high-stakes litigation, conducted internal malpractice investigations and avoided indictments through Justice Department “denials” or decisions not to prosecute that are similar to non-prosecution agreements. (She did, however, secure a non-prosecution agreement for Microsoft Hungary, which last year paid $ 8.7 million in penalties to resolve a foreign bribery case.)
Her career began with an internship with a federal appellate judge, followed by a job at the Zuckerman Spaeder litigation boutique in Washington, DC, before being hired as an attorney for President Clinton from 2000 to 2001.
She then joined the Department of Justice, where she made headlines as lead prosecutor in Enron’s financial fraud trial. (Weingarten, one of Epstein’s Washington-based legal eagles, took on Ruemmler when he represented Richard Causey, the former chief accountant of Enron who pleaded guilty to securities fraud.)
In 2007, she left government for Latham & Watkins. She joined the Obama administration two years later as the senior assistant deputy attorney general of the DOJ. Ruemmler replaced his mentor, Bob Bauer, as White House legal adviser in 2011 and has become one of President Obama’s closest confidants. When announcing her resignation in 2014, Obama said, “Kathy has become one of my most trusted advisers in recent years. I deeply appreciate his intelligence, judgment and wit – but most of all his uncanny ability to see corners that no one else anticipates.
Later, asked in an interview how she would like to be remembered, Ruemmler paraphrased Bauer: “She said it was like it was; she never put light icing on the cake.
“There was some exploration of his participation in [Epstein defense] team, but that was not going to happen.“
After the Obama White House, Ruemmler returned to Latham but was soon in the running to replace Attorney General Eric Holder. But she withdrew her name from consideration – apparently because she feared his closeness to Obama, and his handling of affairs, including the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and the secret service prostitution scandal in Cartagena. , in Colombia, would complicate the confirmation process. .
“She was convinced that it would not serve the department well, and that it certainly would not serve the president well, that the confirmation process be a series of partisan attacks on the president rather than a reasoned approach to what the department Justice is badly needed right now, ”a source told Politico.
Under the Clinton administration, Ruemmler defended the White House in Congressional inquiries and “independent lawyer issues, including those related to former Pentagon worker Linda Tripp, who taped famous colleague Monica Lewinsky” , according to one of them. Washington post profile on Enron prosecutors.
But Ruemmler’s ties to the Clintons did not end with Bill’s presidency. She is mentioned in emails posted to WikiLeaks, including those belonging to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Chairman John Podesta. One attachment listed Ruemmler in a March 2016 list of potential campaign “veterans”, while several other emails indicated that Ruemmler had participated in more than one “bi-weekly strategy call.”
In August 2016, Ruemmler was identified as “the principal lawyer for the Clinton Foundation” when Reuters, as well as the New York Post, reported that the organization hired a security firm following suspicion of hacking. It is unclear how long she represented the Clinton family charity or what other work she did for them.
Ruemmler also recently defended the Democratic National Committee and Perkins Coie – the law firm representing Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 – in a libel lawsuit filed by Carter Page, a former campaign adviser to Donald Trump.
Page claimed the parties developed the Steele dossier, which was “filled with lies about many people associated with the Trump campaign,” leading the federal government to “mistakenly and secretly” monitor Page as Russia’s agent . (A Chicago federal judge dismissed Page’s action in August, saying the court lacked jurisdiction; Page filed a similar lawsuit in Oklahoma in 2018, but it was dismissed for the same reason.)
Ruemmler’s alleged ties to Epstein raise further questions about the high-powered connections of the financier, including Bill Clinton. Clinton’s name has surfaced several times in court documents relating to Epstein and his alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, and he has taken international trips with the evil couple aboard Epstein’s private jet. The former president denies knowing anything about Epstein’s mistreatment of young women and girls and denies a victim’s claim he visited Epstein’s Virgin Islands resort.
Several Clinton staff are listed in Epstein’s infamous Rolodex, including Cheryl Mills, who was Clinton’s deputy White House attorney during his 1999 impeachment trial. Mills was a presidential race adviser 2008 Hillary Clinton and Chief of Staff when Clinton became Secretary of State. Along with Podesta, Mills oversaw Clinton’s search for a running mate in 2016 and was included in emails with Ruemmler.
In past years, Epstein and Maxwell have donated thousands of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and the “Clinton Library”. When Epstein’s lawyers secretly negotiated a plea deal for his Florida child abuse in 2007, they plugged his friendship with former President Clinton and claimed he helped create the Clinton Global Initiative.
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