Lori Loughlin · Jeffrey Epstein · Grann and Keefe

Plus: stupid Homeland Security tricks.

Welcome to your Best Evidence pre-long-weekend link round-up! We’d thought to punt a regular edish to next week, but there’s a bunch of news and headlines that won’t really “keep,” so let’s get ’em while they’re hot…

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich Is More ‘Filthy’ Than ‘Rich’”

Not m’best headline work and frankly I’m surprised the Primetimer copy desk didn’t help me out like they usually do (heh/sigh), but here’s the point: the four-parter, which drops next week, is well made and impressively sourced, but there’s just a dark void at the center of it, because the only answer there is to why Epstein did what he did and how so many people let him is “because he was evil and people are craven.” Jess pointed out in the most recent Blotter Presents that you need something to root for in true-crime properties, and with the greatest respect for the survivors’ giving of testimony, JE:FR doesn’t have that. Here’s my review.

If you missed the Two Writers Talking event with David Grann and Patrick Radden Keefe, there’s a recording.

With the exception of some attendees not understanding “turn your video off” instructions (hilariously, in a few cases), this was an interesting hour with two great reporters. I submitted a question, but they didn’t really get to any from the “room,” which was too bad (mine was about whether they need fallow periods/to work on something light and fizzy after a particularly intensive article or book).

Lori Loughlin finally caved and took a deal.

My other work wife Tara and I spent a good half hour speculating on what prompted this change of heart, with Tara theorizing that the gubmint must have shared some sort of even-deader-to-rights gotcha evidence. I think this is probably right, and also that Los Giannulli may have thought given All Of This that the feds might triage the case if they stalled long enough, given how backed up the courts will be for the rest of the year (and how other high-profile prisoners are getting released to home confinement because of COVID-19); when that didn’t happen and the country started to re-open, counsel told them to cut their losses.

Jeff Sessions is a felony-weight moron.

Not exactly a news brief, but let’s wrap up with another long read from the back-issue stack: Ben Taub’s 1/27/20 New Yorker piece, “Indefensible.” Based on laughable “evidence,” Iraqi immigrant Omar Ameen was as of publication facing deportation — and ergo certain death — for terrorist acts it’s pretty clear he could not have committed. The money quote, at least for Sessions despisers like me:

In Sessions’s first few intelligence briefings, James Comey, the FBI director, had to explain to him the differences between Sunni and shiite Muslims, and which terrorist groups followed which interpretation of Islam. Sessions struggled to focus but remained inflexible in his convictions.

A solid, if enraging, read.

Be safe out there this weekend, friends! True Crime A To Z will be rushing towards ze (see what I did there?) finish line so don’t forget to check those out as they hit your inbox. Next week, we’ve got a Satanic-panic podcast ranker, my Dopesick review for paid subscribers, more from my Heap O’ 2019 New Yorkers, and much more. — SDB

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