Jeffrey Epstein’s Little-Known Lawyer Lands in Spotlight – The Wall Street Journal

A house on Little St. James Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a private island owned by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.


Photo:

marco bello/Reuters

NEW YORK—Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime lawyer has operated behind the scenes for decades. Now he finds himself in the spotlight over the scandal surrounding the disgraced financier.

Darren Indyke

was named co-executor of Mr. Epstein’s will filed earlier this month in a U.S. Virgin Islands court, a document Mr. Epstein signed two days before his apparent suicide. Mr. Indyke and Mr. Epstein had worked together for more than 25 years as Mr. Epstein expanded his business and social ties.

As federal prosecutors investigate Mr. Epstein’s operations and some of his alleged sexual-assault victims seek to recover assets from his estate, Mr. Indyke has hired a criminal defense lawyer, though no charges have been filed against him.

Among his wide-ranging work as an attorney, Mr. Indyke set up companies for Mr. Epstein and his colleagues, represented Mr. Epstein in real estate deals and handled matters involving his charitable giving, public records show. He also invested alongside Mr. Epstein in at least one instance, contributed to politicians favored by Mr. Epstein and represented him in a Federal Election Commission matter involving an excessive political donation, public records indicate.

Mr. Indyke also once had an address at the Manhattan condominium building where several Epstein employees lived, according to real-estate records. That building was purchased in the early 1990s by a former affiliate of J. Epstein & Co., Mr. Epstein’s investment firm, real-estate records and New York state filings show.

All that means the 54-year-old lawyer could attract the attention of anyone hoping to track Mr. Epstein’s financial holdings—worth at least $577 million, according to court papers filed with his will.

Another wrinkle in Mr. Epstein’s case involves how much of Mr. Indyke’s work is protected by attorney-client privilege. When a lawyer conducts business dealings for a client that don’t involve legal advice or representation, that work isn’t covered by the privilege, said

Peter Joy,

a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mr. Indyke declined to comment for this article through

Marc Agnifilo,

his criminal-defense lawyer.

Mr. Epstein died Aug. 10 in a New York federal jail cell of what a coroner said was a suicide. He had pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking counts arising from a scheme federal prosecutors said involved sexual abuse of dozens of girls.

Jeffrey Epstein in a 2017 photo provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry.


Photo:

New York State Sex Offender Registry/Associated Press

In 2008, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to two counts related to prostitution; he went to jail but was allowed to participate in a work-release program later that year.

While Mr. Epstein hired criminal defense attorneys to represent him in the prostitution case, Mr. Indyke frequently visited Mr. Epstein in jail, court records show. In July 2009, Mr. Epstein was released early, having served 13 months of an 18-month sentence.

Mr. Indyke graduated from Cornell University’s law school in 1991, according to the university’s website, and joined the New York state bar in 1992. He owns a house in Livingston, N.J., purchased in 2003 for $1.7 million, and one he bought in Boca Raton, Fla., in 2015 for $3.1 million cash, public records show.

Mr. Indyke also owns a condominium in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Mr. Epstein owned two private islands, public records show.

Over the past two decades, Mr. Indyke has made open-records requests to three federal agencies on behalf of Mr. Epstein. It couldn’t be determined what kind of information Mr. Epstein was seeking or whether any was produced.

In 2013, Mr. Indyke requested records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection on behalf of Mr. Epstein. The types of records obtainable under such requests, according to the CBP website, are information pertaining to an individual’s U.S. entries and exits, apprehensions, detentions and results of background checks.

In March 2014, Mr. Indyke asked the National Security Agency for “documents, communications, memorandums, orders, agreements and/or instructions” relating to Mr. Epstein dating back to 2000. The record for the request is marked “Denial of Information” and below that “Not Closed.”

Mr. Indyke also has ties to Mr. Epstein’s main investment client,

Leslie Wexner,

the billionaire founder of retailers

L Brands

and Victoria’s Secret. Mr. Wexner said in a statement several weeks ago that Mr. Epstein stole more than $46 million from him. The statement made no mention of Mr. Indyke.

In 1999, Mr. Indyke was secretary of the nonprofit Wexner Foundation, securities filings show. A year earlier, Mr. Indyke supplied an affidavit in a legal dispute in New York federal court against a German shipbuilder that had constructed Mr. Wexner’s 316-foot yacht, “Limitless.”

Representatives for Mr. Wexner and L Brands didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Indyke also invested alongside Mr. Epstein at least once, regulatory filings show. In 2004, Mr. Indyke held an unspecified stake in Second City Capital Partners, a private-equity firm specializing in real-estate investments. One of Mr. Epstein’s foundations for which Mr. Indyke was an officer also held a Second City Capital Partners stake at the time.

Mr. Indyke moreover was a registered agent for multiple companies located at the New York address of J. Epstein & Co. And he assisted Mr. Epstein in his 1993 purchase of the Zorro Ranch, a vast property near Albuquerque, N.M.; land leases show that the ranch is owned by Cypress Inc. of the U.S. Virgin Islands and that Mr. Indyke is a vice president of Cypress.

A number of donations Mr. Indyke made to politicians over the years mirrored those made by Mr. Epstein, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. On Aug. 4, 2016, for example, Mr. Indyke donated $2,700 to U.S. Rep. Stacey Plaskett, a Virgin Islands Democrat; Mr. Epstein also donated to her that day, records show. And on July 23, 2018, Mr. Indyke and Mr. Epstein both made donations to Ms. Plaskett.

Write to Gretchen Morgenson at gretchen.morgenson@wsj.com

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