By: Rajini KG
January 5 2024
Screenshot of viral images circulating online. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
One of the photos showing Trump and Epstein together has been digitally edited and the other two are most likely AI-generated.
The recently released sealed court documents from a lawsuit involving Jeffrey Epstein—the American financier who killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking— has created a lot of buzz online with the papers mentioning several famous personalities including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, magician David Copperfield, and United Kingdom’s Prince Andrew, to name a few.
What is the claim?
In light of the release of the documents, three images of former U.S. President Donald Trump and Epstein—who had pleaded guilty to sexually abusing an underage girl in 2008 and was subsequently jailed for 13 months—are going viral with the claim that the former was one of Epstein’s clients.
One image shared online shows Trump and his daughter Ivanka standing next to Epstein. Another image shows Trump and Epstein sitting on a couch with a girl. The third image shows Trump and Epstein sitting with two girls on a beige-colored couch. Archived versions of social media posts sharing these images, many of which have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, can be viewed here, here, and here.
Screenshot of the viral images circulating on social media. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, the images are fake. The images have been digitally altered by using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Here are the facts
A reverse image search revealed that the picture of Trump with Ivanka and Epstein was created by clipping two different images together. The image of Trump with his daughter has been cropped out from a photograph captured in 1993. The original image was shared on Getty Images with the caption: “Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump during Grand Opening of The Harley Davidson Cafe at Harley Davidson Cafe in New York City, New York, United States on October 19, 1993.” Photographer Ron Galella was credited with the image, and the original picture did not have Epstein in it.
Epstein’s image appears to have been taken from a photograph captured in 2005. This image was also available on Getty Images and the accompanying caption read: “NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18: Jeffrey Epstein attends Launch of RADAR MAGAZINE at Hotel QT on May 18, 2005.” The photo was attributed to photographer Patrick McMullan.
These two images were digitally edited to show Ivanka and Donald Trump standing next to Epstein.
The original Getty Image photos that were edited to created to create the viral fake picture showing Ivanka and Donald Tump with Epstein. (Source: Getty Images/Screenshots)
The second image shows a girl sitting on Epstein's lap and Trump sitting next to them on a couch as other people surround the three. A close examination of the image revealed several discrepancies indicating it is not real.
One striking discrepancy we found is that Epstein’s legs are missing in the image. His upper body also appears strange and is weirdly positioned next to Trump. The fingers on the girl’s left-hand look disfigured further suggesting this image was created using artificial intelligence (AI).
Discrepancies observed in the viral image. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)
The third image shows Trump and Epstein sitting on a couch with two girls with some people in the background. Here, too, several discrepancies suggest that the image has been created artificially.
Epstein’s legs are missing in this image as well. We can also spot three hands around his left shoulder, out of which two seem disfigured. One of the hands also appears to be holding a severed hand. Trump's left hand appears to have extra fingers. All of this establishes that the image, which had gone viral in the past and had been fact-checked before as well, is not real.
Discrepancies in the viral image (Source: X)
What are the documents about?
The recently released court records include testimonies by a survivor who had filed a lawsuit in 2015 against Epstein’s alleged girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, for aiding and abetting Epstein. It is to be noted that the names mentioned in the documents do not necessarily mean these names were a part of Epstein’s “client” list or were involved in any illegal activities. The documents shed some light on the activities and charges against Epstein and Maxwell who was sentenced to 20 years in connection with the 2015 lawsuit.
Miami Herald news media had moved the court to access the court documents and transcripts of interviews of the lawyers with potential witnesses involved in the 2015 lawsuit. The US Court released some unsealed documents in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. In December 2023, U.S. District Judge Loretta A Preska ordered the release of some of the documents related to the case, which list the names of witnesses in the Maxwell case, Epstein’s staff, Epstein’s accusers, journalists, police detectives, prosecutors who investigated Epstein’s case, and many celebrities known to have a link with Epstein, including Donald Trump.
Trump’s link to Epstein
A report in The Independent points out that Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein had met on multiple occasions, and the former U.S. president had spoken about his friendship with him as well. The pair had a falling out in the 1990s, before Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008. Their association had allegedly rekindled in 2016, but Trump distanced himself from Epstein when the latter was arrested in 2019, the report added. The former president had said at the time that he had not spoken to Epstein in 15 years.
While pictures of Trump and Epstein have been published by media outlets in the past, the images of the duo going viral currently are not real. While one of them has been digitally edited, the other two are most likely AI-generated.
Logically Facts has written an analysis on how to spot AI-created images (read here) and has previously debunked many AI images circulating online (read here).
The three images being shared online to show Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein together are fake. These are not real images: one of them has been digitally manipulated, and the other two were most likely created using AI tools.