Following the death of Jeffrey Epstein, his seedy network of friends and potential co-conspirators alike have come into the spotlight.
One associate, considered to be Epstein's closest pal, is modeling maven Jean-Luc Brunel - who has recently been accused of pimping underage women around the world through his Mc2 and Karin modeling agencies, while former models have accused the 72-year-old of drugging and date-raping girls, according to the Daily Beast.
How close were Brunel and Epstein?
Brunel was one of the financier’s most frequent male associates. The agent appears more than 15 times on flight logs from Epstein’s private plane, jetting everywhere from Paris to New York, often in the presence of young women. He visited Epstein nearly 70 times in jail, according to visitor logs, and several more times while the financier was on house arrest in Palm Beach. According to one of Epstein’s housemen, Brunel was comfortable enough to whip up his own meals in the financier’s kitchen, and was one of Epstein’s most frequent callers. -Daily Beast
Brunel's name appeared in a cache of court documents unsealed earlier this month, having called and left a message to let Epstein know that he "just did a good one - 18 years" who reportedly told him "I love Jeffrey."
"He has a teacher for you to teach you how to speak Russian," reads another note from September 2005, which adds "She is 2 X 8  years old not blonde. Lessons are free and you can have 1st today if you call."
Epstein also extended a $1 million letter of credit to Brunel which was used to invest in Paris-based Elite Models. According to the Beast, "The venture, E Management, was first registered by Epstein’s attorney, who listed its address as 457 Madison Avenue—the same as Epstein’s investment firm, J. Epstein & Co."
Brunel says the venture fell apart after Elite Models learned of Epstein's sex-trafficking allegations - with the agent even suing Epstein in 2015 for tarnishing their reputation and causing a "tremendous loss of business."
At least two people say Brunel not only knew about the sex trafficking, he was actively participating in it.
Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre)—one of the first alleged victims to speak out against Epstein after he was granted a sweetheart plea deal—claimed in legal filings that Brunel was one of many powerful men she was forced to sleep with in her years as Epstein’s “sex slave.” She also accused Brunel of using his agency to find foreign girls, obtain visas for them, and “farm them out to his friends, including Epstein.”
“A lot of the girls came from poor countries or poor backgrounds, and he lured them in with a promise of making good money,” Giuffre said in a 2015 affidavit. “Jeffrey Epstein has told me that he has slept with over 1,000 of Brunel’s girls, and everything that I have seen confirms this claim.” -Daily Beast
"My assumption was that Jean-Luc Brunel got the girls from Eastern Europe (as he procured many young foreign girls for Epstein). They were young and European looking and sounding," said Guiffre while describing an orgy she says she was forced to participate in on Epstein's 'pedo island.'
In a 1988 60 Minutes piece, several American models who worked with Brunel spoke of being plied with drugs and taken to parties with older men.
"My sense, based upon the allegations, is that Jean-Luc was a predator, his group was a predator, and they used their tools of power and leverage to force sex from women who otherwise might not be willing to engage in it," one of the reporters from the 60 Minutes piece told the Daily Beast.
Former model Thysia Huisman was 18-years-old when she says Brunel sexually assaulted her after giving her a spiked drink.
"I recall him lying on top of me, me trying to push him off," she said in an interview. "I remember trying to move, but not really being able to. Like almost being paralysed. I heard the sound of my blouse – a black blouse – ripping. I had a black skirt, too. I felt him – this is difficult – between my legs. Pushing."
Huisman said the rest was a blur. She woke the next morning in a kimono that wasn’t hers, with soreness on her inner thighs. “I felt we had had sex,” she said. “I knew. I know.”
She gathered her things and fled while Brunel spoke on the telephone in the living room, she said. Her modelling work never recovered and she embarked on a career in television, always behind the camera.
“I was really ashamed,” she said. Huisman said she began telling her current partner about the incident eight years ago. He confirmed to the Guardian she then told him she was “molested” by someone at her modelling agency, and added more details – including Brunel’s name – over time, explaining the full story about two years ago. -The Guardian
Another former model, Courtney Soerensen, says Brunel molested her when she was 19-years-old, and "sabotaged" her career when she rejected him.
"He would get very handsy, start groping me, try to kiss me, try to get me to lay down on the bed just to ‘try it out’" said Soerensen. "He would try to untuck my shirt, wanting to ‘see my abs’. He would grab my breasts and put his hand on my bottom. There was one time where he rubbed himself up against me."
"The guy was a vile pig" says former Brunel photographer and scout Clayton Nelson. "The girls who slept with him worked. The girls who didn’t, he would tell bookers: ‘I don’t want her booked for anything’."
Former MC2 bookkeeper Martina Vasquez has also accused Brunel of similar behavior, claiming that Brunel employed scouts who would recruit teenage models from South America, Europe and the former USSR. "The most desirable of those teens were housed in Epstein’s Upper East Side apartments and loaned out to wealthy clients for up to $100,000 a night, Vasquez alleged. If they refused to be “molested,” she said, they would not be paid. (Brunel has denied these claims and says Vasquez was fired from his agency for embezzling company funds.)" according to the report.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, reports that MC2 Model Management had a growing list of concerned corporate clients by 2014 after Brunel's ties to Epstein came to light.
By 2014, Brunel’s business partner Jeff Fuller was concerned that the relationship with Epstein could be damaging. In a letter reviewed by Bloomberg News, Fuller told Brunel that he was getting a “tremendous amount of worries from our clients” about the ties to Epstein, then went on to list as clients Nordstrom Inc., Macy’s Inc., Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney Co., Kohl’s Corp., Target Corp., Sears and Belk. -Bloomberg
Brunel has denied all allegations of impropriety.