Daily Mail in response to Barak libel suit: We stand by our story

"We note that Mr. Barak’s assertion that he was not party to Mr. Epstein’s illegal activities is a denial of a claim we have never made."

Former Prime Minister and Labor party leader Ehud Barak talks to journalists at The Israel Project in Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Former Prime Minister and Labor party leader Ehud Barak talks to journalists at The Israel Project in Jerusalem
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
“The Daily Mail stands by its recent story concerning Ehud Barak’s relationship with the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein 100%,” wrote the newspaper on its website on Thursday in response to a libel suit filed by Israel Democratic Party leader Ehud Barak after the paper published an expose showing Barak entering convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein’s house on the same day as four women.
“We note that Mr. Barak’s assertion that he was not party to Mr. Epstein’s illegal activities is a denial of a claim we have never made,” wrote the Daily Mail.
When the photos were published in 2016, the Daily Mail did not receive any complaints and Barak was described as “an unidentified man.”
“The reason for the latest article is that Mr. Barak has now admitted he is the man in the photographs, which also raises a legitimate question about his statement that he ‘never met Epstein in the company of women or young girls,’” explained the Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail also denied that they did not attempt to reach Barak and stated that they were unsuccessful in contacting him.
The article does “prominently” record quotes given to the Daily Beast the day before the Daily Mail article was published, including Barak’s explanations for his covered face and visit to Epstein’s house.
The newspaper stated that “the suggestion that the article was published maliciously in order to ‘benefit his political opponent’ is absurd.”
The Daily Mail clarified that it has “no view at all” on Israeli politics which are “properly a matter for the Israeli people.”
“However, since Mr. Barak is a highly prominent political figure currently engaged in an election campaign in Israel, it is absolutely clear that this is a story of the utmost public interest,” said the newspaper.
“In short, DailyMail.com will not be removing the disputed story as demanded,” stated the Daily Mail.
The news site also called Barak’s “dog-whistle description” of the story as a “blood libel” offensive in the extreme and demanded that he retract the “vile and defamatory insinuation immediately.”
Epstein was convicted of soliciting a teenage girl for prostitution in 2008 and was indicted last week in connection with allegations that he was involved in the sex trafficking of dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005.
When the photos were taken, the identity of the man seen walking into the house was uncertain, but the Daily Mail has now confirmed that it was Barak. He admitted to the Daily Beast that it was him, but claimed that the visit was innocent.
“I was there, for lunch or chat, nothing else,” said Barak. “So what? I never attended a party with him. I never met Epstein in the company of women or young girls.”
Barak told the Daily Beast that he covered his face because of New York’s January weather. “It was so cold, the Middle Easterner had to put on a hat.”
On Wednesday morning, Barak tweeted a picture of himself with his face covered with a hat, scarf and sunglasses, where his face can barely be seen. “I admit, I usually cover my face when it is cold,” he said. “Not just in New York. Everywhere in the world. I did not know that this was newsworthy until now. Will be revealing a collection of scarfs soon.”
“THE HEAD OF the Israel Democratic Party, Ehud Barak, does not intend to continue dealing with spins whose purpose is to divert attention from the alleged criminal conduct of an acting prime minister who received $4.2 million and additional amounts from an American business man, who is his cousin, and also from convicted criminals in Europe,” the party said in response on Tuesday night.
“Barak dismisses with disgust the abominable hints that appear in the article,” the party added. “There is no news in the article. They are absolutely false, except that Barak admits that it is very cold in January in New York.”
The statement by the party claimed that the British tabloid has “already published a number of false article of this kind, both about Barak and about other people. Other journalists, who dealt with these publications, found no evidence of these lies. Barak will act immediately through attorneys in order to file a libel suit against the Daily Mail.
“All of Ehud Barak’s work these days is to consolidate the democratic camp into one united force that will work to bring Israel back on track and to keep it a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state for its citizens and their service,” the statement.
Epstein financed much of an investment of several million dollars formerly made by Barak in the company Reporty Homeland Security, according to Haaretz. Now called Carbyne, it develops call-handling and identification capabilities for emergency response services.
Barak defended his decision to enter a business relationship with Epstein even though other former partners kept their distance.
“He’d served his sentence for soliciting prostitution – the indictment didn’t say she was a minor,” he said on Saturday on Channel 12’s Meet the Press.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Barak said that as soon as he heard about the new indictment, he instructed his attorneys to look into removing the company tied to Epstein from the limited partnership.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has challenged Barak to explain why he was paid over $2m. by the Wexner Foundation in 2004 for what was described as a research program, when Epstein was among the foundation’s trustees. Barak was not in public office at the time. The Jewish philanthropist Leslie Wexner and Epstein were close friends and business associates at the time.