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Fact check: Photo does not show John Roberts and Bill Clinton on Epstein’s island

Social media users have been sharing posts that claim to show the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Little St. James in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the private Caribbean island once owned by the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. This claim is false: the photo shows Clinton on holiday in the Dominican Republic and there is no evidence Justice Roberts was present on this trip.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The posts ( here , here , here ) show a picture of five men in the water off an island, with the man on the far left circled. Captions include, “Justice Robert’s pictured with Bill Clinton on Epstein’s island”, and “Watch The Water!!! Look Clinton’s here too! Lol!!” In some cases, the photo is accompanied by a screenshot of a Facebook post that says: “Guess who else was at Epsteins (sic) Island…Justice Roberts … It’s time to vacate another seat…Patriots in Control!!!!!!” as well as a photo of Justice Roberts’ swearing in ceremony (where the original photo can be seen here ).

Epstein pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges involving dozens of underage girls at his mansions in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida, following his arrest on July 6, 2019. He had escaped federal prosecution by pleading guilty in 2008 to Florida state prostitution charges. Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Manhattan Detention Complex on Aug. 10, 2019 (here).

A reverse image search shows the photo in the social media posts does show Bill Clinton, but it was taken in January 2017 when Clinton was on holiday at the Casa de Campo Resort, swimming at the Palmilla beach in the Dominican Republic, as shown here in a report by Spanish-language local news outlet, Acento. In its article, Acento says it was given access to a few photos from Clinton’s day at the beach, with an accompanying note saying: “At Palmilla. Ex-president Clinton is on holiday. Playing golf and enjoying Palmilla with his Dominican friends.”

Captions on the other photos in the Acento article, as well as reporting by fact-checking site Snopes (here), identify some of the people Clinton was with. Using these images (another here ), the other people in the photo shared on social media are, from right to left, José Calzada (Senior Vice President of the Casa de Campo Real Estate here ) , George Nader (described as an art entrepreneur, here , and also identified by Snopes), Bill Clinton and Ricardo Cheaz (described as a Dominican businessman, here ). The man on the far left is not identified and it is unclear from the article who he is. Justice Roberts is not mentioned in the local media articles and there is no evidence to suggest he is pictured in the photo.

The Supreme Court’s Public Information Office did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

Reuters photos of Justice Roberts at President Donald Trump’s inauguration, which also took place in January 2017, show that his head of hair appears greyer and less full than that of the man in the pool in the Dominican Republic photo, as seen here and here .

Other fact-checkers debunked this claim, here , here , here and here .

Reuters has debunked other false claims about certain high-profile figures visiting Epstein’s island, here , here , here , here .

VERDICT

False. The photo shows Bill Clinton on holiday in the Dominican Republic in 2017. The man on the left does not appear to be Justice Roberts.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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