(Bloomberg) -- Jim Zirin was on his way to play golf Saturday morning when he heard about Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a New York jail.
By that evening “it dominated the conversation” at the East Hampton dinner party he attended, said the lawyer, whose latest book, “Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits,” is due out next month.
“Everyone is mystified and suspicious as to what happened,” Zirin said. “No one believes the conspiracy theories. The way to make these cases is to follow the money.”
See also: Jeffrey Epstein found dead in jail, raising ‘serious questions’
Over in Southampton, Maureen Sherry, an author and former Bear Stearns managing director who worked at the investment bank after Epstein, expressed anger.
“Powerful and wealthy men have been able to get away with abusing young girls by gagging their complaints with shame and money, since forever,” Sherry said in an email on Sunday. “That said, it seemed that this time would be different. That this time these girls/women would have had their day in court.”
Sherry’s thoughts turned to those who may have aided Epstein. “Nobody could abuse on the scale of Epstein without the help of many,” she said. “While I have no idea what happened in his jail cell, the convenience of his death allows them to sleep easier tonight.”
The Epstein chatter was a relief from the topic that dominated Friday night: President Trump’s visit to the Hamptons for fundraisers at the homes of Stephen Ross and builder Joe Farrell.
At a Friday night gala for Guild Hall, art collector Jane Holzer said she’d gotten up at 5:30 a.m. to make the trip to Southampton from Manhattan before the president’s arrival disrupted traffic. Lauren Levison of East Hampton boutique Mayfair Rocks clarified that her sister, jewelry designer Kristen Farrell, is not related to Joe Farrell. And Polina Proshkina showed a photograph of a “Farmers 4 Trump” sign she’d snapped along Head of Pond Road in Water Mill.
Artist Eric Fischl, before announcing a $100,000 gift to a Guild Hall museum endowment fund in memory of Michael Lynne, expressed puzzlement at Ross’s support for Trump.
See also: Billionaire’s Trump fundraiser sparks war over fitness clubs
“I know Steve, but he clearly has blind spots,” Fischl said in an interview. “I understand someone being in business and the practical thinking involved there. What I don’t understand is someone who spends a lot of his life creating culture, providing opportunities for culture, to not see that Trump is destroying our culture. And it’s going to take a lot longer to recover than we think.”
The next night, at the East Hampton Library Authors Night, Alec Baldwin was signing a parody book he co-wrote about Trump, but that’s not what he wanted to talk about.
“To me, Epstein is more significant,” Baldwin said. “Epstein is the corroborating witness in a lot of these cases. Now with Epstein dead, what’s going to happen? It seems like the worst people in our society get away with things.”
Authors Night extended for some with dinner parties in people’s homes, including Jane Friedman’s, where Robert Caro was the guest of honor.
The hostess made the ground rules of conversation clear.
“This is an apolitical evening,” the former chief executive of HarperCollins told about 50 guests on a patio next to her pool, a few of whom offered yips of approval before dipping into squash soup.
Caro demurred on questions concerning Epstein, Trump or the Democratic candidates.
“I’m stuck in 1965,” he said, referring to the final volume of the Lyndon Johnson biography he’s working on.
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