Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Jesse G. Phinney, former cameraman on "The Apprentice," faced pedophilia charges in the Philippines and wound up dead in a jail cell, meeting the same fate as former Trump chum Jeffrey Epstein

Donald Trump on "The Apprentice"

Jeffrey Epstein is not the only Donald Trump associate to face charges of being a pedophile and winding up dead in a jail cell. Epstein is not even the first associate to face such charges and meet such a fate, according to a report from a D.C.-based investigative journalist.

Jesse G. Phinney, a cameraman on Trump's The Apprentice television show, was found dead in a jail cell roughly 18 months before Epstein was found under similar circumstances, reports Wayne Madsen. From a recent post on Phinney's death at the Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), which is subscription only:

A year-and-a-half before the jail cell hanging of alleged child sex trafficker, convicted child sex offender, and one-time close Donald Trump friend Jeffrey Epstein at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan, another Trump associate accused of pedophilia was found hanging in his jail cell in the Philippines.

Jesse G. Phinney, a cameraman for Trump's "The Apprentice" reality television show, was discovered on December 5, 2017, hanging by his belt in his jail cell in Cebu in the Philippines. Phinney, who lived and worked in Los Angeles, had been arrested by officers of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Phinney was arrested after he was identified by Cebu province Vice Governor Agnes Magpale that Phinney was suspected of violating the Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act and the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act.

How seedy does the Phinney story get? Very:

After a raid on Phinney's apartment in Talisay City, the NBI discovered an 8-year old was present in the residence at the time of the police action. WMR's sources in the Philippines report an additional three underage girls, the oldest 12, were also residing in Phinney's apartment.

Jesse Phinney
Police discovered high-end camera equipment and production lighting in Phinney's apartment. Also found were children's clothing, including bikinis, and toys. The 8-year old girl was turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

If you have followed the Epstein story, see if this sounds familiar:

Phinney, 42, was found hanging by his belt in his cell. Friends of Phinney contended that Phinney never wire a belt. A U.S. pathologist hired by Phinney's family in Boston found that Phinney's death appeared not to be from asphyxiation from hanging but from blunt-force trauma indicative of a beating death. It should be noted that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who routinely carries out extrajudicial executions in the country, is a favorite of Donald Trump.

Phinney's possible murder mirrors that of Epstein, who was found hanging in his cell on August 10, 2019, while two guards failed to conduct mandatory 30-minute checks on Epstein, who had been placed on a suicide watch in the jail's Special Housing Unit. The MCC guard station was located a mere 15 feet from the guard station. The two guards have been criminally charged by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York with conspiracy and falsifying records. No reasonable explanation has been made about the unusual visit to the MCC by Attorney General William Barr after Epstein was reportedly physically assaulted by another inmate. Barr's father, Donald Barr, was involved in the decision to hire Epstein to teach teens at the Dalton School in Manhattan in the mid-1970s. Donald Barr was the school's headmaster from 1964 to 1974. Epstein was hired in 1974. 
The NBI began their surveillance on Phinney in December 2016. Affidavits were sworn by a mother and girl that Phinney had young girls sleep overnight at his apartment, took photographs of them, and gave them presents. Police discovered photos of children from throughout Southeast Asia and Central America. Phinney was a frequent traveler to both regions that are heavily favored as sex tourism locations by pedophiles.

Phinney's death is a story where politics, media, entertainment, and law enforcement intersect -- and those, to a great extent, are the worlds that produced Donald Trump:

Local press reported that the U.S. embassy in Manila had shown an interest in Phinney's death. Phinney had announced his retirement from TV work in Los Angeles and said he was planning on settling in Cebu. A second autopsy showed that Phinney's head showed a hemorrhage and there were bruises on his back, none of which were consistent with suicide by hanging. A Paris-based firm, Insiders Corp, began conducting a pro bono investigation of Phinney's arrest and death. Insiders Corp maintains an office in the Philippines and Boston and its founder, Julien Serres, is a former correspondent for Le Figaro and the Canal+ television network in Asia. Epstein was returning from Paris to the United States on his Gulfstream jet when he was arrested at an airport in New Jersey. French authorities have been criticized for dragging their feet on investigating Epstein's operations in France. Epstein maintained residences in Paris, Biarritz, and Nice.

Phinney was also a cinematographer for the reality TV show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." Trump is close to both Kim Kardashian, who is an executive producer for the show, and her husband, rapper Kanye West.

Perhaps it boils down to this question: Do we have a murderer in the White House -- and does the president use public resources to wipe out individuals who are perceived to have dirt on him?


Anonymous said...

How has this story floated under the radar? How many Americans know a Trump associate from "The Apprentice" faced child-sex charges and wound up dead in a jail cell.

Anonymous said...

My question: How deep does this go and how ugly does it get?

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a bombshell story, and the MSM seems to be asleep at the wheel.

legalschnauzer said...

In the ninth paragraph of my post, I link to a story, which is comprehensive in nature, from inquirer.net, which is a news outlet from the Philippines. I'm still researching U.S. coverage, but so far, it appears to be sparse.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is a Reuters story re: the independent pathologist's findings. It's one of the few U.S. MSM accounts I've found so far:

An American cameraman and filmmaker who died in December in a jail in the Philippines suffered blunt-force trauma, and his body had markings inconsistent with the official account by Philippine authorities that he hanged himself, a private U.S. pathologist said.

The findings raised new questions about the death of Jesse Phinney on the Philippine island of Cebu. Law enforcement officials there said they found the 42-year-old Boston native hanging in the bathroom of a detention facility where he was being held on Dec. 5, and declared it a suicide.

Phinney’s family, suspecting foul play and believing he was incapable of the alleged crimes that prompted his arrest, hired a Providence, Rhode Island-based forensic pathologist and a private investigations company to look into his death.

The pathologist, Dr. Elizabeth Laposata, told Reuters in a recent interview that an autopsy she performed in the United States found deep bruises on Phinney’s body, caused within three or four hours of his death, and an unexplained mark on his neck. She said she believed the evidence indicated that Phinney did not take his own life.


Anonymous said...

Good Lord, this sounds exactly like the Epstein saga.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is more from the Reuters piece:

“No medical examiner would be comfortable saying this is a suicidal hanging because there are all these unexplained things,” said Laposata, a former chief medical examiner for the state of Rhode Island who is now in private practice and regularly testifies at murder trials.

The day before he was found dead, Phinney had been arrested on suspicion of violating human trafficking and child abuse laws, according to a report by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) seen by Reuters. The NBI is the Philippine equivalent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the report, the NBI began tracking Phinney after a December 2016 complaint by Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, who also co-chairs a women’s protection group. The report included affidavits from a mother and child who said Phinney sometimes had minors sleep at his home, took pictures of them, and gave them gifts.

Anonymous said...

This story has been way under-reported, maybe because the death happened in the Philippines, but I still think the MSM has let this one slip.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not Phinney was known to wear belts, what kind of prison allows an inmate to keep his belt? It could be used to hurt himself or someone else, so this prison's policy is, "By all means, keep your belt."

legalschnauzer said...

Here is a GoFundMe page for Jesse Phinney:


Anonymous said...

I agree it looks like a suspicious death and the link to Trump is irrestible. However I noted that IMDB listed Phinney as cameraman only on one season of the Apprentice in 2004, and in the sole season of The Apprentice Martha Stewart in 2005. Of course, in his life, Trump has worked with and met literally thousands of persons, some of whom, statistically speaking, would be pedophiles. Another pedophile, suspicious death, connection to Trump. I am one of the first to jump on the Dump Trump Bandwagon, but......this link to Trump is just a bit tenuous. I do hope the mainstream media pick up on this story and run it to ground. It's a tempting morsel, but not yet a full-fledged connection.

legalschnauzer said...

@6:29 --

You raise good points, and I'm wondering if these "production sites" tend to provide information that is a bit off target or incomplete. Here is a site that lists the following for Phinney, along with a whole bunch of other shows. The guy apparently stayed busy.

The Apprentice • Camera Operator
TV Series (2004 - 2009) Seasons 3, 5, 6, and 8


legalschnauzer said...

The police unit responsible for Phinney's incarceration has been under investigation. Not sure of the outcome:

Dr Elizabeth Laposata, from Rhode Island, said her autopsy found evidence of blunt force trauma and other marks on Jesse’s body that suggested he did not take his own life.

The police said they found him hanging in his cell after he had been arrested under suspicion of human trafficking and child abuse on December 5 last year.

However, shortly after his death, a friend of Jesse contacted PLN to dispute this account. They said that, for one thing, he never wore a belt. They also clarified that the minors he was accused of photographing in his Talisay City home were the children of his girlfriend, to whom he was a father figure.

Today, the Sun Star Cebu contacted Patricio Bernales, the director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) unit involved in Jesse’s arrest, for comment.

In a text message reply to the newspaper, he refused to elaborate on the case, saying: “Sorry. Can’t comment. We are under probe. Hope you understand.”