Fact check: John Roberts and Bill Clinton are not shown on Epstein’s island

Social media users have shared reports claiming to be the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, and former US President Bill Clinton at Little St. James on the US Virgin Islands, the private Caribbean island that was formerly owned by the late financier. Jeffrey Epstein. This assertion is untrue: the photo shows Clinton on vacation in the Dominican Republic, and there is no evidence that Judge Roberts was on this trip.

Reuters fact check. REUTERS

The posts (here, here, here ) shows a photo of five men in the water of an island, with the man surrounded on the far left. Captions include: “Justice Robert’s picture with Bill Clinton on Epstein’s island”, and “Watch The Water !!! Look Clinton is here too! Lol !!” In some cases, the photo is accompanied by a screenshot of a Facebook message that reads: “Guess who else was on 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 during the ceremony (where the original photo can be seen here).

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

A reverse image search shows the photo in social media posts, albeit for Bill Clinton, but it was taken in January 2017 when Clinton was vacationing in the Casa de Campo resort and swimming at Palmilla Beach in the Dominican Republic , as shown here in a report by the Spanish local news agency, Acento. In his article, Acento says he was given access to some photos of Clinton’s day at the beach, with an accompanying note that says, ‘At Palmilla. Former President Clinton is on vacation. Play golf and enjoy Palmilla with his Dominican friends. ”

Captions on the other photos in the Acento article, as well as reporting by the website Snopes (here), identify some people Clinton was with. Using these images (another here), the other people in the photo shared on social media, from right to left, are 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 here as a Dominican businessman). 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 local media articles and there is no evidence to suggest he was pictured.

The Supreme Court’s public information office did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Reuters photos of Justice Roberts during the inauguration of President Donald Trump, which also took place in January 2017, show that his hair looks grayer and less full than that of the man in the pool in the photo of the Dominican Republic, as shown here and seen here.

Other fact-checkers have dismissed this allegation, here, here, here and here.

Reuters has dismissed other false allegations about certain high-profile people visiting Epstein’s island here, here, here, here.


Untrue. The photo shows Bill Clinton vacationing in the Dominican Republic in 2017. The man on the left does not appear to be Judge Roberts.

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