Long before pedophile and financier Jeffrey Epstein’s July 2019 arrest and subsequent suicide, the flight logs from his plane, reportedly nicknamed the Lolita Express, seemed to show that his crimes might be more far-reaching than previously imaginable. Later on, when Prince Andrew was downplaying his own involvement in the scandal, flight logs acquired by investigators and journalists implied that the prince had spent more time with Epstein and his alleged coconspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, than he was admitting.
Even though the pilots have not spoken out about their time with Epstein, the logs have become some of the main sources of knowledge about exactly what happened with Epstein, Maxwell, and the girls who traveled with them around the world. Over the weekend, The Mirror said it tracked down David Rodgers, one of Epstein’s longtime pilots, at his home in Lake Worth, Florida. When he was approached, his response was succinct: “I can’t talk.”
But a source told the tabloid that Rodgers has cooperated with multiple investigations into Epstein. “David has complied with the FBI and others investigating those who enabled Jeffrey’s offending,” the source said. “He was trusted with his most prized and high-profile friends, not only the prince, but Bill Clinton too. He is adamant he didn’t see any wrongdoing as he flew Epstein, his cronies, and the girls around.”
A 2016 deposition from Rodgers was one of the first to lay out evidence that Andrew was with Epstein more frequently than was originally understood. In July 2019, in the weeks between Epstein’s arrest and his suicide at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, The New York Times reported that the FBI was acquiring flight logs from Rodgers and Larry Visoski, another one of Epstein’s longtime pilots. According to The Mirror, Rodgers’s logs show that Andrew spent time in all four places where Epstein had homes: New York, New Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Florida.
Along with a much-discussed photograph, the logs are major pieces of contemporaneous evidence that place Andrew in the same location as his accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Giuffre claims that Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew on multiple occasions, though the prince has said he has no recollection of meeting her and denies the allegations. Because of that, the logs have also provided a line of attack for Andrew’s defenders. “David Rodgers’s claims simply don’t stand up to any kind of objective scrutiny,” a friend of Andrew’s told The Mirror. “The duke was elsewhere on numerous occasions that the initials ‘AP’ appear.”
Back in August 2019, Buckingham Palace pointed out to the Daily Mail that some of the times “AP” appeared in the logs would have conflicted with Andrew’s schedule per the Court Circular. Rodgers reportedly used the abbreviation for Andrew as well as Epstein’s designer Alberto Pinto, who died in 2012. He might also have used it for chef Adam Perry Lang. There is a photo from July 2001 showing Andrew undertaking royal duties in Southsea, England, on one of the same days that an “AP” was said to have been on Epstein’s plane; photos like this were used to deflect the criticism he faced in the days after Epstein’s death. But in the nearly 18 months that have followed, other sources have come forward to substantiate different instances of Andrew’s travel with Epstein, including a November 2000 trip to New Mexico and an April 2001 trip to Little St. James.
Lang, who was possibly listed in the flight logs as “AP” on occasion, worked for Epstein in the early 2000s and eventually went on to become a celebrity chef. Though he mentioned in subsequent interviews that he had worked for a billionaire and on a New Mexico ranch, it wasn’t until September 2019, after his name surfaced in unsealed court documents, that he confirmed to Eater that he had in fact been employed by Epstein. In September 2020, Lang and his lawyer told the Daily Beast that he was also cooperating with the federal authorities.
The logs themselves don’t necessarily shed any more light on Giuffre’s allegations against Andrew, Epstein’s crimes, or Maxwell’s upcoming trial on six counts, including both perjury and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. (Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to the charges; her trial is set for July.) But the fact that Rodgers and Lang have cooperated with the FBI is a sign that more clarity could be forthcoming.
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— Cover Story: The Charming Billie Eilish
— Kobe Bryant’s Tragic Flight, One Year Later
— How the PGA Polished Off Donald Trump
— Could the Monarchy “Go Over a Cliff” After Queen Elizabeth Dies?
— 36 Essential Items for Recreating Iconic Billie Eilish Nail Moments
— Inside 2021’s Celebrity-Gossip Renaissance
— What Will Melania Trump’s Legacy Be?
— From the Archive: The Brant Brothers’ Quest to Conquer Manhattan
— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.