Mr. Gates started the relationship after Mr. Epstein was convicted of sex crimes.
Mr. Gates and the $51 billion Gates Foundation have championed the well-being of young girls. By the time Mr. Gates and Mr. Epstein first met, Mr. Epstein had served jail time for soliciting prostitution from a minor and was required to register as a sex offender.
Mr. Epstein told his guests that if they searched his name on the internet they might conclude he was a bad person but that what he had done — soliciting prostitution from an underage girl — was no worse than “stealing a bagel,” two of the people said.
In March 2013, Mr. Gates flew on Mr. Epstein’s Gulfstream plane from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Fla.