Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein Charged With Sex Trafficking Of Minors
Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire investor previously charged with sex crimes involving minors, has been charged with sex trafficking involving minors.
Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire investor who has been linked to a long history of sex crimes toward minors and who has connections to some of the most powerful and well-known people in the world, has been charged with sex trafficking involving minors ad taken into custody:
Jeffrey E. Epstein, a billionaire New York financier long accused of molesting dozens of girls, was arrested on Saturday and charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors, an extraordinary turn of events in a long and sordid criminal case.
Two people with knowledge of the charges said on Saturday night that Mr. Epstein had been arrested in the New York area and was in federal custody.
He is expected to appear before a federal magistrate on Monday, more than a decade after he first gained notoriety with lurid accusations that he had paid dozens of girls for sexual massages in Florida.
Mr. Epstein, 66, had avoided federal criminal charges in 2007 and 2008 in a widely criticized plea deal whose lenient terms continue to roil the Justice Department and are facing new scrutiny in the #MeToo era.
Before the plea deal, Mr. Epstein, a former hedge-fund manager, had been friendly with Donald J. Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
He pleaded guilty to lesser state charges of soliciting prostitution, served 13 months in a county lockup and registered as a sex offender. His jail arrangement allowed him to get out of the Palm Beach County Stockade six days a week to work out of his office.
The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, which brought the charges against Mr. Epstein, declined to comment on Saturday night.
CBS Miami reported that Mr. Epstein was arrested late Saturday afternoon at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after his private jet landed there from Paris. He was taken into custody by federal agents.
The television station said Mr. Epstein was arrested under a sealed federal indictment and charged with one count of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
Defense lawyers for Mr. Epstein could not immediately be reached for comment.
Women who said they were Mr. Epstein’s victims have repeatedly assailed federal prosecutors for agreeing to a nonprosecution deal with him more than a decade ago.
Jack Scarola, a lawyer for two of the women, said he had not been informed of the arrest.
“But given his extensive pattern of past criminal conduct and the apparent addictive nature of his aberrant behavior, an arrest comes as no surprise,” Mr. Scarola said on Saturday night.
The new charges against Mr. Epstein were first reported on Saturday night by The Daily Beast.
In the Florida investigation, the authorities found that Mr. Epstein paid cash to dozens of girls, some of them as young as 14 or 15, to give him nude massages that often ended in masturbation, oral sex or, in at least one case, rape.
Some of the girls were runaways or foster children; Mr. Epstein would ask some girls to recruit others to bring to his properties. The encounters took place from 1999 to 2005.
According to court records, in a 2007 interview with the F.B.I., one girl shared that at age 15 she began visiting Mr. Epstein and gave him massages — both in her underwear and then nude — for $200 each.
Over time, the encounters became increasingly sexual. Mr. Epstein also got the girl to bring other girls who worked with her at a local strip club.
The plea deal that protected Mr. Epstein from federal charges was signed by the top federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, Alexander Acosta, who is now President Trump’s labor secretary.
While Epstein and the charges against him have not been prominent in the national news, his name has been circulating for a number of years now, in part due to the fact that he has been linked to some of the world’s most powerful people. As noted above, this includes President Trump, former President Clinton, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York who is also the son of Queen Elizabeth II and brother of Prince Charles and other prominent members of the media and academia, including Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz who has vehemently denied any connection to criminal activity. There have also been conspiracy theories involving Epstein and individuals such as these and allegations about child abuse rings and other scandals that have the ring of being unsubstantiated conspiracy theories not unlike the so-called “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that has been prominent among far-right wing groups for years now. It is important to note, though, that there is no evidence to support these conspiracy theories and no evidence that any of the individuals that have been linked to Epstein on what is likely a casual basis have been involved in criminal activity of any kind.
One area where this case could end up having national implications, though, are the issues surrounding current Trump Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who was United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida during the time that Epstein was charged with interstate and international sex crimes involving minors. As the aforementioned multi-part investigation by The Miami Herald uncovered, it was Acosta and his office that negotiated what seems by all accounts to have been an incredibly lenient plea deal with Epstein that not only ignored the wishes of his accusers but which was apparently negotiated without their involvement in the process in apparent violation of recommended Justice Department procedures. It has been alleged that Epstein was able to capitalize on his links to the rich and powerful to get the favorable treatment that he received.
As is always the case, of course, Epstein is innocent until proven guilty. However, if he is convicted one gathers that he won’t be treated as good as he was thirteen years ago in Miami.