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.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. MarkedMan says:

    Donald Trump biographer Tim O’Brien on Saturday took note on Twitter of an old quote from the president about his one-time pal Jeffrey Epstein, whom he called a “terrific guy” and “fun.”

    It’s “even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side,” Trump told New York Magazine in 2002 for a profile on Epstein

  2. michael reynolds says:

    I hope the pig squeals and gives up all his co-conspirators.

  3. Slugger says:

    I realize that abstract ideals of Justice are hard to achieve on this earth, but I certainly want every crime committed by anyone to receive appropriate sanctions regardless of the position and power of the wrongdoers. A case can be made that we should look extra hard at people who have high positions. In this vein, I would like to see a scrupulous investigation into the plea bargain that Epstein got initially. We need to know that “the ladder of law has no top and no bottom.”

  4. SenyorDave says:

    Hopefully someone will look into Trump Model Management. Lots of rumors about it being used as a source for attractive escorts.

  5. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds: Oh, he will if he thinks it will result in a reduced sentence.

  6. CSK says:

    @SenyorDave: Apparently Epstein wanted to set up a model agency like Trump’s.

  7. Teve says:

    Thanks to Julie Brown and the Miami herald, this might be the end of some rich and powerful degenerates.

  8. SenyorDave says:

    @CSK: Oh, he will if he thinks it will result in a reduced sentence.
    One good thing is that not even Trump would attempt to pardon Epstein. Even some of his cultists might get a little uneasy if he were to pardon a pedophile (although I realize that Alabama white voters would have happily elected Roy Moore as their senator).
    I keep thinking that Tom Steyer the billionaire who is pumping tens of millions into the impeach Trump movement might consider hiring a few dozen private investigators to look into the Epstein/ Trump relationship and the Trump Modeling agency.

  9. Gustopher says:


    Also, I hope we get enough details that it also shuts down the craziest conspiracy theories, and that I never see any of those details. If Trump, Clinton or whoever was involved, I hope they go to jail.

  10. Andy says:

    There are a lot of crimes where I can have some amount of empathy for the criminal due to circumstances, background or whatever.

    Child molestation is not one of those crimes. The thought of it makes me want to break out the Old Testament and Quaranic punishments for them.

  11. Grumpy realist says:

    It’s people like Acosta that make me want to bring back the traditional medieval punishments for corrupt judges.

  12. Teve says:

    @Grumpy realist:

    traditional medieval punishments for corrupt judges.

    do tell. (Since Google isn’t being helpful)

  13. @Grumpy realist:

    What evidence is there that Acosta did anything wrong? The plea deal in question was approved by a Federal District Court Judge.

  14. SenyorDave says:

    @Doug Mataconis: This is from the Daily Beast, 2/21/19:

    Federal prosecutors in Florida—including President Trump’s current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta—broke the law when they signed a secret plea agreement with billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a Palm Beach judge ruled Thursday.

    U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra ruled that the decision to keep more than 30 of Epstein’s accusers in the dark about the non-prosecution deal that allowed Epstein, a prominent financier with political connections, to avoid federal prosecution was unconstitutional.

    By signing the deal, Marra ruled, Acosta and other DOJ lawyers violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), which guarantees victims the right to speak with prosecutors.

    Sounds like the judge is saying that the deal itself wasn’t the issue, it was the failure to keep the victims informed that is the problem.

    Seems like a lot of parties just wanted the case to go away as quietly as possible.

  15. grumpy realist says:

    @Teve: getting skinned alive. Pictures often kept in judges’ chambers… a warning.

  16. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist: heavens to Betsy.

  17. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist: I just found The Judgement of Cambyses and the Flaying of Sisamnes by Gerard David. Bleh.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @Teve: Yah one reason why I should never run for POTUS because I have some definitely non-acceptable opinions. But corrupt judges and prosecutors who allow rich people (or kids with “affluenza” to avoid the heavy hand of the law really piss me off.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    It would be interesting if this happened earlier in Trumps term. That way, if Epstein was convicted we would know Trump’s culpability by when he pardoned him. If right away such that Epstein never went to jail, it would indicate there was evidence of Trump’s involvement in Epstein’s crimes. But Given that he probably won’t even have gone to trial by the time the election comes around, when Trump pardons him we will never know if it was simple bribery or actual involvement.

  20. Ken_L says:

    A lot of Trump cultists are absolutely convinced this means Bill Clinton is going to jail. As evidence, they cite flight logs showing Clinton visited Epstein’s island 26 times. When you point out the simple truth that the logs show no such thing – in fact they show Clinton flying to various destinations nowhere near the island, a fact confirmed in Fox News reports – they simply deny the evidence of their own eyes.

    It’s a stunning demonstration of the extent to which they will believe defamatory propaganda spread online even if it’s disproved by hard primary evidence. We live in troubling times.

  21. mattbernius says:

    Based on the unsealed indictment, I think that people’s expectations about the bombshell nature of this case are not going to be met.

    This twitter thread from Andrew Fleischman lays out some of the challenges facing federal prosecutors:

  22. Tyrell says:

    One question is where were these girls’ parents? These girls were not old enough to be roaming around unsupervised. How did they get to this man’s place?
    I don’t look for Congress to start up a big Mueller style investigation.
    You can bet that there is a lot of whispering going on in the restrooms and broom closets in the Senate and House office buildings.