Jeffrey Epstein Charged With Multiple Counts Of Sex With Minors And Sex Trafficking

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was formally charged with multiple counts of procuring underage girls for sexual molestation.

As I noted over the weekend, Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire investor who has long ties to people of influence in politics and business and has been previously credibly accused of multiple counts of child sexual abuse, was arrested in connection with charges of sex trafficking that were previously abandoned when he was charged a decade ago. Today, those charges were unveiled as a previously sealed indictment was issued on the same day as his first appearance before a Federal Judge:

Federal prosecutors on Monday unsealed new sex trafficking charges against Jeffrey Epstein, alleging the politically connected multimillionaire abused dozens of female minors at his Manhattan and Palm Beach, Fla., homes and enlisted his victims to expand a network of possible targets.

Epstein — who was arrested over the weekend and is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan — had previously pleaded guilty to Florida state charges of soliciting prostitution to resolve allegations he molested dozens of girls. That arrangement has been widely criticized as too lenient. As part of the deal, he had to spend just more than a year in jail and was allowed to leave daily for work, and he never faced any federal exposure.

The new charges, described in an explosive 14-page indictment brought by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, could lead to a much harsher penalty. Epstein is charged in a two-count indictment with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, for crimes alleged to have occurred between 2002 and 2005.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said at a news conference that Epstein, now 66, faces the possibility of 45 years in prison and that prosecutors will seek to have him detained pending trial. The Justice Department is also seeking to seize Epstein’s mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where some of the alleged crimes occurred.

Prosecutors wrote in a court filing Monday seeking to keep Epstein behind bars that in a search of Epstein’s home this weekend, investigators “recovered hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of sexually suggestive photographs of fully- or partially- nude females,” some of which appear to be of underage girls. Some of the photographs were found in a locked safe on CDs with handwritten labels such as “Misc nudes 1” and “Girl pics nude,” prosecutors wrote.

“The alleged behavior shocks the conscience,” Berman said, calling the victims “particularly vulnerable.”

In court filings and in public statements, law enforcement officials described Epstein as a man of incredible wealth who was able to pay his victims, some as young as 14 years old, to find him others to abuse. Authorities said he was willing to go to great lengths to cover up his behavior and had “practically limitless” avenues to flee and escape justice.

In his previous case, prosecutors wrote, Epstein’s attorneys contemplated having him plead guilty to an obstruction or witness tampering offense, and mentioned to prosecutors an incident in which Epstein apparently hired a private investigator to follow the father of someone involved in the case and force him off the road. They alleged Epstein was hardly a changed man.

“The defendant, a registered sex offender, is not reformed, he is not chastened, he is not repentant; rather, he is a continuing danger to the community and an individual who faces devastating evidence supporting deeply serious charges,” prosecutors wrote.

According to the new indictment, Epstein recruited young girls to perform “massages,” which would become “increasingly sexual in nature.” He then paid the victims hundreds of dollars in cash for each encounter, according to the indictment.

The indictment also alleges that Epstein “actively encouraged certain of his victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly sexually abused” and that he “incentivized his victims to become recruiters by paying these victim-recruiters hundreds of dollars for each girl they brought to Epstein.”

“This allowed Epstein to create an ever-expanding web of new victims,” Berman said.

(…)

His alleged victims have long claimed the criminal justice system treated him differently because of his wealth and political connections, and his treatment has come under significant media and legal scrutiny.

Epstein’s alleged victims have sued in civil court. The Washington Post and the Miami Herald, for example, have detailed in investigative reports how then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, now Trump’s labor secretary, shelved a 53-page federal indictment that could have put Epstein behind bars for life in favor of the deal that allowed him to plead guilty only to state charges.

Acosta has defended the arrangement as guaranteeing that Epstein would go to jail. In the wake of the charges being unsealed Monday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), renewed her calls for Acosta to resign.

“The new sex trafficking charges announced today make it agonizingly clear that former U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta failed to deliver true justice for the underage girls that Jeffrey Epstein mercilessly exploited,” she said. “Someone with such poor judgment and utter disregard for survivors should not be our Secretary of Labor . . . As Epstein now faces a real accounting for his crimes, it’s time for Acosta to be held responsible for letting Epstein elude real justice for so long.”

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility revealed earlier this year that it was probing whether the attorneys handling the case previously committed “professional misconduct.” At the news conference, law enforcement officials credited the work of investigative journalists with helping move the case forward.

(…)

Prosecutors described in graphic detail Epstein’s alleged crimes, explaining in the indictment how girls as young as 14 would arrive to one of his homes, be escorted to a room with a massage table, and then be instructed to partially or fully undress. Epstein, the indictment alleges, would grope the girls and perform other sex acts.

Epstein sometimes scheduled meetings himself, but often he “directed employees and associates . . . to arrange for these victims to return to the New York Residence for additional sexual encounters with Epstein,” according to the indictment, which says three employees, identified only as Employee-1, Employee-2 and Employee-3, helped arrange the encounters.

When Epstein flew from New York to Florida, an employee or associate would “ensure that minor victims were available for encounters upon his arrival,” the indictment alleges.

It was not immediately clear whether any of those employees will face criminal charges over their alleged conduct, because Epstein’s previous plea deal struck with federal prosecutors in Florida said his co-conspirators would not be charged in that case. The New York indictment references Epstein’s conduct in Florida that was the basis of that earlier plea, but the new indictment appears to hinge principally on his alleged victims in New York. Berman declined to comment on possible criminal exposure anyone connected to Epstein might face.

Prosecutors could run into challenges if the new charges overlap with the conduct that was covered by Epstein’s guilty plea, though a person familiar with the case said officials were not particularly concerned about that. Berman said at the news conference that his office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, had not signed on to the previous agreement by prosecutors in Florida and thus was not bound by it.

The New York Times has more, including the news that Federal authorities had discovered what amounts to child pornography when they searched Epstein’s properties, suggesting that the indictment will likely be expanded as the seized evidence is examined by investigators:

Investigators seized nude photographs of underage girls from the Manhattan townhouse of Jeffrey Epstein as part of a new investigation into allegations he exploited dozens of minors for sex, prosecutors revealed on Monday.

That detail was mentioned by federal prosecutors on Monday as they unsealed an indictment charging Mr. Epstein with sex trafficking and made an appeal to other women who may have been abused by him to come forward.

“They deserve their day in court and we are proud to stand up for them by bringing this indictment,” the United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, said.

Mr. Epstein, 66, is accused of engaging in sex acts with dozens of vulnerable minors, some as young as 14, during naked massage sessions, then paying them hundreds of dollars in cash. He also asked some of the girls to recruit other underage girls, the indictment said.

“In this way, Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit in locations including New York and Palm Beach,” the indictment said.

Mr. Berman’s decision to seek an indictment in Manhattan was an implicit rebuke to the decision by prosecutors in Miami in 2008 to enter an agreement with Mr. Epstein that allowed him to avoid federal prosecution and a possible life sentence.

Under that deal, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges and spent about a year in a Palm Beach jail. He was permitted to leave the facility six days a week to work.

Mr. Berman made it clear his office was not bound by the agreement, which was overseen by Alexander Acosta, then the United States attorney in Miami who is now President Trump’s secretary of labor.

“That agreement, by its terms, only binds the Southern District of Florida,” Mr. Berman said.

The agreement has been examined in a series of reports in The Miami Herald and is being challenged in court. A federal judge ruled earlier this year Mr. Epstein’s accusers should have been consulted about the deal before it was signed.

As I said in the previous post, there really isn’t much to say about these new charges against Epstein that isn’t set forth in the indictment itself. The man is clearly a serial pedophile who used his vast wealth to procure young girls for sexual purposes, to buy the silence of employees and others who were aware of what was going on, and to shield himself from liability. There are also allegations, albeit unproven, that he used his private island in the Virgin Islands, which some news outlets have dubbed “Lolita Island” to lure young girls to locations where they could be molested. And, of course, it is alleged that his wealth and his connection played a significant role in the sweetheart plea deal in Florida a decade ago that allowed him to avoid jail time, or indeed any real punishment, for the crimes he was charged with in that case. Authorities are now in the process of trying to void that agreement on the ground that it did not comply with laws requiring the victims of crimes to be made aware of plea agreements regarding the people they have accused. As noted, the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are already taking the position that they are not bound by the terms of that agreement even if it does remain in effect.

The one issue not addressed by the indictment is the question of whether or not Epstein may have procured minors for other people. As I noted in my post yesterday, there have long been allegations that Epstein may have procured such victims for people close to him, and some people have alleged, without evidence that this included people such as former President Clinton, President Trump, and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. It should be noted that there is no evidence that any of these men, or indeed anyone that Epstein is known to have been associated with tangentially over the years were ever involved in such things. However, the fact that sex trafficking is among the charges that are pending against him suggests that Epstein may have been involved in procuring victims for other men. Presumably, such persons would be charged in the future.

In any case, the Judge who presided over today’s hearing denied Epstein’s request for bail, which isn’t surprising given the ease with which he could abscond from the jurisdiction. This means that he will most likely remain in jail while the case advances to trial, which at least means he won’t have he ability to inflict pain on any more victims.

Here’s the indictment:

U.S. v. Jeffrey Epstein Ind… by on Scribd

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    there is no evidence that any of these men, or indeed anyone that Epstein is known to have been associated with tangentially over the years were ever involved in such things.

    Oh, sure there is, albeit circumstantial. This isn’t some secret hobby for this POS, this is a lifestyle, and people who spent a lot of time with him knew about it and either participated or looked the other way. This goes well beyond guilt-by-association. It’s like people who spent time at the Playboy Mansion being shocked at allegations of nudity.

    I don’t know how much time Bill Clinton or Donald Trump spent actually hanging around with Epstein versus just accepting his largesse (bribes) but I wouldn’t bet on Dershowitz’s innocence – the man penned a letter trying to deny the Miami reporter a Pulitzer. My Spidey sense says he’s in it up to his eyeballs.

    What a megillah for Barr, eh? How to get Epstein to trash Clinton but not mention Trump?

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  2. @michael reynolds:

    If there are cases to be made against others, one suspects Epstein will try to use it as leverage in any potential plea negotiations. As it stands, the case against him seems airtight. Heck,if the child porn allegations are accurately reported those charges alone could guarantee that he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison.

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  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    President Donald Trump is an associate of at least 5 known pedophiles.
    Epstein, Casablancas, Arif, Nader, Cohn
    How many is too many? I’d say even one is too many.
    Be honest…how many pedophiles are you personally associated with?
    What other person would command the Republicans, and Christian Evangelicals, to look the other way. And why are they acquiescing?

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  4. michael reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Put another way, if I was at some guy’s house and I saw teen-age girls who were not daughters I’d be out the door in about three seconds and on the phone to cops a minute later. I think that’d be the reaction of most decent human beings.

    Evangelicals only care about unborn children, once they’re born you can bomb them, starve them, tear them out of their mother’s arms and stick them in a cage, deny them medical care and if they’re gay you’re fine with governments that hang them.

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  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Donald Trump, 2002
    “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

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  6. inhumans99 says:

    @michael reynolds:
    What a megillah for Barr, eh? How to get Epstein to trash Clinton but not mention Trump?

    I think that President Trump and those around him might be smart enough to go dark and not bother mentioning anything about this story. It is one thing for him to tweet look folks Mueller found no direct proof that I conspired with Russia even though everyone around him who did went down in flames to going on national TV or tweeting look…no proof was found that I had anything to do with Epstein procuring young kids for the pleasure of rich folks.

    Good lord…no one in the GOP wants the President to vocalize (in print or otherwise) such a reply. Yuck, this story has the potential to be quite sordid and I think our President wants to get re-elected more than he wants to say to his detractors…hah, no proof, fake news, I had nothing to do with Epstein, take that you haters, MAGA!!!

    Brad Parscale now wields a lot of influence with President Trump seeing as how he is primarily responsible for getting him re-elected so I would bet Brad tries to not have President Trump placed in a setting where he would say something that might plant a seed in even his most zealous supporters heads that maybe there is something to this story that Trump used Epstein’s services in the past.

    I get that I am pointing out to you that water is wet Michael, but I really do believe that President Trump will listen to certain folks who advise him to not try and get ahead of the story or anything like that and just refrain from the urge to tweet anything about the story (especially stuff like I know Epstein, great guy, no way this is true, or something like that, this story has the potential to credibly link a sitting U.S. President to a convicted pedophile, no one in the GOP wants to open that can of worms anymore than the lid has already been cracked open).

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  7. grumpy realist says:

    Fiat justicia, ruat coelum. I don’t care who gets roped into this. If there’s evidence against Bill Clinton, go after him. If there’s evidence against Trump, go after him. Tear the whole disgusting conspiracy apart, bring it out to light, and make sure that the rich and famous know that there is nowhere to hide from the law and from prosecution of crimes.

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  8. Kylopod says:

    people such as former President Clinton, President Trump

    Slick Willy and Lil Willy?

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  9. michael reynolds says:

    @inhumans99:
    Many people have tried to get Trump to STFU for his own good, but I doubt he’ll manage it. To a psychopath all those voices of reason just sound like challenges or defiance. Trump can’t believe he’s gotten away with lying this far and taking this many risks, he enjoys taking risks because he never seems to get caught. My bet is he won’t shut up. My bet is also that if Epstein produces photos of Trump fondling a 12 year-old his base will stick with him – cult members have long-since abandoned any notion of morality.

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  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    And why is Acosta, who essentially gave Epstein a pass on the initial charges, still Labor Secretary?

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  11. inhumans99 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Okay, lets say you are correct, that his base would not abandon him, the problem is that as you have been pointing out since practically day 1 of President Trump’s time on the job he has not grown his base. The folks who got him elected and will get him re-elected are the very same folks who prevented Clinton from becoming our next President (President Trump can care less about Guarneri, James P, Bandit, John430 or whatever, as they are already in the bag, sorry James P, you know this to be true).

    The only thing that might give these folks pause would be thoughts running around their heads of the President in a room alone with a young boy/girl while security stands guard outside.

    Otherwise, despite their claims that they are now willing to reconsider voting for a Democrat now that Trump has turned out to be such a vile person, they will say one thing and go ahead and mark Donald Trump (incumbent) on the ballot no matter how much noise they make that Elizabeth Warren sounds like she would be a good President. I know this to be true, so yeah…maybe Tucker Carlson, or whomever will tell him to STFU and it just might stick.

    Tucker basically blanched that we were about to go to war with Iran over a downed drone and advised the President to think twice before dropping bombs so maybe if Tucker and his friends tell the President to not do anything that might accidentally plant seeds of doubt in the minds of Obama voters who crossed the aisle to vote for a Republican in 2016 he really will listen to reason. It could happen.

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  12. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Be honest…how many pedophiles are you personally associated with?

    Probably more than I know. Here’s to hoping they don’t act on it.

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  13. SKI says:

    As I noted in my post yesterday, there have long been allegations that Epstein may have procured such victims for people close to him, and some people have alleged, without evidence that this included people such as former President Clinton, President Trump, and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. It should be noted that there is no evidence that any of these men, or indeed anyone that Epstein is known to have been associated with tangentially over the years were ever involved in such things.

    Well, actually… there was a lawsuit with sworn declarations, including corroborating witnesses, that Donald Trump raped a 13-year-old girl at Epstein’s Manhattan home in 1994.

    A copy of the Complaint. It was filed in 2016 and withdrawn (not dismissed) by the “Jane Doe” based on claims of threats and fear. The Complaint and the supporting declarations echo whjat we have learned from the Miami Herald reporting and the Grand Jury indictment.

    I do not know if it is true or not but it absolutely evidence.

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  14. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    make sure that the rich and famous know that there is nowhere to hide from the law and from prosecution of crimes

    I don’t think one case, out of how many potential cases, will do that.

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  15. mattbernius says:

    This morning, after the initial indictment was unsealed, most of the defense attorneys I followed on Twitter cautioned that, to Doug’s point, there wasn’t much new in the indictment and that for a variety of reasons the case didn’t on paper seem as strong as some people were making it out to be.

    The they dropped that argument against bail and the information about the discovery of the pictures. That really does seem to have changed the game.

    Ken White also notes that it’s going to bring increased attention on the the sketchy way that the plea agreement was written that seems to make ambiguous whether or not it prevented prosecution by other jurisdictions. White characterized that apparent intentional ambiguity as appearing rather “skeezy” (which is something coming from a Federal Defense attorney).

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  16. michael reynolds says:

    @inhumans99:
    The thing is I think Trump believes all he needs is his base. I think he’s wrong unless a lot of people are consistently lying to pollsters, but Trump is delusional so God knows what’s sloshing around in the runny oatmeal he calls a brain.

    Trump’s already been credibly accused of being a sexual predator and in their hearts his culties know he’s guilty, but they are happier living in denial. Cult members don’t process data the way a healthy mind might. Trump is a religious not a political figure to these people, he’s Jesus or Mohammed, and how often do Christians or Muslims listen to criticisms of their god figure?

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  17. Scott F. says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Heck, if the child porn allegations are accurately reported those charges alone could guarantee that he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison.

    I’ll believe it when I see it. We have two criminal justice systems in this country and if you’re rich enough to own an island in the Caribbean and know enough powerful people, you get the criminal justice afforded to such “important” people, not the justice that goes to the typical pedophile. (See Epstein’s previous plea bargain.)

    We have a President who is above the law, so I have no faith Epstein will pay for these vile acts.

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  18. Monala says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: the MAGA talking point is that Trump was saying that to throw shade and criticize Epstein. Same ways as the Trumpers say that “They let you grab them by the p*ssy” was Trump criticizing female groupies, as opposed to admitting something he’d done.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Be honest…how many pedophiles are you personally associated with?

    None… That I know of.

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  20. Tyrell says:

    @Scott F.: Some reports indicate that this Epstein knows a lot of people in many high places – a “mover and shaker”. A lot of names have been thrown around. I would imagine that a lot of people in Washington are very nervous right now.
    All these underage girls – just how did he get to them? Were they kidnapped? Runaways? Where were the parents? The parents should be held accountable also. Fourteen years old? Unbelievable.
    The police need to bring in everyone who was involved in this; anyone in the “chain of command” who knew or helped this criminal. He could not have done all this in secrecy and alone.
    Lock them up and throw the key away.

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  21. Hal_10000 says:

    It tells you a lot about this country that consenting adult prostitutes, their clients and their friends are arrested every day on garbage claims of “sex trafficking” (see, e.g., the Robert Kraft bust). But when a man like Epstein is actually engaging in sex trafficking, the establishment rushes to protect him.

    Hope he burns. And everyone associated with him, Republican or Democrat.

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  22. grumpy realist says:

    Interesting article over at Balloon Juice showing how disinformation about the Epstein and Trump relationship gets manufactured and then thrown out into the blogosphere to get bounced around and added on to by places like RT and Zerohedge before getting sucked up by Facebook and Twitter.

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  23. SenyorDave says:

    @grumpy realist: Interesting and depressing. I’m expecting to see soon that the MSM and the CW (conventional wisdom) is that Trump had Epstein kicked out of his country club, when in fact there is no evidence to show that really happened.
    Is there evidence Trump was involved? No, but it would seem to fit his profile. Four women talked about how Trump walked around backstage during the Miss Teen USA while girls as young as 15 were changing. Three were anonymously quoted but a fourth went on record.

    From the story:
    Four women who competed in the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant said Donald Trump walked into the dressing room while contestants — some as young as 15 — were changing.
    I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here,’” said Mariah Billado, the former Miss Vermont Teen USA.

    People need to be reminded that Trump is on record to admitting that he sexually assaults women. Is it a stretch to believe that he also likes them young?

    He’s a degenerate.

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  24. Modulo Myself says:

    As far as I can tell, Epstein made his money blackmailing people. That’s it. No trace exists of his actual financial operation. He doesn’t even seem to have employees, other than the ones who were kidnapping girls.

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  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    Tiny will pardon him.

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  26. MarkedMan says:

    @SenyorDave:

    Is there evidence Trump was involved? No,

    How soon they forget. There was a civil lawsuit against Trump that he raped a 14 year old at Epstein’s house. It was suspended when he became president. There is actually a lot of evidence that Trump was part of Epstein’s house of horrors.

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  27. rachel says:

    @Tyrell:

    Lock them up and throw the key away.

    Every last Goddam one of them.

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  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Is it a stretch to believe that he also likes them young?

    Not when you remember that there’s a story out there that Ivanka asked him to promise that he wouldn’t date anyone her age when he was divorcing her mom–in 1992, when she was 11.

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  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So, apologies in advance, but I want to do a quick little THREAD to explain my theory of what the Epstein story really is. I promise this isn’t some crazy Pizzagate conspiracy about space lizards, just a neat little explanation that IMO perfectly fits the known facts (0/13):

    Because it would be irresponsible to not speculate.

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  30. Barry says:

    @inhumans99: “What a megillah for Barr, eh? How to get Epstein to trash Clinton but not mention Trump?”

    From other stories, the NYPD is involved, which brings in state charges. Crushing federal charges would be easy for Barr; Trump could always pardon him, with the full support of his base (remember, the child molestation cover-ups are a right-wing religious thing).

    But state charges are a b-eye-rhymes with witch, and Epstein wouldn’t find spending the rest of his life in a NY state prison any more pleasant than a federal prison.

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  31. Barry says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “And why is Acosta, who essentially gave Epstein a pass on the initial charges, still Labor Secretary?”

    1) Trump likes him, most likely.
    2) To Trump and *every* GOP official and politician, sex trafficking in minors is a legitimate business (see DeVos and the child stealing, and the general right-wing religious view of rape of children).
    3) To Trump and *every* GOP official and politician, rich people being above the law is moral principle #1.

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  32. Barry says:

    @Tyrell: “The police need to bring in everyone who was involved in this; anyone in the “chain of command” who knew or helped this criminal. He could not have done all this in secrecy and alone.”

    I would imagine that right now, a large number of procurers and people who were watching this stuff are sitting in small rooms with prosecutors explaining the situation to them, and defense attorneys saying ‘take the deal’.

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  33. SenyorDave says:

    @MarkedMan: There was a civil lawsuit against Trump that he raped a 14 year old at Epstein’s house.
    I loathe Trump, but my understanding is that this was an accusation and the complainant filed a lawsuit against Trump in CA, then refiled in NY, and then dropped the lawsuit in Nov, 2016. The lawsuit does also name Epstein so maybe there is something there, but anyone can file a lawsuit. If there is something there, hopefully the lawsuit can be refiled. The site I read from stated that the woman filed the suit herself, so maybe she can get some representation.

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