Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier who in 2008 evaded any meaningful jail time over sex trafficking charges by reaching a private plea deal with federal prosecutors, was arrested over the weekend on similar charges, and now faces up to 45 years in prison. According to the AP, Epstein is scheduled to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Monday.
Epstein is known for the high-profile company he has kept throughout his career, including Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Prince Andrew. In the early 2000s, Epstein hired Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr to represent him while he was investigated for sex-trafficking allegations involving his Palm Beach home. The outcome of that investigation led to his cushy 2008 plea deal, which was orchestrated by prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, now Trump’s Secretary of Labor.
Epstein was arrested on Saturday at the Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after arriving from Paris on a private flight, per the Daily Beast. His neighbor also took a photograph of nearly 10 FBI agents and NYPD officers crowding around the stately doors to his supposedly palatial Upper East Side home on Saturday, as one FBI agent pried open the doors with a crow bar, according to the New York Times.
Epstein is charged with bringing in dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14 years old, to his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach and sexually assaulting them. More details will reportedly be revealed at his indictment, but one source told the AP that Epstein is charged with bringing in the girls to give Epstein massages (for which he paid in cash) and molesting them.
The details of the investigation in Epstein’s 2008 case are startling (here’s the Times’ description):
Mr. Epstein had earlier been accused of maintaining a similar arrangement at his mansion in Palm Beach, after the parents of one of Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims approached the police there in 2005. That case ballooned rapidly, according to documents reviewed by the Miami Herald: Officials soon identified at least 36 potential victims.
In all, investigators found abuse dating back to 2001, with victims as young as 13. A subsequent investigation by the Herald identified more than 60 victims, and witnesses have testified in later civil cases that the number may have reached into the hundreds.
In February, a federal judge ruled that Acosta’s team broke the law by not informing Epstein’s victims of his plea deal. In the end, Epstein served a little over a year in jail, with the ability to leave and work out of his own office six days a week.
Update, 11:44 a.m.: Federal prosecutors unsealed a 14-page indictment against Jeffrey Epstein in Manhattan federal court on Monday. Epstein has been charged with one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking conspiracy. The indictment details how Epstein lured young girls who were “particularly vulnerable to exploitation” to his Manhattan and Palm Beach residences, under the guise of providing “massages” which, the indictment says, typically escalated into sex acts. For this, he paid the alleged victims “hundreds of dollars” in cash.
These girls were as young as 14 years old, according to the indictment. Epstein instructed some of his victims to recruit other young girls into this scheme, prosecutors say. Epstein also allegedly involved some of his employees in scheduling when his victims would come to the house:
In other instances, EPSTEIN directed employees and associates, including a New York-based employee (“Employee-1"), to communicate with victims via phone to arrange for these victims to return to the New York residence for additional sexual encounters with EPSTEIN.
This employee sometimes also arranged for “a specific minor girl” to come to Epstein’s house.
Read the full indictment below:
Update, 12:30 p.m.: The New York Times is reporting that nude photographs of underage girls were seized by investigators in Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan home.