Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein has been arrested for allegedly sex trafficking minors in Florida and New York from 2002 to 2005.
The 66-year-old registered sex offender faces an indictment in which he will be charged on one count of sex trafficking minors and another for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. He is due to appear in court in New York on Monday and could face up to 45 years in prison. He was taken into custody by the FBI-NYPD Crimes Against Children Task Force on Saturday after landing in New York following an overseas flight.
Epstein’s arrest comes after a New York federal appeals court ordered last week the release of 2,000 pages of judicial documents related to Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell, who are suspected of taking part in an international sex trafficking operation.
His attorney, Martin Weinberg, has so far declined to comment. The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, which brought the charges, also declined to comment.
Epstein is a politically well-connected billionaire who for more than a decade has faced allegations of luring underage girls by hiring them to provide massages and then sexually abusing them dating back to 1999. His alleged victims, some as young as 14, have accused the hedge-funder of using his private jet to transport girls across to such places as his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, a residence in New York City, and his private 72-acre Virgin Islands home, sometimes referred to as “Orgy Island.”
A little more than a decade ago, Epstein reached an agreement with federal prosecutors, including now-Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, in which he pleaded guilty to the charges, served 13 months in prison, became a registered sex offender, and paid restitution to the victims identified in the investigation. By doing this, Epstein avoided a prison sentence of a decade if he had been found guilty at trial.
In November, the Miami Herald issued several reports outlining how the deal was arranged between prosecutors and Epstein’s lawyers, including former independent counsel Ken Starr and Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz. The Miami Herald’s reporting also claimed FBI records indicated Epstein trafficked the women from all over the world for sex parties at his homes in Manhattan and elsewhere.
In February, a federal judge found that the negotiation struck by Acosta infringed upon the rights of the victims in the Epstein case and thus ordered for the records to be unsealed. The deal provided gave federal immunity for the alleged crimes to Epstein and co-conspirators. “Particularly problematic was the Government’s decision to conceal the existence of the [agreement] and mislead the victims to believe that federal prosecution was still a possibility,’’ U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra in Palm Beach said at the time.
Acosta has been criticized for his handling of the prosecution of Epstein. Critics argue the penalty was far too light given the allegations that Epstein was involved in sex trafficking and had abused dozens of women, many underage. He initially faced a 53-page federal indictment for related crimes. The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility announced in February it had launched an investigation into whether Acosta’s actions as U.S. attorney amounted to professional misconduct.
Acosta defended himself by arguing he did not violate the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and that the Justice Department backed his actions.
Two of Epstein’s accusers have accused Dershowitz of participating in or being present for Epstein’s sex ring. Dershowitz, who claims evidence under seal can prove his innocence, reacted to the new charges against Epstein by telling the Daily Beast, “I’ll wait to see what the evidence is.”
Epstein was closely connected to former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, who is the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Both flew frequently on Epstein’s private jet, dubbed the “Lolita Express.” President Trump was Epstein’s neighbor in Palm Beach and a former friend. He also flew on Epstein’s plane.
Editors note ~ See an alternate view about Trump’s lack of involvement with Epstein in this article ~ https://goldenageofgaia.com/2019/07/09/trump-was-only-one-to-help-prosecutor-in-2009-epstein-case/