With Jeffrey Epstein locked up, these are nervous times for his friends, enablers
By Julie K. Brown, Miami Herald, July 07, 2019
Jeffrey Epstein spent a second night in a New York jail cell Sunday, with a federal indictment expected to be unsealed Monday, charging him with sex offenses involving underage girls he and others allegedly trafficked in New York and Florida, sources have told the Miami Herald.
His Saturday arrest capped months of investigating, led by federal agents and prosecutors with the Southern District of New York’s Public Corruption Unit, assisted by investigators with the sex trafficking division. Although details of the case remain undisclosed, there are indications that others involved in his crimes could be charged or named as cooperating witnesses.
Among those potentially on the list: Ghislaine Maxwell, a 57-year-old British socialite and publishing heir who has been accused of working as Epstein’s madam; and Jean-Luc Brunel, who, according to court records, was partners with Epstein in an international modeling company.
Epstein, 66, was arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday, as he arrived on his private jet from Paris, where he had been vacationing since June 14, aviation records show. About an hour after they picked him up, federal agents arrived at his imposing Manhattan townhouse, breaking down the door to execute search warrants.
The fact that search warrants were issued shows that federal investigators have new evidence against Epstein beyond the sex cases he was given federal immunity for in Florida in 2008, legal experts told the Miami Herald.
“They can’t take information from a case in 2002 or 2005 to get a search warrant today; there had to have been something for probable cause that contains evidence of a crime found now, so I’m interested in what that evidence is,’’ said Francey Hakes, a former federal prosecutor who once oversaw the Justice Department’s child exploitation crimes division.
Lawyers for Epstein’s victims, in court filings, have often likened Epstein’s sex operation to an organized crime family, with Epstein and Maxwell at the top, and below them, others who worked as schedulers, recruiters, pilots and bookkeepers.
For her part, Maxwell, whose social circle included such friends as Bill and Hillary Clinton and members of the British Royal family, has been described as using recruiters positioned throughout the world to lure women by promising them modeling assignments, educational opportunities and fashion careers. The pitch was really a ruse to groom them into sex trafficking, it is alleged in court records.
At least one woman, Sarah Ransome, claimed in a lawsuit that Maxwell and Epstein threatened to physically harm her or destroy any chance she would have of a fashion career if she didn’t have sex with them and others.
Maxwell has denied the claim and has never been charged.
Another woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, alleges she was recruited by Maxwell in 2000 when she was 16 years old. Giuffre was working as a spa attendant at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s winter home and resort in Palm Beach at the time, court records show.
Trump, who lived less than a mile from Epstein’s waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, had also been friends with Epstein. Records show that he flew on Epstein’s private jet on occasion and attended parties and social events where he was photographed with Epstein.
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/
Giuffre brought a civil defamation suit against Maxwell in 2015, after the Epstein associate called her a liar. It was settled two years later. But 2,000 pages of the previously sealed case file are expected to be made public in a few weeks, the result of litigation by the Miami Herald, and those records could prove damaging to Maxwell and others involved in Epstein’s alleged scheme.
“The one person most likely in jeopardy is Maxwell because the records that are going to be unsealed have so much evidence against her. She is in a particularly vulnerable position and will have an interest in cooperating, even though she may have missed that opportunity,’’ said lawyer David Boies, who represents Giuffre.
Boies said Brunel could also figure into Epstein’s prosecution because he has in the past offered to cooperate with investigators.
“Brunel has been one of these back-and-forth people for years. We interviewed Brunel more than four years ago and he promised to cooperate and then he didn’t, and he promised and didn’t. He was terrified of Epstein,’’ Boies said.
Giuffre claims that Epstein used the modeling agency, Mc2, to lure underage girls and in court papers said Epstein “deliberately engaged in a pattern of racketeering that involved luring minor children through Mc2, mostly girls under the age of 17, to engage in sexual play for money.”