Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein Accused of Sexually Abusing Dozens of Girls

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein pleads not guilty to sex trafficking charges

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In a federal indictment, prosecutors accused Epstein of abusing dozens of minor girls for years at his homes in New York and Florida, among other locations.

Update 8:15 p.m. EDT July 8: Former President Bill Clinton issued a statement Monday afternoon saying "he knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has recently been charged in New York," and that he hasn't talked to Epstein in more than a decade.

Spokesman Angel Urena confirmed Clinton used Epstein's plane for four trips in 2002 and 2003 in connection with work for the Clinton Foundation, but said staffers and members of Clinton's security detail "traveled on every leg of every trip."

Urena also said Clinton met with Epstein briefly at his Harlem office in 2002 and at Epstein's apartment with a staff member and security detail present.

“He’s not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida,” Urena said.

Update 2:30 p.m. EDT July 8: A federal judge in New York sided with prosecutors Monday and ordered Epstein remain jailed until at least Thursday, when he's expected to appear in court for a bail hearing, according to The Miami Herald.

A prosecutor said in court Monday that several more alleged victims have come forward to speak with authorities in the wake of Epstein's arrest, CNN reported. The alleged victims had not previously spoken to authorities.

Officials on Monday urged anyone who believes they might have been victimized by Epstein contact them. Authorities allege Epstein ran an underage sex trafficking ring that ensnared victims as young as 14.

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT July 8: Reid Weingarten, Epstein's attorney, told a judge Monday that the case against his client is "essentially a do-over" of a previous investigation in Florida, CNN reported.

Federal prosecutors in Florida allowed Epstein to plead guilty to a pair of lesser charges in 2008 after he was accused of sex trafficking. The agreement, overseen by former Miami U.S. Attorney and President Donald Trump's current labor secretary Alexander Acosta, was kept secret from Epstein's victims so they would not object, according to the Miami Herald. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra, of Florida, determined in February that the deal violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act, as Epstein's victims should have been consulted before the deal was struck, according to The Daily Beast and The Associated Press.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman told reporters earlier Monday that his office was "not bound" by the 2008 deal with federal prosecutors in Florida.

“Jeffrey Epstein entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the Southern District of Florida," Berman said at a Monday morning news conference. "That agreement only binds ... the Southern District of Florida. The Southern District of New York is not bound by that agreement and is not a signatory to that agreement.”

Update 1:55 p.m. EDT July 8: In court records obtained Monday by The Associated Press, prosecutors said they found perhaps thousands of sexually suggestive photos of "young-looking women or girls" locked in a safe during a search Saturday of Epstein's New York City mansion.

Authorities said a lawyer representing one of the people pictured in photographs seized from Epstein's home said she was underage at the time the photograph was taken.

Update 1:25 p.m. EDT July 8: Epstein entered a not guilty plea Monday afternoon to federal charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, according to CNN.

Update 11:30 a.m. EDT July 8: Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Monday that prosecutors plan to argue for Epstein to be held without bail pending trial after following his arrest Saturday on sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy charges.

"We think he's a significant flight risk," Berman said, noting that if the 66-year-old is convicted, he could face as many as 45 years in prison. "When you have two planes and you live much of the year abroad, we think that's a very real risk."

Authorities arrested Epstein after he arrived Saturday afternoon at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport. Officials said that at the time of his arrest, investigators also served a search warrant on his mansion in New York City, where they recovered what appeared to be nude photos of underage girls.

"The alleged behavior shocks the conscience," Berman said Monday at a news conference. "While the charged conduct is from a number of years ago, it is still profoundly important to the many alleged victims now young women. They deserve their day in court."

Authorities urged additional victims and others with knowledge of Epstein's behavior to contact authorities at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Update 11:05 a.m. EDT July 8: Federal prosecutors in New York are holding a news conference to announce charges against Epstein.

Update 10:45 a.m. EDT July 8: Epstein frequently traveled by private jet between New York and Palm Beach, Florida, authorities said in the indictment unsealed Monday. Before such trips, "an employee or associate would ensure that minor victims were available for encounters upon (Epstein's) arrival in Florida," prosecutors said.

Officials said Epstein had employees in both New York and Florida who would sometimes arrange for his encounters with underage victims. The employees were not named in court records.

Authorities are expected to provide more information about the case at a news conference scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Monday.

Update 10:30 a.m. EDT July 8: Prosecutors said in the indictment unsealed Monday that Epstein knew that many of his victims were underage because "in some instances, minor victims expressly told him their age."

Epstein faces charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy involving allegations he abused dozens of girls as young as 14 from 2002 to 2005.

Prosecutors allege Epstein sought out and recruited girls to provide him with "massages." According to the indictment, the girls were instructed to undress before beginning the "massages," which typically included "one or more sex acts."

Victims were typically paid hundreds of dollars for each encounter and many were abused by Epstein on multiple subsequent occasions, according to prosecutors.

Update 10:05 a.m. EDT July 8: Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York alleged in an indictment unsealed Monday that Epstein paid underage girls for sex at his mansion in Manhattan and his estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Prosecutors alleged he also paid victims to recruit more underage girls as part of sex trafficking conspiracy that ensnared victims as young as 14 years old.

Epstein faces one count each of sex trafficking an sex trafficking conspiracy. 

Original report: Authorities arrested Epstein just before 4 p.m. Saturday after he took a private jet from Paris to New Jersey's Teterboro Airport, the Miami Herald reported.

An unidentified law enforcement official told The Associated Press the case against Epstein involves allegations that he paid underage girls for massages and molested them at his homes in Florida and New York. The incidents allegedly took place between 2002 and 2005, according to The Daily Beast, which first reported the new charges against Epstein on Saturday.

Authorities are expected to unseal the new charges against Epstein on Monday. Prosecutors in New York's Southern District are scheduled to hold a news conference about the case at 11 a.m., CNN reported.

 

Citing unidentified law enforcement officials, The New York Times reported the 66-year-old is accused of running a sex trafficking ring involving underage girls as young as 14.

Combined, the sex trafficking charges carry a maximum sentence of up to 45 years in prison, according to the Times.

Epstein, a hedge fund manager who once hobnobbed with some of the world's most powerful people, faced a possible life sentence on sex trafficking charges in 2008, though federal prosecutors in Florida allowed him to instead plead guilty to a pair of lesser charges as part of a non-prosecution deal, according to the Herald and the AP.

The agreement, overseen by former Miami U.S. Attorney and President Donald Trump's current labor secretary Alexander Acosta, was kept secret from Epstein's victims so they would not object, according to the Herald. The newspaper examined the deal in a series of in-depth reports published last year.

In February, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra, of Florida, determined the deal violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act, as Epstein's victims should have been consulted before the deal was struck, according to The Daily Beast and the AP. The judge is weighing whether to invalidate the deal, the AP reported, though federal prosecutors in Florida have argued the deal must stand.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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