Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on Saturday and will appear in New York court on Monday to be charged with sex trafficking, according to multiple law enforcement sources.
Update:Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on Saturday and will appear in New York court on Monday to be charged with sex trafficking, according to multiple law enforcement sources.
Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was arrested for allegedly sex traffickingdozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005, and will appear in court in New York on Monday, according to three law enforcement sources. The arrest, by the FBI-NYPD Crimes Against Children Task Force, comes about 12 years after the 66-year-old financier essentially got a slap on the wrist for allegedly molesting dozens of underage girls in Florida.
For more than a decade, Epstein’s alleged abuse of minors has been the subject of lawsuits brought by victims, investigations by local and federal authorities, and exposés in the press. But despite the attention cast on his alleged sex crimes, the hedge-funder has managed to avoid any meaningful jail time, let alone federal charges.
The new indictment—which, according to two sources, will be unsealed Monday in Manhattan federal court—will reportedly allege that Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage girls in a now-familiar scheme: paying them cash for "massages" and then molesting or sexually abusing them in his Upper East Side mansion or his palatial residence in Palm Beach. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors—which could put him away for a maximum of 45 years. The case is being handled by the Public Corruption Unit of the Southern District of New York, with assistance from the district's human-trafficking officials and the FBI.
Several of the billionaire's employees and associates allegedly recruited the girls for Epstein's abuse, and some victims eventually became recruiters themselves, according to law enforcement. The girls were as young as 14, and Epstein knew they were underage, according to details of the arrest and indictment shared by two officials.
Epstein's attorney Martin Weinberg declined to comment when reached by The Daily Beast on Saturday night. The SDNY also declined to comment.
“It’s been a long time coming—it’s been too long coming,” said attorney David Boies, who represents Epstein accusers Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Sarah Ransome. “It is an important step towards getting justice for the many victims of Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking enterprise.
“We hope that prosecutors will not stop with Mr. Epstein because there were many other people who participated with him and made the sex trafficking possible," he told The Daily Beast.
In an era where #MeToo has toppled powerful men, Epstein’s name was largely absent from the national conversation, until the Miami Herald published a three-part series on how his wealth, power and influence shielded him from federal prosecution. For years, The Daily Beast has reported on Epstein’s alleged abuse, and his easy jail sentence and soft treatment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which ultimately scrapped a 53-page indictment against Epstein. An earlier version of Epstein’s plea deal included a 10-year federal sentence—before his star-studded lawyers threatened to go to trial in a case prosecutors feared was unwinnable, in part because Epstein’s team dredged up dirt on the victims, including social media posts indicating drug use.
Meanwhile, the financier flitted among his homes in Palm Beach, New York City, and the Virgin Islands, as well as his secluded Zorro Ranch in Stanley, New Mexico, transporting young women on his private jet to facilitate the sexual abuse that’s gone unchecked by authorities, his alleged victims say.
In an announcement planned for Monday the FBI is expected to provide a number for other victims to contact the SDNY.
As early as 2003, Vicky Ward’s Vanity Fair profile cracked into Epstein’s enigmatic facade and, as Ward noted, revealed “he was definitely not what he claimed to be.” Back then, allegations of sexual abuse leveled by one accuser, Maria Farmer, and her family were excised from Ward’s piece after Epstein pressured the magazine.
Epstein’s bust comes mere months after a federal judge ruled his 2007 non-prosecution agreement—secretly inked under former U.S. Attorney and current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta—violated federal law by keeping Epstein’s victims in the dark. Under the sweetheart deal, Epstein dodged federal charges that might have sent him to prison for life. He instead pleaded guilty to minor state charges in Palm Beach, and served 13 months in a private wing of a county jail, mostly on work release.
The alleged victims, who sued the government for violating the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, asked the court to rescind Epstein’s non-prosecution agreement and called for the feds to hold him criminally liable. The NPA also granted immunity to Epstein’s co-conspirators, identified in the document as “including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova.”
But in June, prosecutors for the government advised the judge to uphold the plea deal, saying that voiding it would “cause unintended harm to many of” the victims and jeopardize monetary settlements that more than a dozen of them received.
"If today’s report is true, it only proves that Epstein should have been charged by federal prosecutors 12 years ago in Florida. With his money, Epstein was able to buy more than a decade of delay in facing justice—but fortunately he wasn’t able to postpone justice forever," said attorney Paul Cassell, who represents multiple victims of Epstein in their lawsuit against the federal government.
"While New York prosecutors are apparently seeking to hold Epstein accountable, the fight will continue to force federal prosecutors in Florida to do the same thing," Cassell added in a statement. "While Epstein was at the head of the international sex trafficking organization, that conspiracy could not have functioned without many others playing their part. Jane Doe 1 and 2 will continue to fight for all of Epstein’s co-conspirators to be held accountable in New York, Florida, and anywhere else they committed crimes."
Epstein reportedly supplied valuable intel to federal investigators in exchange for his lenient plea deal; it’s been speculated this information may have been related to Bear Stearns executives’ alleged crimes in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis.
According to one Page Six report, Epstein lost $57 million in Bear Stearns’ collapse and was a victim identified as “Major Investor No. 1” in the indictment of hedge-fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tanin. (A federal jury acquitted Cioffi and Tanin of securities fraud charges.) But in March 2019, FOX Business reported that Epstein “did not provide any meaningful cooperation to obtain his relatively light sentence in the hedge fund case or likely any case tied to the financial crisis.” Jack Goldberger, one of Epstein’s attorneys in the Palm Beach sex-crimes case, told FOX of the Bear Stearns’ prosecution, “Mr. Epstein was never spoken to by any of the authorities on this subject. He was a very large investor. No more, no less.”
One former federal prosecutor on the Bear Stearns case agreed. “Bottom line, I have no knowledge of Epstein cooperating in any way in the Bear Stearns case. There was no reason to use him,” the ex-prosecutor told FOX.