[Read our newest protection of the expenses in opposition to Jeffrey Epstein.]
Federal prosecutors have resurrected a federal intercourse crimes case in opposition to the billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein by specializing in accusations that he sexually assaulted ladies at his mansion in Manhattan — greater than a decade after a broadly criticized plea deal shielded him from comparable expenses in Florida.
Federal prosecutors unsealed the brand new expenses on Monday accusing Mr. Epstein, 66, of operating a sex-trafficking operation that lured dozens of underage ladies, some as younger as 14, to his Upper East Side residence and to a mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., in accordance to an indictment.
Mr. Epstein, 66, is accused of partaking in intercourse acts with minors, some as younger as 14, throughout bare therapeutic massage periods, then paying them tons of of in money, the indictment stated. He additionally requested some of the women to recruit different underage ladies.
“In this way, Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit in locations including New York and Palm Beach,” the indictment stated.
[Read the indictment.]
Mr. Epstein was arrested on Saturday at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, after arriving on a private flight from France, two law enforcement officials said.
He is charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy. He faces a combined maximum sentence of up to 45 years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors are also seeking the forfeiture of Mr. Epstein’s townhouse on East 71st Street.
The new charges are a revival of a yearslong case against Mr. Epstein, who faced similar accusations involving girls who told the police they were brought to his mansion in South Florida and assaulted.
That case unraveled in 2008 after Mr. Epstein was offered a secret plea deal by federal prosecutors, one of whom is now in President Trump’s cabinet.
In fact, Mr. Epstein has long had links to a wide array of high-profile officials, celebrities and business moguls — from Mr. Trump to Bill Clinton to Prince Andrew.
In the era of #MeToo, Mr. Epstein’s case had remained stubbornly unresolved. For years, women have accused Mr. Epstein, in civil lawsuits and in complaints to the police, of preying on them when they were underage. Still, for more than a decade he was shielded from federal charges by his secret plea deal.
In court documents unsealed Monday, prosecutors accused Mr. Epstein of running a sex trafficking scheme that from 2002 to 2005 shuttled dozens of underage girls between his Upper East Side mansion and his palatial compound in Palm Beach, Fla.
According to the indictment, Mr. Epstein used employees and assistants to arrange sexual rendezvous with at least three girls at his New York residence, some of whom told him they were underage. Mr. Epstein is accused of luring them to his residences and having them perform nude massages, at which point he would masturbate and touch their genitals, sometimes with sex toys.
The girls were paid hundreds of dollars in cash for each encounter and, once recruited, were asked to return to the mansion several times, where they were abused again, the indictment said. Mr. Epstein, the court documents read, “created a similar network of minor girls to victimize” in Florida.
On Saturday, a neighbor near an East 71st Street home purchased by Mr. Epstein in the mid-1990s, took a photograph, reviewed by The New York Times, that showed F.B.I. agents and New York Police Department officers using a crow bar to force open the mansion’s tall wooden doors.
The mansion, which runs along East 71st Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, has been called one of the largest townhouses in Manhattan. It contains at least seven floors and covers 21,000 square feet.
A spokesman for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment on Sunday. A lawyer for Mr. Epstein could not immediately be reached for comment.
Women who said they were victims of Mr. Epstein when they were girls have previously described being assaulted at the Upper East Side residence. One of his accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, said in court documents that Mr. Epstein forced her to have sex with him at the mansion. She settled a separate lawsuit against Mr. Epstein in 2009.
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 accusers 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.
Federal prosecutors in Miami prepared a sweeping 53-page federal indictment against Mr. Epstein. But in 2008, it was abruptly shelved, after prosecutors negotiated a secret deal with Mr. Epstein’s lawyers. Prosecutors did not tell the victims about the deal they made with Mr. Epstein until after a judge approved it.
Instead of facing life in prison, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges in state court and served about a year in a Palm Beach jail, though he was allowed to leave the facility six days a week, 12 hours a day on work-release privileges.
Mr. Epstein’s deal also shielded any co-conspirators who may have helped to arrange his sexual rendezvous and stayed in contact with his victims.
That deal was negotiated in part by Alexander Acosta, the former United States attorney in the Southern District of Florida, who now serves as Mr. Trump’s labor secretary. Mr. Acosta met privately with a lawyer for Mr. Epstein, and his office allowed the financier’s lawyers to dictate many of the plea deal’s terms, the Herald reported last year.
In February, a federal judge ruled that Florida prosecutors had broken the law in 2008 by not keeping Mr. Epstein’s victims informed of the plea deal. The Justice Department has also opened an inquiry into how the case was handled.
During the Florida investigation, Mr. Epstein retained an array of powerful lawyers, including the Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr, the former special counsel who investigated President Clinton.
The boldface names were not unusual for Mr. Epstein.
Mr. Clinton flew on Mr. Epstein’s private jet multiple times, according to flight records. Prince Andrew of Britain was a frequent social companion.
Mr. Trump, in 2002, told New York Magazine that Mr. Epstein was a “terrific guy.”
“He’s a lot of fun to be with,” he said at the time. “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
The Upper East Side fortress was previously owned by Leslie Wexner, a business mogul whose companies include Victoria’s Secret. Mr. Wexner was the only known client of Mr. Epstein’s money management firm; he sold the house to Mr. Epstein in the mid-1990s.
In 2011, the New York Post reported that Mr. Epstein gave a party with Prince Andrew at the mansion after being released from the Florida jail.
Christina Goldbaum, Joseph Goldstein and William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.
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