Jeffrey Epstein expected to make court appearance on sex trafficking charges
Case involves allegations the registered sex offender paid underage girls for massages and molested them, says official
Eleven years after letting Jeffrey Epstein off lightly with a once-secret plea deal, the US government is taking another run at putting the wealthy sex offender behind bars with new sex trafficking charges law enforcement officials say involve allegations dating to the early 2000s.
Epstein was arrested over the weekend and is expected to make his first court appearance on the new charges on Monday in New York City. Prosecutors will probably argue he is a flight risk and should remain in jail instead of being released on bail.
One law enforcement official said the case deals with allegations that Epstein, a 66-year-old hedge fund manager who once hobnobbed with some of the world’s most powerful people, paid underage girls for massages and molested them at his homes in Florida and New York.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity. Court documents related to the case have been kept under seal and no official announcement of Epstein’s arrest has been made. Epstein’s lawyer did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Epstein, whose friends have included Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, was arrested on Saturday after his private jet touched down from France.
A taskforce of federal agents and New York police officers met the plane at Teterboro airport near New York, law enforcement officials said. He is being held at the Metropolitan correctional center, a federal jail near the Manhattan courthouse where he is due to appear.
Former federal prosecutor David Weinstein said there was almost no chance Epstein would be allowed home after the hearing. Under federal court rules, prosecutors can keep a defendant locked up for three extra days while preparing for a bail hearing without needing a reason. That would mean a bail hearing on Thursday.
“The government is clearly seeking to have him detained,” Weinstein said. “The guy is a millionaire or a billionaire. He has unrestrained assets. If they let him out on a bond, he may take off, go to a jurisdiction where they don’t have extradition and they may never get him back.
Epstein’s arrest, first reported by the Daily Beast, came amid increased scrutiny of the 2008 non-prosecution deal that allowed him to plead guilty to lesser state charges while maintaining a jet-set lifestyle.
Under the deal, overseen by former Miami US attorney and Trump’s labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, Epstein avoided a life sentence and served 13 months in jail after pleading guilty to Florida charges of soliciting and procuring a person under age 18 for prostitution. It also required he reach financial settlements with dozens of his victims and register as a sex offender.
Acosta has defended the plea deal as applicable underneath the circumstances, though the White House said in February that it was “looking into” his handling of the deal.
The deal, examined in detail in a series of reports in the Miami Herald, is being challenged in Florida federal court.
US district choose Kenneth Marra of Sunshine State dominated earlier this year that Epstein’s victims ought to are consulted underneath federal law regarding the deal, and he is now weighing
whether to invalidate it.
Federal prosecutors recently filed court papers within the Sunshine State case competitory Epstein’s deal should stand. The past can’t be undone; the govt committed itself to the [deal] and also the parties haven’t controversial that sculptor complied with its provisions,” prosecutors wrote in the filing. They acknowledged, however, that the failure to consult victims “fell short of the government’s dedication to serve victims to the best of its ability” and that prosecutors “should have communicated
with the victims in a very easy and clear way”.
The victims within the Sunshine State case have till Monday to retort. It was not immediately clear whether that case and the new case involved the same victims, since nearly all have remained anonymous. Even so, Weinstein said, the deal only applies to federal prosecutors in the southern district of Florida. The current case is being pursued by the southern district of New York.
There are no double jeopardy implications because Epstein’s guilty plea involved only state crimes while the current case involves federal law.
According to court records in Sunshine State, authorities say at least 40 underage girls were brought into Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion for what turned into sexual encounters after female fixers looked
for suitable girls locally and in other parts of the world.
Some girls were allegedly brought to Epstein’s homes in New York, New Mexico and a private Caribbean island, according to court documents.
Epstein’s arrest came days once a federal appellate court in ny ordered the unsealing of nearly a pair of,000 pages of records in a very since settled defamation case involving sculptor. ALSO SEE CALIFORNIA BRACED FOR MORE EARTHQUAKE