Wealthy Financier Charged With Molesting Dozens of Girls

Jeffrey Epstein

"Clinton's presence aboard Jeffrey Epstein's Boeing 727 on 11 occasions has been reported, but flight logs show the number is more than double that, and trips between 2001 and 2003 included extended junkets around the world with Epstein and fellow passengers identified on manifests by their initials or first names, including 'Tatiana, '" Fox reported at the time.

Epstein's Saturday arrest comes more than a decade after US Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, who was then US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, made a then-secret plea deal with Epstein that let him get off with a light sentence and has since come under huge criticism.

Berman declined to discuss media speculation about people affiliated or associated with Epstein, telling reporters: "I urge you not to read into that one way or the other".

The new charges were brought by the public corruption unit within the US attorney's office in NY, which normally handles cases against politicians.

Following the ruling, the White House said it was also "looking into" Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta's role in the plea deal, which he approved in his previous role as a United States attorney.

Despite the fact that the allegations against Epstein stem from incidents that occurred more than a decade ago, Berman said, "We want to make sure [the accusers] have their day in court by bringing these charges". They deserve their day in court.

The US financier, who has pleaded not guilty, was friends with President Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton, Virgin boss Richard Branson and Britain's Prince Andrew.

Mr Epstein was ordered jailed for a bail hearing next Monday, when prosecutors plan to argue that as a regular traveller with vast wealth he might flee if released.

The arrest of the billionaire financier on child sex trafficking charges is raising questions about how much his high-powered associates knew about the hedge fund manager's interactions with underage girls, and whether they turned a blind eye to potentially illegal conduct. Authorities said he operated a sex trafficking ring that primarily consisted of girls under the age of 18, with some as young as 14, and that officers discovered nude photographs of females that appeared to be underage when raiding his NY mansion. Epstein was forced to register as a sex offender but served very little jail time.

The case is being handled by the public corruption unit of Berman's office.

The victims were as young as 14 years old, according to court documents, and in at least some of the instances, Epstein allegedly knew they were underage.

In 2002, years before he entered politics, then real estate magnate Trump told an interviewer, "I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy", Mr Trump was quoted as saying in the New York Magazine profile.

That investigation involved at least 40 teenage girls. "He's a lot of fun to be with".

Reid Weingarten, a lawyer for Epstein, told the magistrate judge on Monday that his client had led a "law-abiding life" since 2008, and the indictment appeared to be "essentially a do-over". In February of this year, a USA district judge in Florida agreed, ruling that the deal violated the law.

Only Epstein was charged by the Southern District of NY this week.

The non-prosecution agreement is being challenged in court in Florida.

Federal prosecutors recently filed court papers in the Florida case contending the deal must stand.

Even so, the US Department of Justice said in a court filing last month there was no reason to cancel the agreement.

The Justice Department is investigating whether government lawyers committed professional misconduct in the Florida case.

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