What We Know So Far About Jeffrey Epstein’s Sex Trafficking Case
The financier, with ties to celebrities, politicians, and royalty, was arrested on multiple disturbing charges.
AUG 1, 2019
PATRICK MCMULLANGETTY IMAGES
- Financier Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in July 2019 on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking. He was denied bail ahead of his trail, so he will have to remain in prison until then. Prosecutors hope to go to trial by next June, but Epstein’s lawyers would like to delay until later.
- He is a convicted sex offender, who previously served 13 months in a Palm Beach county jail after pleading guilty to two prostitution-related charges, a plea deal that has been heavily criticized.
- Epstein has a high-profile social circle, and his former associates include Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Queen Elizabeth’s son Prince Andrew.
- Disturbing reports have surfaced about vague plans he once formulated to impregnate women at his New Mexico ranch in order to seed the human race with his DNA.
On July 8, federal prosecutors charged financier Jeffrey Epstein with one count of sex trafficking of a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. Per the indictment, “over the course of many years, Jeffrey Epstein, the defendant, sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, among other locations.”
The document also notes that “in order to maintain and increase his supply of victims, Epstein also paid certain of his victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused.” The prosecution alleges that he sexually assaulted girls as young as 14 years old.
He has since pleaded not guilty on both charges. Here’s everything you need to know about the case, as it unfolds:
WHO IS EPSTEIN?
A PHOTO OF EPSTEIN IN 2004.RICK FRIEDMANGETTY IMAGESADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
Epstein started his career in New York City as a math teacher at the elite Dalton School, but in the 1970s, he went to work at the investment bank Bear Stearns before founding his own firm, J. Epstein and Co., in 1982. According to Vox, he specifically marketed his services to “those with assets worth more than $1 billion,” and operates his company out of the U.S. Virgin Islands for tax reasons.
While Epstein appears to be wealthy, living in a massive townhouse and giving large sums of money to a wide variety of causes, the source of his money is obscure. He has been widely called a billionaire, but Forbes disputes that claim,saying that he is more likely “worth a fraction of that.”
In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to a felony charge of solicitation of prostitution involving a minor, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison; he served 13, and was granted work release, which allowed him to commute to an office outside the jail six days a week. He also registered as a sex offender.
Though some have speculated that the new charges could constitute double jeopardy, the Washington Post reports that prosecutors are not worried about that. Per the publication, “A person familiar with the matter said prosecutors do not have significant double jeopardy concerns or concerns about Epstein’s previous plea, meaning the charges probably involve new victims or new alleged wrongdoing.”
HIS CAUSES OF CHOICE REVEAL SOME OF EPSTEIN’S DISTURBING BELIEFS.
Of the many causes to which Epstein donated, academic scientists were a notable subgroup. He apparently “dangled financing for their pet projects,” reports the New York Times, and attracted a distinguished group of acquaintances, including several noble laureates, to his home for parties and to scientific conferences he sponsored.
Epstein himself apparently had several scientific theories, including eugenics. TheNew York Times has uncovered that one ambition he discussed was to impregnate multiple women, thereby spreading his DNA. One account claimed his plan was for 20 women to bear his children, and that his ranch in New Mexico would be a base for this operation. This may have been part of his interest in transhumanism, the study of how to improve the human population through technologies like genetic engineering and artificial intelligence.
EPSTEIN’S HIGH-PROFILE SOCIAL CIRCLE WILL ONLY AMPLIFY THE ATTENTION ON THIS CASE.
DONALD TRUMP AND HIS THEN-GIRLFRIEND MELANIA POSE FOR A PHOTO WITH JEFFREY EPSTEIN, AND BRITISH SOCIALITE GHISLAINE MAXWELL AT THE MAR-A-LAGO CLUB IN 2000.DAVIDOFF STUDIOS PHOTOGRAPHYGETTY IMAGESADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
Epstein has been known to associate with politicians on both sides of the aisle (Bill Clinton and Donald Trump to name just two), numerous celebrities, and other people in the public eye.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York magazine in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
Following the news of his recent arrest, Trump says he has distanced himself from Epstein in recent years. “I had a falling out with him,” the President said, according to the New York Times. “I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”
EPSTEIN AND ALAN DERSHOWTIZ, WHO WAS PART OF THE LEGAL TEAM THAT DEFENDED EPSTEIN IN HIS 2008 SEX ABUSE CASE.RICK FRIEDMANGETTY IMAGES
Former president Bill Clinton issued a public statement on Monday, acknowledging that he has ridden on Epstein’s private plane, but that he was unaware of Epstein’s criminal activity.
“President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,” reads the statement from a Clinton spokesperson.
“In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane: one to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation.”
At one point, Epstein also notably had ties to Queen Elizabeth’s son Prince Andrew. The extent of their relationship is somewhat unclear, but they were spotted walking together in Central Park in late 2010. At that point, he was already a convicted sex offender.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CASE SO FAR?
Epstein was first arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on July 6, after arriving back in the United States from France. As mentioned above, he was charged by federal prosecutors the following Monday (read the full indictment here), and has pleaded not guilty. Federal prosecutors also searched his New York City home following his arrest. According to the New York Times, “During the search of his townhouse on Saturday, investigators seized photographs of nude underage girls, federal prosecutors said.”
Prosecutors have said the case will involve a million pages of discovery, including evidence from his Manhattan mansion. They would like the trial to begin next June, but Epstein’s lawyers hope for something closer to Fall 2020. Prosecutors believe the trial could last four to six weeks.
On July 18, Epstein was denied bail. He had previously said he was willing to post $100 million. Per the New York Times, prosecutors “argued that Mr. Epstein’s vast wealth, said to be more than $500 million, would make it possible for him to flee the country if he were not held in jail.”
NBC News reports that Judge Berman said, “‘I doubt any bail package can overcome’ any danger to the community.”
On July 24, Epstein was reportedly found injured in his cell, though it’s unclear at this point exactly what happened to him. If convicted of the charges, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 45 years.
CAROLINE HALLEMANN Senior Digital News Editor
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