Former hedge-fund manager Jeffrey Epstein was arrested over the weekend by the Public Corruption Unit of the Southern District of New York, with an assist from the FBI’s sex trafficking division. The 66-year-old will be arraigned before a federal magistrate today on charges he sexually abused and exploited dozens of minor girls between 2002 and 2005. As part of this investigation, there is the possibility that this could reach the White House.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., wrote on Twitter,
“[Trump’s] Labor Secretary [Acosta] gave child molester Jeffrey Epstein a sweetheart deal when Acosta was an US Attorney. Now it turns out Epstein may have molested more individuals. Why is Acosta still Labor Secretary?”
Epstein’s waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, where the alleged sex acts occurred, is less than a mile from Mar-a-Lago and records show that Trump flew on Epstein’s private jet on more than one occasion. They have been photographed together as well.
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. 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. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
A lawyer for Trump denied any connection between the president and Epstein. A lawyer representing three of the alleged victims said that Trump was helpful in building a civil lawsuit against Epstein. He told NY magazine,
“The only thing that I can say about President Trump is that he is the only person who, in 2009 when I served a lot of subpoenas on a lot of people, or at least gave notice to some pretty connected people, that I want to talk to them, is the only person who picked up the phone and said, let’s just talk. I’ll give you as much time as you want. I’ll tell you what you need to know, and was very helpful, in the information that he gave, and gave no indication whatsoever that he was involved in anything untoward whatsoever, but had good information. That checked out and that helped us and we didn’t have to take a deposition of him in 2009.”
Timothy O’Brien, a Trump biographer, wrote Monday that the arrest is a “worry” for the president.
“The financier was a member of Trump’s Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, and the men dined at one another’s homes. Trump flew on Epstein’s plane at least once. According to [Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown, Epstein is quoted in court papers as saying he wanted to set up his modeling agency – which prosecutors believe he used to get access to underage girls – ‘the same way Trump set up his modeling agency.’”
One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, said in court documents that she was recruited to give him private massages while she was working at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida club. She did not accuse Trump or the Mar-a-Lago staff of being involved in her recruitment.
According to the latest indictment, Epstein
“enticed and recruited, and caused to be enticed and recruited, minor girls to visit him” at his Manhattan mansion and Palm Beach estate “to engage in sex acts with him, after which he would give the victims hundreds of dollars in cash.
Moreover, and 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 by Epstein. In this way, Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit.”
Former Southern District of New York prosecutor Mimi Rocah wrote Sunday that Epstein is unlikely to receive an Acosta-style deal in this case,
“Charges of federal sex-trafficking carry mandatory minimums of 10-15 years on each count. Mandatory means mandatory. In other words, short of a cooperation agreement with the government—which in the SDNY famously means full cooperation against all possible other subjects and targets—Epstein will serve at least 10-15 years in prison (possibly more depending on the number of counts) if convicted.”
At a press conference Monday, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman urged anyone who felt they might have been a victim of Epstein to reach out to the FBI.
Satirist Andy Borowitz, summed up much of the reaction to this news,
“I’m trying to figure out what part of Trump’s friendship with a sex criminal I’m supposed to be shocked by.” –Andy Borowitz
Scott Dworkin has images of Epstein’s little black book, which was leaked by an employee and shows he had 16 ways to contact Donald Trump. Melania, Robert Trump, Blaine Trump, Ivana Trump and Ivanka Trump were also in the black book. #JeffreyEpsteinArrest https://t.co/8faWMsXKEb— Scott Dworkin (@funder) July 8, 2019
UPDATE: Latest from The New York Times…
(Photos, YouTube, screen grabs; via Yahoo News)