Jeffrey Epstein, the notorious billionaire with ties to both former President Bill Clinton and current President Donald Trump, was arrested Saturday on sex trafficking charges, The Daily Beast reported, citing law enforcement sources. Epstein will appear in court in New York on Monday.
The charges, per the site, allege that Epstein “sexually exploited dozens of underage girls in a now-familiar scheme: paying them cash for ‘massages’ and then molesting or sexually abusing them in his Upper East Side mansion or his palatial residence in Palm Beach.”
Lawsuits in recent months had sought to unseal documents from Epstein’s previous case, and a court last month ordered the release of thousands of pages of documents, per ABC News. It’s not clear whether the new charges are the direct result of that document release.
The 66-year-old Epstein, a financier and former hedge fund manager, was convicted in 2008 of soliciting prostitution from underage girls, although the non-prosecution agreement led to an 18-month prison sentence that allowed for “work release,” which allowed him to spend the majority of his “sentence” working from his office in Florida.
The prosecutor who signed off on that deal and scrapped an earlier, tougher indictment, Alex Acosta, is now the U.S. Secretary of Labor, per Politico. A federal judge ruled earlier this year that the agreement agreed to by Acosta violated the law because it did not inform Epstein’s accusers of the entire truth.
The Miami Herald earlier this year published a long series about the years of accusations against Epstein and how he had been allowed to serve such an unusually light sentence. It reported, among other damning details, that Epstein’s attorneys had attempted to dig up dirt on his accusers, leaving prosecutors with a case they feared they couldn’t win.
BREAKING: Accusations of extortion, secret tape recordings, and sex trafficking — the Jeffrey Epstein case unleashes a bitter war between the country’s two most prominent legal Goliathshttps://t.co/hvI9B5XkdK— julie k. brown (@jkbjournalist) July 5, 2019
Epstein is known to have cultivated famous and powerful people. Bill Clinton, per a Gawker report, had been known to fly with Epstein frequently on his private jet in the years after he left office, while he and Trump were friends for a time as well, per Vox.
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with,” Trump said of Epstein in a New York magazine interview in 2002. “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.”
There is no evidence, however, that either president had direct knowledge or complexity in any of Epstein’s alleged crimes.