Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier who has made headlines for claims he abused minors, is being charged with creating and maintaining a network that led to the abuse and exploitation of dozens of teenage girls, The Associated Press reported Monday.
The court documents, unsealed Monday, reveal charges that the billionaire is expected to face in federal court in New York later on Monday, according to The Associated Press report.
Over the weekend, The Daily Beast reported that Epstein was taken into custody and was expected to appear in court today. According to the online news outlet, Epstein’s arrest this weekend comes 12 years after he was given a “slap on the wrist” for molesting underage girls in Florida.
The new charges accuse Epstein of abusing girls as young as 14-years-old, according to The Associated Press.
Epstein had reportedly evaded federal charges for years, despite lawsuits by alleged victims and investigations by both local and federal authorities. According to Saturday’s report by The Daily Beast, Epstein allegedly paid young girls for massages and then molested or sexually abused them at his residences in New York and Florida.
The court documents released Monday charge Epstein for these crimes in both states in the early 2000s, per The Associated Press.
Federal prosecutors accuse financier Jeffrey Epstein of sexually exploiting dozens of underage girls and paying victims to recruit others. https://t.co/1ytkVH7pfE
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 8, 2019
The 66-year-old has previously been a known associate of both President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton. In 2002, Trump praised Epstein, noting that he liked women on the “younger side,” according to a Sunday report from Business Insider.
“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.” – Donald Trump, 2002 https://t.co/3pbKrcFdn6
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) July 7, 2019
The Daily Beast reported that, in 2003, a profile of Epstein in Vanity Fair questioned the facade of the billionaire. The author of the piece, Vicky Ward, said on Twitter in April that claims of sexual abuse were removed from the Vanity Fair profile at the time after Epstein pressured the magazine.
In 2017, a lawsuit threatened to expose links between the sex trafficking ring, Epstein, former President Bill Clinton, President Donald Trump, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and other notable individuals, according to a Politico report from that year.
The Politico report alleges that the woman, who was 15-years-old at the time, was recruited to Epstein’s alleged sexual abuse ring while working at Trump’s Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, in 1999, where she was a locker room attendant.
According to the report from The Daily Beast, law enforcement sources told the publication Epstein was being investigated for crimes of the abuse of dozens of minors in Florida and New York from 2002 to 2005.