The Daily Beast reports that Jeffrey Epstein may have been able to evade authorities for so long because he was being tipped off. During an interview with NBC News Dateline, former Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter claimed that Epstein likely had an insider that let him know when Palm Beach investigators were closing in on him.
Per NBC News, the investigation began in 2005 when the Palm Beach police received a call from a mother that claimed her 14-year-old daughter was having sex with an adult in his Palm Beach mansion. After speaking with the victim, Reiter claims detectives thought the accusation was legitimate and launched an investigation.
“Our sense just from sitting in the room with the first victim was that this is something we’ve absolutely got to get on,” Reiter said.
However, Epstein appeared to be one step ahead of the detectives as the case progressed. According to Reiter, there were several instances when investigators covertly entered Epstein’s home using search warrants and found that it was clear of the sexual devices and toys that his victims described. In one case, Reiter claims that Epstein’s surveillance cameras were ripped from the walls.
“Epstein found every loophole,” Reiter said. “I want some system in the future that this can’t happen again.”
As reported by The New York Post, Epstein appeared to be aware of details about the investigation that were never made public after about a half-year into the probe, suggesting that he was connected to someone on the inside.
Update: after our story last night on MIT Media Lab's dealings with Jeffrey Epstein, Joi Ito, the lab's director, resigned, and MIT's President announced an independent investigation: https://t.co/KTdYdCbZ6u pic.twitter.com/Ad83z0k80v— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) September 7, 2019
Epstein was eventually convicted of soliciting and procuring an underage prostitute in 2008. His lenient 13-month sentence allowed for work release, and his cell door was reportedly unlocked when he was in Palm Beach Country jail. In addition, Epstein was reportedly given access to the attorney room with a TV.
Then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who was Donald Trump’s former secretary of labor, signed off on Epstein’s sentence. His role in the non-prosecution agreement — which led to the end of the federal sex crimes investigation into Epstein — resulted in him stepping down from his position at the White House. Acosta continues to receive criticism for his handling of the case.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Reiter said. “It was extremely unusual and disappointing.”
Although Epstein was eventually arrested for federal sex trafficking charges, his alleged suicide led to an anticlimactic end to an investigation that still has many unanswered questions.