Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire financier with Hollywood and political ties, has been arrested on charges of sex trafficking of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Epstein is scheduled to appear in a New York court on Monday.
The latest charges against the money manager allege that employees and friends procured dozens of underage girls, as young as 14, for Epstein, who understood they were under 18. Epstein, the charges claim, paid the girls in cash for “massages” but later sexually assaulted or abused them. According to law enforcement, some victims of the scheme became recruiters in turn for Epstein.
When reached by THR, the New York Police Department declined to comment. THR has also reached out to Epstein’s lawyer for comment.
The arrest comes 11 years after Epstein, 66, was sentenced to 18 months’ jail time after he pled guilty to state charges of solicitation of prostitution, but avoided federal charges. At the time, Epstein was accused of working with personal assistants to lure underage girls back to his home in Palm Beach, Fla., asking for “massages” and then sexually assaulting or abusing them and paying them between $200 and $1,000.
Later, his sentence was reduced to 13 months, with one year of parole; while incarcerated, Epstein lived in the private wing of a county jail and was able to leave confinement for 12 hours a day to go to his office, a situation that raised eyebrows for legal analysts.
Last year, the Miami Herald published an investigation linking the lenient plea deal to a meeting between Epstein’s lawyer and current U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, then Miami’s top federal prosecutor. The highly unusual non-prosecution agreement forestalled an FBI investigation into further victims, offered immunity to co-conspirators and kept the deal secret from alleged victims.
Since then, Epstein has continued to socialize with boldfaced names including Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, Chelsea Handler, Woody Allen and Britain’s Prince Andrew, The Daily Beast reported in 2017. Before his sentence, the billionaire was known to hobnob with Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Chris Tucker, Kevin Spacey, Larry Summers and Mort Zuckerman. A donor to the Clinton Foundation, Epstein reportedly flew the former president overseas in his private jet multiple times; Spacey and Tucker also flew to Africa on Epstein’s Boeing 727 for charity work.
The Daily Beast was the first to report the news.