Billionaire hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein was charged in a Manhattan federal court Monday with sex trafficking and conspiracy. He is accused of sexually assaulting and trafficking dozens of underage girls between 2002 and 2005 at his homes in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida, where he paid them hundreds of dollars to perform sex acts and help recruit other girls for him to abuse. Epstein has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors seized a trove of photos of nude or partially nude young women and girls from Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse on Saturday—the same day he was arrested at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport. More accusers are continuing to come forward, prosecutors say. This is FBI official William Sweeney.
William Sweeney: “The estimated dozens of victims were as young as 14 years old at time of recruitment, children who provided Epstein massages while they were nude or partially nude, children who were asked to engage in direct and indirect sex acts for money, children who were enticed to do all these things at the hands of a man more than or nearly three times their age.”
Epstein previously received what’s been described as “one of the most lenient deals for a serial child sex offender in history” for abusing and trafficking potentially hundreds of girls, by the U.S. prosecutor in Florida. That man, Alexander Acosta, is now Trump’s labor secretary. New York prosecutors say their case is not bound by that deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for Acosta to resign.
Attorney General William Barr said Monday he has recused himself from the case because his former law firm Kirkland & Ellis has represented Epstein. He did not mention that his father, the former headmaster of New York’s private Dalton School, hired Epstein to teach there in the '70s despite his not having a college degree. Prosecutors are asking that the judge deny Epstein bail, as he may be a flight risk. We'll have more on this story after headlines with the Miami Herald’s Casey Frank.