Jeffrey Epstein due in court on sex trafficking charges | News Coverage from USA

Jeffrey Epstein due in court on sex trafficking charges

NEW YORK – Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire financier, philanthropist and registered sex offender, was expected to make his first court appearance Monday after his arrest over the weekend on sex-trafficking charges.

Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press the charges stem from accusations that date to the early 2000s. One official said he stands accused of paying dozens of minors for massages and molesting them at his homes in Florida and New York.

Epstein, 66, rose to prominence almost two decades ago and at various times could list  Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey and Great Britain’s Prince Andrew among friends and associates. He was arrested Saturday and jailed after his private jet arrived from France.

The charges come 11 years after Epstein avoided what could have been a lengthy prison sentence when he pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting and procuring a person under 18 for prostitution.

Under a non-prosecution agreement with federal authorities in Florida, Epstein served a 13-month jail sentence but was allowed to spend much of it at in work release at his Palm Beach office. He also settled with dozens of victims and was required to register as a sex offender.

Last week, a federal appeals judge ruled that some sealed court records that accused Epstein and others of participating in an underage sex-trafficking ring must be made public. 

Epstein was accused of luring more than 30 underage girls for sex acts at his Palm Beach, Florida, mansion and other locations in the United States and overseas. He allegedly enlisted girls to lure more victims.

A lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre, who identified herself as one of the victims, alleged that Epstein and a friend named Ghislaine Maxwell sexually trafficked her to Epstein’s friends, including famed attorney Alan Dershowitz, who previously was a lawyer for the financier.

Maxwell and Dershowitz have denied the allegations.

Epstein’s case emerged in the public eye late last year after an explosive investigation into the Epstein case published by the Miami Herald. The Herald and lead reporter Julie K. Brown have drawn accolades for their work, but Brown dismissed the buzz in a Twitter post Sunday.

“I know there is a lot of praise on here for the Herald and myself,” she tweeted. “But I have to say the the REAL HEROES HERE were the courageous victims that faced their fears and told their stories.”

Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz

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