In 2008, US investment banker Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty in a Florida state court to soliciting an underage prostitute, was sentenced to 18 months in jail, and required to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life.
Given the evidence gathered by Florida police and the FBI, it was a great deal, the Miami Herald reports, in a stellar multi-part investigation. The paper details the multiple accusations of unlawful sexual acts with teens, some as young as 14, the unusual defense his attorneys (including Kenneth Starr, the force behind Bill Clinton’s impeachment) crafted to bury a federal investigation, and the sweetheart “non-prosecution agreement” then-federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta cut with Epstein. Acosta—now Donald Trump’s secretary of labor—faced questions at his confirmation hearing about the deal. The Herald reporting could bring more.
The paper found 80 of Epstein’s alleged victims, reached out to 60 of them, and interviewed eight. This is the first time some of their stories have been told publicly. The girls who accused him of sexual assault over a decade ago were not notified by Acosta and his team of the non-prosecution agreement crafted for Epstein before he was sentenced. They never appeared in court. Epstein, a former Bear Stearns banker, may have provided federal prosecutors with information about the global investment bank, which failed during the subprime crisis, the Herald suggests.
The teens who say Epstein paid them for nude massages, and sometimes sex, at his mansion in Palm Beach will finally be able to publicly testify against him, however. On Dec. 4, a jury trial for the first of two civil lawsuits filed in relation to the long-running legal battle between Epstein and Bradley Edwards, the top attorney for Epstein’s accusers, begins in a Palm Beach court. The trial is “the first time that Epstein’s victims will have their day in court, and several of them are scheduled to testify,” the Herald says.
The first suit, originally filed a decade ago by Edwards, accuse Epstein and his attorneys of “malicious prosecution” of Edwards. Epstein quietly paid millions to some of the teen girls represented by Edwards, then sued Edwards, charging he had made up the allegations of sexual molestation.
Virginia Roberts was working at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach when she was solicited by a female associate of Epstein at age 16. (Trump praised Epstein as a “terrific guy” in a 2002 New York magazine interview, adding “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”)
In a video interview with the Herald, Roberts, whose married name is Giuffre, described being instructed on how to perform oral sex on Epstein, and then being sent to a private island to have sex with Epstein associates, including attorney Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz has denied the claims.
“These guys will get it in the end, because us girls are not going to sit here and just let this keep happening,” Giuffre says.