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Financier Epstein pleads not guilty to U.S. sex trafficking charges involving girls

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Financier Epstein pleads not guilty to U.S. sex trafficking charges involving girls

By Brendan Pierson

 

2019-07-08T160626Z_1_LYNXNPEF671C9_RTROPTP_4_PEOPLE-JEFFREY-EPSTEIN.JPG

Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, points to a photograph of Jeffrey Epstein as he announces the financier's charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, in New York, U.S., July 8, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American financier Jeffrey Epstein pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of sex trafficking as prosecutors accused him of luring dozens of girls as young as 14 to his luxury homes in New York and Florida and paying them for sex acts.

 

An indictment unsealed in federal court in Manhattan accused Epstein, 66, of arranging for girls to perform nude "massages" and other sex acts, and paying some girls to recruit others, from at least 2002 to 2005.

 

"The alleged behavior shocks the conscience, and while the charged conduct is from a number of years ago, it is still profoundly important to the many alleged victims, now young women," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said at a press conference. "They deserve their day in court."

 

Epstein was known for socializing with politicians and royalty, with friends who have included U.S. President Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton and according to court papers Britain's Prince Andrew. None of those people was mentioned in the indictment.

 

Wearing dark blue jail scrubs, Epstein entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman to one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking conspiracy. Epstein faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

 

According to the indictment, the former hedge fund manager "intentionally sought out minors and knew that many of his victims were in fact under the age of 18, including because, in some instances, minor victims expressly told him their age."

 

Epstein, who registered as a sex offender under a 2008 plea deal in Florida, has said in earlier court filings that his encounters with alleged victims were consensual and that he believed they were 18 when they occurred.

 

Epstein will remain in jail until at least July 15, when a judge has scheduled a bail hearing.

 

Prosecutors have said Epstein should be denied bail, arguing he poses an "extraordinary risk of flight" because of his wealth, private planes and significant international ties.

 

MANHATTAN MANSION SEARCH

Epstein was arrested https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-justice-epstein/financier-epstein-arrested-in-u-s-sex-trafficking-case-source-idUSKCN1U20IK?enowpopup on Saturday night at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, where he had returned on his private plane from Paris.

 

Prosecutors said a search of Epstein's mansion in Manhattan uncovered evidence of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of nude photographs of "what appeared to be underage girls."

 

American financier Jeffrey Epstein was charged with sex trafficking on Monday, as prosecutors accused him of luring dozens of girls as young as 14 to his luxury homes in New York and Florida and paying them for sex acts. Jillian Kitchener reports.

 

Berman encouraged other victims to come forward and contact prosecutors.

 

The case is being handled by the public corruption unit of Berman's office.

 

Berman declined to discuss media speculation about people affiliated or associated with Epstein, telling reporters: "I urge you not to read into that one way or the other."

 

In 2002, then-businessman Trump praised Epstein in a New York magazine interview.

 

"I've known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy," Trump said. "He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

 

EARLIER DEAL

Epstein first came under investigation in 2005 after police in Palm Beach, Florida, received reports he had sexually abused underage girls in his mansion there.

 

By 2007, Epstein was facing a potential federal indictment for sexually abusing dozens of girls between 1999 and 2007. However, Epstein struck a deal to plead guilty in 2008 to a lesser Florida state felony prostitution charge, and register as a sex offender.

 

He served 13 months in a county jail, but was allowed to leave during the day to go to his office.

 

Some of Epstein's accusers have criticized that agreement as too lenient. Berman, the U.S. attorney, said he was not bound by it.

 

Reid Weingarten, a lawyer for Epstein, told the magistrate judge on Monday that his client had led a "law-abiding life" since 2008, and the indictment appeared to be "essentially a do-over."

 

Sigrid McCawley, a lawyer for some of the women who have accused Epstein, read statements on behalf of two of her clients outside the courthouse.

 

"The news of my abuser’s arrest today is a step in the right direction to finally hold Epstein accountable for his crimes and restore my faith that power and money can’t triumph over justice," said a statement by one of the women, Sarah Ransome.

 

Prosecutors who helped craft the Florida agreement included Alex Acosta, then the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and now Trump's Secretary of Labor. A spokeswoman for the Labor Department declined to comment on Sunday.

 

'MASSAGES'

According to the indictment, Epstein would initially recruit victims to provide "massages," which they would perform nude or partially nude.

 

Prosecutors said the encounters would become increasingly sexual, sometimes including groping and indirect contact with victims' genitals, where Epstein would typically masturbate and ask victims to touch him while he did.

 

Epstein paid girls to recruit new girls, to ensure a "steady supply of new victims to exploit" prosecutors said.

 

Three unnamed employees, one in Manhattan and two in Florida, aided Epstein by arranging some of his sexual encounters, the indictment said.

 

At a second court hearing on Monday, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller whether other people might be charged. Rossmiller said no additional indictment was imminent but it was possible "down the road."

 

Several of Epstein's accusers said they were denied a chance to express their views on the Florida deal, a violation of the federal Crime Victims' Rights Act.

 

In February, a federal judge in Florida called the agreement illegal. Even so, the Department of Justice said in a June court filing that there was no reason to cancel it.

 

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives confronted former prosecutor Acosta about the agreement during a hearing on a routine budget matter in April.

 

Acosta assured lawmakers that human trafficking was "an incredibly important issue," and said his office's efforts ensured that Epstein would be punished.

 

The Justice Department is investigating whether government lawyers committed professional misconduct in the Florida case.

 

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-07-09
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Posted (edited)

Probably  going to be a lot of anonymous and/or sealed "friend of the court"  filings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by lannarebirth
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He'll suddenly come down with a "medical condition" so that when he appears in court he'll be in a wheel chair/on crutches/with a seeing-eye dog/etc.  They all do it.  Being blind was a what Cosby pulled, never heard of that one before.

 

With the for-profit prison system in the US being what it is, I wonder if it would be possible to have his own private estate prison built just for him.  With a day-care center for visitors' kids, of course.

 

 

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Well if he has anything on Donald perhaps a pardon lol would the trump supporters care?

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2 hours ago, usviphotography said:

 Which would lend credence to the idea he is just the front man for a high level blackmailing operation.

 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/i-tried-to-warn-you-about-sleazy-billionaire-jeffrey-epstein-in-2003

 

Vehicle for money laundering and tax evasion first, then high level blackmail operation to make sure he wouldn't be prosecuted.

 

This thread is worth reading, if you haven't already: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1147934688423497728.html

 
"Let's start with the kompromat.  You've seen prominent folks now speculating that Epstein not only raped & trafficked those poor girls, but he may have used them to entrap powerful men. Yet, no one is asking WHY?
Why did Epstein need all those powerful men in his pocket? The answer can likely be found in WHOSE MONEY WAS EPSTEIN “MANAGING”?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Berkshire said:

If both Clinton and Trump were implicated in molesting underage girls, I have no problem with both going to jail.  Would you agree? 

I agree. But if only one or the other was implicated would you still agree, or would that depend on which one it was?

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