Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein Arrested on Sex Trafficking Charges

Jeffrey Epstein arrested on sex trafficking chargesEpstein faced similar charges in 2008, but signed a deal to limit his time behind bars.

Jeffrey Epstein — billionaire, friend of the powerful, and convicted sex offender — was arrested Saturday night in New Jersey on charges that he trafficked dozens of underage girls in Florida and New York between 2002 and 2005.

Epstein, 66, a hedge fund executive whose friends include Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, had just flown into New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport from Paris when agents from the joint FBI-NYPD Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested him, according to the Daily Beast, which first broke the news of the arrests.

He is expected to be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison.

Saturday evening, federal agents carried out a search of his townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, according to witnesses who spoke to the Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown, who has reported extensively both on Epstein’s alleged crimes and on a deal he received from the US attorney in Miami in 2008 during an investigation involving more than 30 underage victims.

Epstein is currently being held in New York, and is expected to be arraigned on Monday at a bail hearing in federal court in Manhattan. An anonymous source told the Herald they believe the hearing could allow Epstein to escape trial: “If they grant him bail, he has enough money that he will disappear and they will never get him.”

Epstein has long been the subject of accusations, lawsuits, and investigations by both federal and local law enforcement (and the press) for sex crimes against underage girls. These accusations came to a head in 2005 when a Florida woman told police a wealthy man had molested her daughter. The police began an investigation that was referred to the FBI.

The bureau collected copious evidence, and in 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to the solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution. However, because of deal made with former US attorney (and current US secretary of labor) Alexander Acosta, Epstein did not receive a long sentence.

Read more at VOX