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Trump's Longtime Friend Jeffrey Epstein Arrested For Sex Trafficking Minors in Florida, New York

Newsweek logo Newsweek 7/07/2019 Christina Zhao

Donald Trump's longtime friend Jeffrey Epstein was arrested this weekend for sex trafficking multiple minors in Florida and New York, sources confirmed to the Daily Beast and Miami Herald.

A witness reportedly saw FBI agents knock down 66-year-old Epstein's Manhattan townhouse door at roughly 5:30 p.m. local time on Saturday evening.

The American billionaire, who is a registered sex offender, is expected to appear in Manhattan federal court on Monday to face charges related to allegations he sexually assaulted more than 30 girls, according to the sources.

The arrest comes roughly two weeks after the Department of Justice declined to dismiss his non-prosecution agreement from 2008, despite a federal judge ruling the document illegal.

Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors, which carries a maximum sentence of 45 years, reported the Daily Beast. Sources also say the sealed indicted that led to his arrest by the FBI will be unsealed on Monday. "That bail hearing will be critical because if they grant him bail, he will disappear and they will never get him,'' a source told the Herald.

Not only has Epstein been friends with Trump for nearly two decades, former president Bill Clinton is also among the list of prominent people who have been associated with the convicted sex offender.

Jeffrey Epstein looking at the camera: Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in Cambridge, MA on 9/8/04. Epstein is connected with several prominent people including politicians, actors and academics. Epstein was arrested on Saturday for allegedly sex trafficking minors in New York and Florida. © Rick Friedman/Getty Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in Cambridge, MA on 9/8/04. Epstein is connected with several prominent people including politicians, actors and academics. Epstein was arrested on Saturday for allegedly sex trafficking minors in New York and Florida. A federal judge in February ruled that Epstein sex-trafficked underage girls and President Donald Trump's Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, who served as a federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, illegally kept details of Epstein's plea from his victims.

According to court documents, Epstein had bought more than 30 underage girls to his Palm Beach mansion for sexual acts between 1999 and 2006. Some of the victims were also taken to Epstein's New York City home, New Mexico ranch and private Caribbean island.

FBI investigators found that Epstein used his victims to recruit other victims of a similar age in an operation that has been compared to the structure of a pyramid scheme. He also reportedly paid associates to help find victims and coordinate his crimes.

In 2008, the federal investigation into Epstein ended after he struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to two state prostitution charges. Rather than receive life in prison, Epstein's sentence was watered down to 13-months in Palm Beach County jail, financial settlements to multiple victims and a requirement he register as a sex offender. Acosta reportedly oversaw the agreement and has since defended the plea deal as appropriate under the circumstances.

The agreement also granted immunity to Epstein's co-conspirators.

Commenting on his Saturday arrest, David Boies, an attorney for two of Epstein accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Sarah Ransome, told the Daily Beast: "It's been a long time coming — it's been too long coming. It is an important step towards getting justice for the many victims of Mr. Epstein's sex trafficking enterprise."

He added: "We hope that prosecutors will not stop with Mr. Epstein because there were many other people who participated with him and made the sex trafficking possible."

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