US billionaire Jeffrey Epstein accused of "sex trafficking"

US billionaire Jeffrey Epstein accused of "sex trafficking"

More than ten years after a first clemency condemned by a friend of Donald Trump, the financier Jeffrey Epstein was again charged. He faces life imprisonment.

The World with AFP, AP and Reuters Posted today at 18h34, updated at 22h12

Time to Reading 3 min.

In 2008, while incarcerated for life, Jeffrey Epstein was sentenced to eighteen months in prison.
In 2008, while incarcerated for life, Jeffrey Epstein was sentenced to eighteen months in prison. Uma Sanghvi / AP

Jeffrey Epstein, 66, American billionaire, was arrested Saturday, July 6 in the United States on his return from France, on charges of "Sex trafficking", and appeared Monday, July 8 in federal court in Manhattan.

The former hedge fund manager was arrested Saturday at a New Jersey airport as he was returning from Paris on his private jet. The US Attorney's Office in Manhattan released Monday a 14-page document exposing new charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy against him between 2002 and 2005, claiming he had abused dozens of some, aged 14, for the payment of cash in cash in his residences in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida. He also allegedly paid some of his victims to recruit for him other prey in their entourage.

Michelle Licata and Courtney Wild, two alleged victims, leave the courthouse after the impeachment of Jeffrey Epstein.
Michelle Licata and Courtney Wild, two alleged victims, leave the courthouse after the impeachment of Jeffrey Epstein. CARLO ALLEGRI / REUTERS

Each charge is punishable by at least 10 years' imprisonment, with the possibility of life imprisonment. The justice department is also seeking to seize the manor of Epstein, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where have occurred some of the alleged crimes. Investigators have found nude photos of minors, said on Monday at a press conference Geoffrey Berman, the prosecutor of the southern district of New York.

Michelle Licata and Courtney Wild, two alleged victims, witnessed Jeffrey Epstein's indictment. "There are dozens of victims in New York and dozens of victims in Florida"said Geoffrey Berman at a press conference, asking them to come out of the shadows and come forward.

Mr. Berman also asked the judge not to release Mr. Epstein on bail, to eliminate any risk of escape as he lives essentially " abroad ". Mr Epstein pleaded not guilty. A new hearing is scheduled for Thursday, during which his lawyers should plead for his release on bail.

Controversial Agreement

Already accused of using the services of dozens of underage prostitutes more than a decade ago, most notably in his large home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mr. Epstein was sentenced to eighteen months in prison in 2008. While incarcerated for life, with a 53-page federal indictment detailing his turpitude, he had reached a controversial sentence negotiation agreement by pleading guilty to the sole charge of seeking service. minor prostitutes.

This agreement obtained with the attorney of the South Florida District of the time, Alexander Acosta, against information on the bankruptcy of the investment bank Bear Stearns, according to the information site Daily Beast, had allowed him to shorten his sentence to thirteen months and to benefit from a favorable development of his conditions.

His victims had been saying for years that justice treated him differently from other litigants because of his wealth and his political connections.
His victims had been saying for years that justice treated him differently from other litigants because of his wealth and his political connections. STEPHANIE KEITH / AFP

For years, the agreement was challenged in court by several victims of Epstein who felt that they had not been heard, in violation of the law on victims' rights, and that the billionaire was treated differently from other litigants because of its wealth and political Washington Post. After the #metoo wave, it was curious that the Epstein affair still did not come to light, says the New York Times, while for years many women have accused him.

Queries about a member of the Trump administration

Today Donald Trump's labor minister, Mr. Acosta was caught up in this affair in November 2018 after a thorough investigation of the daily newspaper. Miami Herald, who had called him to resign by estimating the former federal prosecutor "Ethically compromised" in the Epstein scandal. The Justice Department opened an investigation to examine whether its representatives had committed " malpractice " in the trial of the cases concerning Mr. Epstein.

This episode had highlighted the powerful relationship of the financier, who has had links with Donald Trump, former Democratic President Bill Clinton or Prince Andrew, son of the British Queen Elizabeth II, who rejected the accusations. Donald Trump praised Epstein in an interview with New York Magazine in 2002. "I've known Jeff for fifteen years. A great guy. He is someone with whom we have fun. It is even said that he loves beautiful women as much as I do, and that many of them are rather young. There's no question: Jeffrey has a good social life "said the real estate developer.

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