Jeffrey Epstein: US financier ‘charged with sex trafficking’

Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein registered as a sex offender as part of a widely criticised plea deal

US billionaire and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has been arrested on new sex trafficking charges connected to allegations from the early 2000s, reports say.

Epstein was arrested in New York and will appear in court on Monday, law enforcement officials told US media.

It comes amid renewed controversy over a plea deal he once reached to end a federal investigation against him.

His lawyer has not yet commented on the latest charges.

Law enforcement officers have not been authorised to discuss the case, but several have spoken to US media outlets on condition of anonymity.

One told The Associated Press news agency that the latest charges stemmed from allegations that Epstein paid underage girls for massages and molested them at his New York and Florida homes.

The same claims were made by sources quoted in other outlets, including The Daily Beast, which first reported Epstein’s arrest.

Epstein, 66, was previously accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls.

The wealthy financier – who was once friendly with Prince Andrew, former US President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump – reached a plea deal to avoid federal sex trafficking charges in the case.

Instead, he pleaded guilty in 2008 to lesser state charges of soliciting and procuring a person under age 18 for prostitution

This averted a possible life sentence, and instead saw him spend 13 months in jail and register as a sex offender.

Earlier this year, a Florida judge ruled that federal prosecutors broke the law by not informing Epstein’s victims of the plea deal at the time.

Judge Kenneth Marra is currently deciding whether the non-prosecution agreement that protected Epstein from the more serious charges should still stand.

Following the ruling, the White House said it was also “looking into” Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta’s role in the plea deal, which he approved in his previous role as a US attorney.

Epstein in December deprived his alleged victims of the chance to testify against him for the first time by reaching a last-minute agreement to settle a civil lawsuit.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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