Justice has been a long time coming for the dozens of alleged victims of billionaire hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein, who has been accused of sexually abusing and trafficking multiple teenage girls over a span of several years.
Epstein, 66, was arrested Saturday night at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, after flying from Paris, according to the Miami Herald, which had helped keep Epstein’s case in public discourse by publishing an investigation last November that included interviews with his alleged victims. The Daily Beast first reported Epstein’s arrest on Saturday.
According to that report, agents from the FBI and the NYPD’s Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested Epstein for allegedly sex trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005. His indictment will be unsealed in a Manhattan court on Monday, the news site said. Epstein reportedly was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.
Federal agents also executed search warrants at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse on Saturday, according to the Herald.
The allegations against Epstein, who had largely avoided justice for over a decade, have been widely published. In 2007, he was given a slap on the wrist after being investigated for operating a pyramid scheme that brought dozens of teenage girls to his Florida mansion, where they allegedly were sexually abused by Epstein and others in exchange for money.
His lawyers at the time, including Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz, secured Epstein a generous non-prosecution agreement from prosecutors that was kept secret from his victims for over a year. According to that agreement, which was granted by then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Alexander Acosta, who now serves as Donald Trump’s labor secretary, Epstein served only 13 months in a county jail, where he was allowed to spend much of the time on “work release.” He was charged with two state prostitution charges.
Epstein is a friend of several powerful people, including Trump, former President Bill Clinton, and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, among others. At least one victim has accused Dershowitz of having sex with her as part of Epstein’s trafficking ring, a charge Dershowitz denies.
Last February, a federal judge ruled that prosecutors had violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by failing to inform victims of the non-prosecution agreement that led to Epstein’s lenient sentence. The judge acknowledged that prosecutors misled victims into believing an investigation was ongoing, when it wasn’t. The agreement also quashed any further investigations by the FBI and other federal agencies, according to reports.
Last month, the Department of Justice rejected efforts by the alleged victims to have Epstein’s plea deal thrown out. Federal prosecutors said the victims had no basis to seek recourse from the government because the Crime Victims’ Rights Act doesn’t outline specific penalties, the Miami Herald reported.
Epstein now faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted, according to The Daily Beast, which noted that the case is being handled by the Public Corruption Unit of the Southern District of New York.
More information likely will surface about the current investigation when the indictment is unsealed on Monday. According to the Herald, this case includes new victims and witnesses.
“It’s been a long time coming—it’s been too long coming,” attorney David Boies, who represents two victims, told The Daily Beast.
In its investigation, titled “Perversion of Justice,” the Herald identified about 80 girls who were sexually abused by Epstein. Four of them described on video what Epstein and his associates allegedly had done to them and many others, at many locations.