Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein was arrested Saturday on sex-trafficking charges, which the Wall Street Journal calls “a dramatic turn in a yearslong legal saga related to allegations of his activities with underage girls.” Epstein is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Monday on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy. The charges relate to alleged activity between 2002 and 2005 in New York and Florida. The arrest resulted from an investigation by the FBI and the public-corruption unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.
Epstein, 66, is a former asset manager who has been friends with former President Clinton, President Trump, Prince Andrew, and other world leaders and prominent businessmen. Federal authorities investigated Epstein for alleged sex abuse more than a decade ago. That case ended in 2007, with Epstein signing a secret nonprosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in Florida. He pleaded guilty to two state prostitution-related felonies and served a 13-month jail sentence in Palm Beach, during which time he was allowed to leave for “work-release” privileges. A Florida federal judge iruled this year that the prosecutors who oversaw the agreement violated a federal law by concealing the deal from Epstein’s alleged underage victims. Last year, a series of articles in the Miami Herald drew renewed attention to the allegations against Epstein and to the nonprosecution agreement in Florida. Manhattan federal prosecutors have spoken with lawyers for women who allege Epstein and several associates recruited dozens of teenage girls for sex, keeping them for his sexual abuse at his properties and lending them out to his friends and business associates.