The latest indictment against billionaire sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein was revealed yesterday charging him with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking. He faces up to 45 years in prison if found guilty. Epstein is accused of trafficking minors, some as young as 14 years old, between his mansions on the Upper East Side of New York City and his estate in Palm Beach.
“Finally, despite having been previously convicted of a sex offense involving an underage victim, the defendant has continued to maintain a vast trove of lewd photographs of young-looking women or girls in his Manhattan mansion…The defendant, a registered sex offender, is not reformed, he is not chastened, he is not repentant; rather, he is a continuing danger to the community and an individual who faces devastating evidence supporting deeply serious charges.” -Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for SDNY in bail denial request letter
Even more seedy, was the collection of nude photographs discovered by investigators after Epstein’s arrest that likely depict hundreds to thousands of under age girls in various stages of undress. One victim has even confirmed to authorities that she is one of those pictured and that she was in fact underage at the time. According to Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the nude photographs were found in a locked safe and had labels such as “Young [Name] + [Name],” “Misc nudes 1,” and “Girl pics nude.”
U.S. Attorney Berman provided the judge with a bail letter requesting that Epstein be held without bond due to his “extraordinarily real” flight risk status and the danger he posed to the public based on his extensive sex trafficking ring of young girls that were shuffled back and forth between New York (see his New York City mansion pictured above) and Florida. Epstein even used his desperate and often homeless victims as recruiters to work for him to provide him with more access to other girls.
Berman led a press conference yesterday where he gave some of the details outlined in the charges and asked for the public’s assistance in reporting any unknown instances of abuse by Epstein that might help the case moving forward.
“Further, the nature of the offenses he is alleged to have perpetrated—the abuse [of] dozens of underage, vulnerable girls—along with his demonstrated willingness to harass, intimidate and otherwise tamper with victims and other potential witnesses against him, render his dangerousness readily apparent.” -Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for SDNY in bail denial request letter (pictured above)
Later in the afternoon, at yesterday’s bond hearing, Magistrate Judge Robert Pitman ordered that Epstein be detained in jail for another week until the detention hearing on July 15, where prosecutors will continue to make their case that Epstein should be detained without bail pending trial for all of the reasons discussed above.
At the press conference held by the SDNY and FBI, Geoffrey Berman made a point to emphasize that the victims had been notified pursuant to the law, which was something that did not happen in 2007, when Alexander Acosta (see above pic) was handling the case involving Epstein’s earlier sex crimes in Florida. (For more on the background details of that story, I suggest you read my piece on Epstein’s Arrest here.) Even though Acosta’s earlier prosecutorial mis-steps on the Epstein case have been reported and discussed in the media, it will be significant for the public to see the SDNY prosecution now, because they will finally have a real-time, working understanding of how egregious the actions of Acosta and the judge involved in the case were back in 2007-8. What is painfully evident to everyone now is how hundreds, maybe thousands of victims would have been saved had Acosta done his job properly and not struck a sweetheart deal with Epstein to allow him such leniency and future access to more victims.
As Alexander Acosta continues to serve Donald Trump, who has many reported connections to Jeffrey Epstein himself, many are calling for Acosta’s resignation. As a legal professional, I am too. Acosta’s past actions in Florida need further investigation, particularly by the Florida Bar Association. As this process continues, the public will only continue to be outraged and how Acosta served the needs of a rich criminal with connections over his duty to the young, female victims. It’s past time for him to resign his post in Trump’s Cabinet as his Secretary of Labor.
In the meantime, SDNY federal prosecutors and the FBI are asking that anyone who may have been a victim of Jeffrey Epstein or have knowledge of any information pertaining to Epstein call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
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Amee Vanderpool writes the “Shero and a Scholar” Newsletter and is an attorney, contributor to Playboy Magazine, analyst for BBC radio and Director of The Inanna Project. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.