FBI Investigating US Financier Epstein’s Death

The wealthy US financier Jeffrey Epstein, indicted on charges he trafficked underage girls for sex, committed suicide in prison, US news media reported on August 10, 2019. / AFP

 

The FBI is investigating the apparent suicide in a New York prison of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, the Justice Department said Saturday.

The department’s Bureau of Prisons made the announcement as questions were raised as to how a high-profile inmate who had apparently attempted to kill himself last month could take his life in what is supposed to be a highly secure federal facility in downtown Manhattan.

Epstein was charged with trafficking girls for sex.

READ ALSO: US Financier Epstein Commits Suicide In Prison

The bureau said Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center “from an apparent suicide.”

It said staff began life-saving measures and Epstein was eventually rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“The FBI is investigating the incident,” said the bureau.

AFP

US Labour Secretary Alex Acosta Resigns Over Epstein Case

US President Donald Trump (L) and US Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta address the media early July 12, 2019 at the White House in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned Friday, amid a backlash over a secret plea deal he negotiated a decade ago with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier accused of sexually abusing young girls.

“I called the president this morning and told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside,” Acosta said in a joint appearance with President Donald Trump at the White House.

Acosta, 50, a former federal prosecutor, has been facing mounting calls to resign over the deal that saw Epstein serve just 13 months in a county jail.

Trump said the decision to go came from Acosta, who telephoned the president Friday morning. He described Acosta as a “tremendous talent” and “great secretary of labor” who had done a “very good job.”

Epstein, 66, was charged on Monday by prosecutors in New York with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

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Those charges carry a maximum of 45 years in prison.

According to prosecutors, Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage teen girls at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005. Some were as young as 14.

Acosta fielded a barrage of questions Wednesday from reporters about his office’s handling of the Epstein case when he was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

The deal reached with Epstein required him to admit a single state charge of soliciting prostitution from a minor and register as a sex offender.

Acosta said prosecutors agreed to the deal rather than take Epstein to trial on more serious charges because that would have been a “roll of the dice”.

AFP

New Epstein Victim Goes Public As Trump Labour Secretary Defends Plea Deal

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta speaks during a press conference July 10, 2019 at the Labor Department in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

 

US President Donald Trump’s labor secretary on Wednesday defended his handling of a secret plea deal he made with Jeffrey Epstein as another woman came forward to allege she was raped by the billionaire hedge fund manager.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, 50, a former federal prosecutor, has been facing mounting calls to resign over the decade-old plea deal that saw Epstein serve just 13 months in county jail.

Epstein, 66, was charged on Monday by prosecutors in New York with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

Those charges carry a maximum of 45 years in prison.

According to prosecutors, Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage teen girls at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005. Some were as young as 14.

The well-connected Epstein, whose friends have included Trump, former president Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, faced similar allegations of sexually abusing girls in Florida a decade ago.

During a 50-minute press conference, Acosta replied to a barrage of questions from reporters about his office’s handling of the Epstein case when he was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

The deal reached with Epstein required him to plead guilty to a single state charge of soliciting prostitution from a minor and register as a sex offender.

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Acosta said prosecutors agreed to the deal rather than take Epstein to trial on more serious charges because that would have been a “roll of the dice”

“The goal here was straightforward,” he said.

“Put Epstein behind bars, ensure he registered as a sexual offender, provide victims with the means to seek restitution, and protect the public by putting them on notice that a sexual predator was in their midst.”

Acosta welcomed the revived charges against Epstein but demurred when asked whether he should apologize to the victims in the Florida case.

“We were trying to do the right thing for the victims,” Acosta said. “I understand that individuals may say that this was not enough.

“I’m glad to see that it’s happening now,” he said. “He’s a bad man and needs to be put away.”

‘He raped me’

Earlier Wednesday, another alleged victim of Epstein went public with her claim that he raped her when she was 15 years old.

Jennifer Araoz, 32, told NBC News that she was recruited by a woman outside her New York City high school in 2001 to meet Epstein at his Manhattan townhouse.

“I was kind of a lost kid and she sensed it,” Araoz said.

Araoz said she initially only talked with Epstein during her visits but one day he took her to a room with a massage table on the floor.

She said he manipulated her into stripping down to her panties and giving him a massage while he masturbated. Epstein paid her $300.

Araoz said that in the fall of 2002, Epstein raped her.

“He raped me, forcefully raped me,” Araoz said, adding that she did not return to his home after that day.

She said she was afraid at the time of going to the authorities.

“I was really frightened of Epstein,” she said. “He knew a lot of powerful people and I didn’t know what he could do to me, and I wasn’t sure that anyone could protect me.”

The two top Democrats in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, both called this week for Acosta’s resignation.

Trump told reporters on Tuesday that Acosta has been an “excellent secretary of labor.”

“The rest of it, we will have to look at,” Trump said. “But you’re talking about a long time ago.”

Trump described Epstein as a “terrific guy” in a 2002 New York magazine article, but he said Tuesday that he was “not a fan of his.”

“I had a falling out with him a long time ago,” Trump said without elaborating. “I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years.

“I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you,” he said.

AFP

Billionaire Arrested On Sex Trafficking Charges In The US

 

A hedge fund billionaire has been arrested on sex trafficking charges in the New York area, after having long been followed by accusations of molesting young girls, US media reported.

Jeffrey Epstein, who is expected to appear before a federal magistrate on Monday, was arrested Saturday at a New Jersey airport after arriving from Paris in his private jet, CBS Miami reported.

A source familiar with the case told the television station Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

Epstein had long been the subject of accusations of paying young girls for sexual massages at his Palm Beach, Florida mansion.

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A police investigation found that he had engaged in sex with underage girls, some as young as 13, according to reporting by the Miami Herald.

But Epstein avoided federal prosecution in those cases with a 2007 plea deal negotiated by R. Alexander Acosta, now the US labor secretary and at the time the top federal prosecutor in Miami.

Under the deal, he pleaded guilty to a state charge of soliciting prostitution from a minor and was sentenced to 18 months in the county jail.

The Miami Herald investigation found that Epstein was granted work release privileges that allowed him to leave jail for 12 hours a day, six days a week, and that he was released after 13 months.

The revelations threw a spotlight on Epstein, a well-connected financier whose friends included US President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton.

It also drew attention to Acosta’s role in negotiating the plea deal.