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‘His Acts Are Despicable’: Key Moments in the Case Against Jeffrey Epstein


The sex-trafficking charges filed against Jeffrey Epstein this week in Manhattan underscored the long scope of the investigation into accusations that he engaged in sexual acts with girls, some as young as 14, in both his Upper East Side townhouse and his residence in Palm Beach, Fla.

The allegations against Mr. Epstein stretch back to at least 2002. Around the same time, a spate of media coverage pushed Mr. Epstein from a somewhat enigmatic money manager to a more public figure. Here’s how the saga unfolded.

Starting as early as 2002, according to the recent indictment, Mr. Epstein began sexually abusing and exploiting dozens of girls.

Mr. Epstein also asked some of the girls to recruit other girls, then paid them for bringing them to him, the indictment said. As a result, Mr. Epstein created a network of vulnerable young women he could sexually exploit, which prosecutors said he continued to do through at least 2005.

The sex-trafficking accusations covered in the current indictment in Manhattan end the same year.

By 2007, federal prosecutors had prepared a 53-page indictment of Mr. Epstein.

At the same time, according to court records obtained by the Herald, emails between Mr. Epstein’s lawyers and prosecutors discussed a possible plea deal.

In October 2007, Mr. Acosta met with one of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers for breakfast, according to the Herald, during which they struck a deal that would help conceal the full accusations against Mr. Epstein and allow him to avoid a lengthy sentence.

It took months for the deal, a nonprosecution agreement, to be finalized. All the while, Mr. Epstein’s accusers were told the investigation was ongoing, and the F.B.I. continued its work.

In June 2008, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges of solicitation of prostitution and solicitation of prostitution with a minor. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail and was required to register as a sex offender after his release.

Mr. Epstein’s victims have said that prosecutors did not tell them about the deal, even though federal law required they be told of major developments involving their complaints. Two of Mr. Epstein’s victims filed a lawsuit against the federal government, accusing them of violating their rights.

Mr. Epstein entered the Palm Beach County jail — not a state prison or federal facility — in July 2008. While there, he was allowed to leave the facility six days a week to work out of his office.

Mr. Epstein was released in July 2009, five months early. His deal wouldn’t become public until September of that year.

By that time, several of Mr. Epstein’s victims had filed civil lawsuits in which they claimed they had been molested or abused by Mr. Epstein when they were underage. Mr. Epstein and his lawyers began working to settle them.

In March of 2011, two of Mr. Epstein’s victims filed a motion in court accusing prosecutors of violating their rights by keeping the deal secret. In September, a judge ruled that their lawsuit could go forward. It remains active eight years later.

However, Reid Weingarten, Mr. Epstein’s lawyer, said the allegations in the current indictment were previously settled in that agreement.

Mr. Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges. He could face up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

Mr. Acosta also said that day that he supported the new charges brought against Mr. Epstein for crimes that he previously had described as “horrific” on Twitter.

“His acts are despicable,” Mr. Acosta said on Wednesday.

But by Friday, Mr. Acosta called Mr. Trump and said he would step aside, the president said.

Additional reporting by Nefertari Elshiekh


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