With today’s arrest of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, there is material for both intrigue and tragedy. Presidents have turned a blind eye, and an attorney has perverted justice, as dozens of sexually abused girls were left behind as victims.
Amidst the scattered reporting of events that have unravelled over the past decade, here’s a list of the top five things to know when catching up with the Epstein arrest.
1. “The Deal of a Lifetime“
Today is not the first time authorities have moved to hold Epstein accountable. In 2007, Epstein was facing charges for maintaining a network of minors who he would routinely coerce into sexual acts.
In what the Miami Herald has called “the deal of a lifetime,” Epstein’s lawyer was able to pull some strings with an old colleague, Miami’s federal prosecutor, Alexander Acosta. If Epstein agreed only to plead guilty to two prostitution charges, the federal indictment, some 53 pages long, would be dropped.
Epstein managed to secure only 13 months in county jail. He was also guaranteed a non-prosecution agreement, effectively shutting down an FBI probe, all without the need to notify his victims of the deal.
2. Establishing a network
In order to ensure a regular stream of young girls, Epstein would commission victims to recruit other girls for him to abuse. Epstein paid each girl significant sums which he would increase when “victim-recruiter[s]” brought him other minors.
In this manner, Epstein was able to expand a substantial network of victims.
As retired Police Chief Michael Reiter, put it to the Miami Herald, “this was not a ‘he said, she said’ situation. This was 50-something ‘shes’ and one ‘he’—and the ‘shes’ all basically told the same story.”
3. Epstein’s Associates
Between 2002 and 2005, Epstein did not work alone in recruiting and luring girls to his Palm Beach estate.
When Epstein would travel from New York to Palm Beach, associates and employees of Epstein would ensure “victims were available for encounters upon his arrival in Florida,” according to the hedge fund manager’s indictment.
In Epstein’s deal with federal prosecutor Acosta, both parties agreed to the immunity of “any potential co-conspirators.”
4. Connections to presidents and a “well-known prime minister”
Epstein is a well-connected man.
According to Global News, there are filings from a 2015 defamation case that describe “not only descriptions of sexual abuse by Epstein, but also new allegations of sexual abuse by several other prominent individuals, ‘including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well‐known Prime Minister.”
Among Epstein’s close relations number both Donald Trump and Bill Clinton—and there is evidence to show either of whom may have known about Epstein’s supposed crimes.
Take for example Trump’s 2002 statements to New York Magazine: “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it—Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
For Clinton’s part, he is reported as having taken some 26 trips aboard Epstein’s private jet, which was termed the “Lolita Express.” These trips were sometimes done without the supervision of Clinton’s Secret Service detail.
A tweet from Christine Pelosi, the daughter of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, helps to move these already turning heads.
“It is quite likely that some of our faves are implicated but we must follow the facts and let the chips fall where they may—whether on Republicans or Democrats,” Pelosi writes.
5. The work of journalists
At a press conference this morning, Manhattan Attorney Geoffrey Berman admitted authorities “were assisted by some excellent investigative journalism.”
It was the work of independent investigator Mike Cernovich who launched a 2017 lawsuit to reveal Epstein’s records as well as the later work of the Miami Herald, particularly of the reporter Julie K. Brown, that brought the malfeasance surrounding Epstein to national attention. Brown spoke to over 80 victims and continues to be involved in the case.
With the journalism finally pulling off, one can only hope all the criminals involved meet justice, and the many victims find some peace in the retribution of a court.