Jeffrey Epstein is known as a well-connected hedge-fund manager with ties to some of the most powerful people in the world.
He is also a registered sex offender.
That title comes from charges and a trial in 2008 that resulted in one of the most direct examples of how affluence can allow someone, even a serial sex offender like Epstein, to essentially get off the hook.
Investigators claimed that Epstein sexually abused upwards of 30 girls in the age range of 13-16 years old at his Palm Beach mansion around the time of the new millennium. The FBI probe also includes information about how Epstein organized a pyramid scheme-type structure to encourage his existing victims to recruit others of similar ages and schedule his “appointments.”
Though a life sentence was surely on the line, then South Florida U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta agreed to not pursue federal charges against Epstein if he plead guilty to state charges. Those resulted in an 18-month sentence, of which Epstein only served 13, and he was allowed to leave almost daily for work.
Epstein, who had homes all over the world including on his own private island near St. Thomas, is once again facing similar charges. He was once again arrested last weekend on charges of human trafficking, which involves many cases revolving around minor girls. He is pleading not guilty.
The egregious mishandling of Epstein’s previous case sent a message that the rich and powerful can get away with seemingly anything. These new charges need to send the opposite message — one that no matter your status or wealth, you will be held to the same lawful and moral standard as everyone else.
Epstein hardly travels alone. In fact, he has built a network of some of the most powerful names in the nation, and even, the world. Names like Victoria’s Secret Founder Leslie Wexner, a number of people with Rothschild blood, and even Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
It is apparent that the Clinton camp is trying to distance the former president from all things Epstein.
A Clinton spokesperson released a statement Monday night which noted, in part, that Clinton was only on Epstein’s private plane four times for “work of the Clinton Foundation.”
“President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,” the statement read.
However, experts on the case such as investigative journalist and author of “Trafficking” Conchita Sarnoff disagree.
She was among the first to reveal the allegations against Epstein and said on a Fox News segment Monday night that she has seen a multitude of pilot records that place Clinton on the plane 27 times.
Media outlets like the Daily Beast have reported similar numbers and have placed Clinton aboard Epstein’s plane — the Lolita Express — 26 times, both with and without his Secret Service detail.
Lolita is either an absurd coincidence or direct reference to the 1955 novel of the same name that tells the story of a sex-crazed, middle-aged man being obsessed with a 12-year-old girl and forcing her into a physical and emotional relationship.
By his own admission, Trump has close ties to Epstein as well.
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump said in a 2002 interview with New York magazine. “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.”
Though, Tuesday morning, spokesperson for Trump, Kellyanne Conway, said the president has not spoken with Epstein in over a decade.
Regardless of political lines, it is clear that multimillionaires like Epstein and others have a long history of seemingly getting away with a number of crimes — even human trafficking. The investigators and prosecutors involved in the current Epstein case must do their best to ensure that he and all others tied to him with irrefutable evidence are prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law.
It is 2019. In the #MeToo era, Epstein and those like him have no place in any position of power or influence and a message must be sent that this behavior will not be tolerated.