- Financier Jeffrey Epstein was arrested Saturday on charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, and he pleaded not guilty in court in New York on Monday.
- Epstein’s past intersects with plenty of famous figures; the financier bragged about his “collection” of friends in his elite social circle.
- One of those connections was President Donald Trump.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
New York financier Jeffrey Epstein appeared in court Monday after his arrest Saturday night on charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. He pleaded not guilty.
Newly unsealed court documents detail the extent of Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking operation, which were said to take place in locations including his Palm Beach, Florida and Manhattan residences between at the years of 2002 and 2005.
Epstein is said to have sexually abused girls as young as 14, the documents allege, with dozens of minors enticed, recruited, transported, and paid “hundreds of dollars in cash” for sex acts under the guise of “massages,” according to court documents.
The financier’s past includes him bragging about his “collection” of famous friends, which include President Donald Trump, who said he’d known Epstein for “fifteen years” in a 2002 New York Magazine profile.
“Terrific guy,” Trump told New York Magazine in 2002. “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.”
Here are all the known connections between Trump and Epstein.
Trump’s Labour Secretary was the federal prosecutor who signed Epstein’s unconstitutional 2008 plea deal
Trump’s strongest line to the case at hand is his association with Alexander Acosta, who he hand-picked to be his Labour Secretary in 2017. Acosta formerly worked as a federal prosecutor in Miami, where he signed the 2008 secret plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal prosecution and serve limited jail time.
During Acosta’s Senate confirmation hearing for his Cabinet position, he was questioned about the secret Epstein plea deal, which a Palm Beach district judge ruled unconstitutional in February, because it violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.
“We decided […] that Mr. Epstein should plead guilty to two years, register as a sexual offender and concede liability so the victims could get restitution,” Acosta said in response to Senator Tim Kaine asking if he approved the deal despite opposition from prosecutors in his office. “If that were done, the federal interest would be satisfied and we woulddefer=”defer”to the state.”
Acosta isn’t the only high-ranking member of Trump’s administration with a direct tie to Epstein. Attorney General William Barr said in his confirmation hearings that he might recuse himself on overseeing matters related to Epstein.
Barr’s reasoning was that he formerly served as counsel to Washington, DC law firm Kirkland & Ellis – the same law firm that Acosta worked at with Epstein’s attorney, Jay Lefkowitz, before the two agreed on his 2008 plea deal. Barr’s father also reportedly hired Epstein as a maths teacher at Manhattan’s elite K-12 Dalton school.
An alleged victim said that Epstein’s network reached out to her while she was working at Mar-a-Lago
At least one accuser was working at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago when they were allegedly recruited into Epstein’s supposed sex trafficking operation, according to documents filed in a 2015 civil suit.
Virginia Giuffre filed a civil suit against Epstein’s reported former girlfriend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, in 2015, accusing Maxwell of recruiting her into “sexual slavery” as a 15-year-old in 1999. She then worked as a locker room attendant at Mar-a-Lago, which Epstein and Maxwell allegedly frequented, and she claims Maxwell approached her while she was working at Trump’s resort to recruit her into giving Epstein a massage.
A photo from 2000 shows Trump, First Lady Melania Trump (then Melania Knauss), Epstein, and Maxwell at the resort together. The photo at the top of the page is of the two together in Palm Beach in 1997.
Epstein noted Trump’s contact information in his infamous “black book” and let Trump use his private jet
Trump’s name and contact information also appear in Epstein’s “black book” that kept track of his friends and associates.
A Gawker writer obtained Epstein’s black book in 2015, after it “turned up in court proceedings” following Epstein’s former house manager, Alex Rodriguez’s, attempt to sell it in 2009. Rodriguez circled about 50 entries in the book, including Trump’s, although the significance of the circles is not known, and Rodriguez died in 2014.
Before his death, Rodriguez did describe the book as the “Holy Grail” to unravelling Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking operation, and he tried to sell it for $US50,000 to an attorney who sued Epstein on behalf of alleged victims. Rodriguez was then charged with obstruction of justice and served an 18-month prison sentence.
In Trump’s entry, which Gawker redacted identifying information from, both his New York and Palm Beach addresses are listed, along with 14 phone numbers, including at least two of “Milania’s” numbers, a person identified as “Howard Wilson Houseman,” “Trump Security,” and a person identified as “Norma direct emergency contact,” who was likely Trump’s now-deceased longtime executive assistant.
Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown noted in an interview with MSNBC that Trump also took advantage of Epstein’s private jet, though perhaps not as much as Epstein’s other associates, “because, you know, Trump had his own plane.”
“But they had a lot of social relationships,” Brown, who exposed the ramifications of Epstein’s secret plea deal, told MSNBC. “And the other interesting thing is Trump had a modelling agency, and Epstein also had a stake in a modelling agency, which they suspect he used to bring in underage girls from overseas.”
“There is a comment in one of the court files where Epstein is quoted as saying, ‘I want to set up my modelling agency the same way Trump set up his modelling agency,'” Brown continued. “I don’t know what that means, but it is curious he was trying to do something similar to Trump.”
In 2015, a Gawker writer reached out to Trump about his name appearing in Epstein’s black book. A spokesperson for Trump responded with “Mr. Trump only knew Mr. Epstein as Mr. Trump owns the hottest and most luxurious club in Palm Beach, [redacted], and Mr. Epstein would go there on occasion.”
Trump was once accused of raping a 13-year-old girl at Epstein’s Manhattan residence, but the case was dismissed
A suit alleging that Trump knowingly raped a 13-year-old in Epstein’s Manhattan residence was filed in 2016, but was then voluntarily dismissed by the anonymous Jane Doe accuser.
The complaint, brought against Trump and Epstein, alleges that the victim attended multiple parties at Epstein’s residence in the summer of 1994 that Trump also attended. An anonymous witness claimed to be an employee of Epstein.
The plaintiff alleged that she “was enticed by promises of money and a modelling career to attend a series of parties, with other similarly situated minor females” at Epstein’s Manhattan residence. Trump was said to have attended at least four of the same parties, and to have known the plaintiff was 13-years-old, since he knew her for the previous 7 years, too.
The document alleges that Trump repeatedly initiated sexual contact with the plaintiff, then on the fourth encounter at one of Epstein’s parties, tied her to a bed, exposed himself, and “forcibly raped” her.
“During the course of this savage sexual attack, Plaintiff loudly pleaded with Defendant Trump to stop but with no effect,” the document alleges. “Defendant Trump responded to Plaintiff’s pleas by violently striking Plaintiff in the face with his open hand and screaming that he would do whatever he wanted.”
The plaintiff further alleged that Epstein raped her after Trump, and that both told her she and her family would be killed if she ever revealed the details of what had happened. Trump and Epstein denied the accusations. One attorney said the unnamed accuser backed out due to threats.
That Manhattan residence is located on East 71st Street in the Upper East Side, and is one of the largest townhouses in the city, with somewhere between 21,000 and 50,000 square feet and 7 and 9 stories, with at least 40 rooms. Federal prosecutors are currently seeking the forfeiture of Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, where investigators have already found “hundreds” of nude photos of apparently underage girls.
Trump reportedly once hosted an exclusive party at Mar-a-Lago with Epstein and “28 girls”
A former Trump associate told The New York Times that Trump and Epstein were once the only other attendees at a Mar-a-Lago party with more than two dozen women.
Former Trump associate George Houraney told The Times that the women were flown into Palm Beach, Florida, in 1992 for a “calendar girl” competition at Trump’s request.
“At the very first party, I said, ‘Who’s coming tonight? I have 28 girls coming,'” Houraney said. “It was him and Epstein.”
He added: “I said: ‘Donald, this is supposed to be a party with VIPs. You’re telling me it’s you and Epstein?'”
Houraney said he apparently warned Trump about Epstein on another occasion.
“Look, Donald, I know Jeff really well, I can’t have him going after younger girls,” Houraney recalled telling Trump. “He said: ‘Look I’m putting my name on this. I wouldn’t put my name on it and have a scandal.'”
Trump spoke enthusiastically about his relationship with Epstein until recently
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Epstein and Trump were photographed together and attended the same dinner parties, according to The Times.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York magazine in 2002. “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.”
But after Epstein was arrested on sex-trafficking charges on July 6, Trump distanced himself from the financier.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on July 9, Trump said he knew Epstein “like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,” according to the New York Times.
“I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you,” he said.
Trump isn’t the only president in Epstein’s elite social circle
Trump isn’t the only politician or famous figure with a direct link to Epstein. Former President Bill Clinton flew on Epstein’s plane several times in the early 2000s.
“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,” according to a statement released by Clinton on Monday. “In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s aeroplane: one to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation.”
The statement says that staff along with the Secret Service were on those trips and with Clinton during a meeting at Epstein’s Harlem office and during a “brief” visit to Epstein’s residence in New York.
“He’s not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade,” the statement says.
On Saturday, when asked by reporters about Epstein’s arrest,Trump said, “I don’t know anything about it.”
Neither the White House nor the Trump Organisation responded to INSIDER’s requests for comment.
- Read more:
- Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein once flew Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey to Africa
- Meet Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier reportedly arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking who’s rubbed elbows with Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Kevin Spacey
- Jeffrey Epstein: Trump once praised billionaire charged with sex trafficking minors for liking women ‘on the younger side’
- Prosecutors want to seize financier Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion where they say he trafficked teenage girls for sexual encounters
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.