Prosecutors went to great lengths to keep secret the non-prosecution agreement reached in 2007 with Jeffrey Epstein, attorneys for the victims allege, “because of the strong objection they would have faced from victims of Epstein’s abuse, and because of the public criticism that would have resulted from allowing a politically-connected billionaire who had sexually abused more than 30 minor girls to escape … with only a county court jail sentence.”
Before any allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in 2005, Trump and Bill Clinton spoke glowingly of Epstein, and court records have included documents and testimony suggesting both men flew with Epstein on his private jets.
Court files document long-running ties between Epstein and the former president. Bill Clinton flew on at least six trips with Epstein and his entourage in 2002 and 2003 including to international destinations such as Paris, Bangkok and Brunei, according to logs kept by one of Epstein’s pilots.
And as Epstein first faced federal prosecution a few years later, one of his lawyers, Gerald B. Lefcourt, wrote to prosecutors to tout Epstein’s pedigree as “part of the original group that conceived of the Clinton Global Initiative,” according to a letter attached to Wednesday’s court filing.
At the heart of this week’s court filings is a deal Epstein reached with federal prosecutors in September of 2007 that spared him from a federal prosecution. After an extensive investigation by the Palm Beach police and the FBI, the Justice Department effectively immunized Epstein for multiple alleged offenses involving underage girls in exchange for his guilty pleas to two comparatively minor sex crimes in Florida state court. And Epstein’s lawyers persuaded the federal government to keep the terms of the agreement secret, according to the court filing by victims’ attorneys Bradley Edwards and Paul Cassell.
On the day the deal was signed, an attorney for Epstein sent an email to the federal prosecutor handling the case which read, “Please do whatever you can to keep this from becoming public,” according to an email exchange attached to Wednesday’s filing.
If he’d been charged and convicted on the federal counts, Epstein might have spent the rest of his life in prison. Instead, he now splits his time between his permanent residence – a private island estate off the coast of St. Thomas – and homes in Paris, New Mexico and New York City, where he owns what is purported to be one of the largest single-family residences in Manhattan.