Jeffery Epstein, a Jewish politically well-connected billionaire, has been charged with sex trafficking, according to multiple reports.
The New York Times reported that Epstein was arrested in New York and is now in custody. Two anonymous sources said he is expected to appear in federal magistrate court on Monday. CNN reported that the indictment against him alleges that the crimes took place in New York and Palm Beach, Florida.
The charges involve alleged sex trafficking crimes committed between 2002 and 2005, according to law enforcement sources.
The Daily Beast was the first to report on the charges, which cited multiple anonymous sources. Then the Associated Press reported on the arrests citing several anonymous law enforcement officers.
Epstein, 66, has been accused of abusing minors and has been the subject of lawsuits that have spanned over a decade.
He reached a non-prosecution deal in 2008 with the office of then-Miami attorney Alexander Acosta to end a federal sexual abuse investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls – which could have landed him behind bars for life.
During the investigation, he pleaded guilty to state charges, spent 13 months in jail, registered as a sex offender and paid settlements to the victims.
Acosta, who is now US President Donald Trump's labor secretary, has defended the deal as appropriate. However, in February, the Justice Department opened an investigation into the federal prosecutors' handling of the deal.
Critics of the settlement slammed Acosta for what they perceived as letting Epstein off the hook.
In May, Acosta continued defending his decision, dropping a 56-page federal indictment and arguing that his office had been even "too aggressive."
“This matter was appealed all the way up to the deputy attorney-general’s office. And not because we weren’t doing enough, but because the contention was that we were too aggressive,” Acosta told a House Education and Labor Committee hearing.
Epstein is also well connected politically and reportedly has links to Trump, former president Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Israel's former prime minister Ehud Barak.
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