Financier Jeffrey Epstein has been arrested for trafficking and sexually assaulting girls at his mansion in New York.
“Oh my God. Finally, finally, finally. Justice!’ said Michelle Licata, one of Epstein’s victims who was molested by him when she was 16 years old.
Federal prosecutors were expected to unseal the new charges on Epstein as Socialist Worker went to press.
The arrest comes more than a decade after a widely criticised plea deal shielded him from similar charges in Florida.
This was despite a decade of alleged serial sexual abuse and rape of an unknowable number of girls, some as many as 100 times according to court papers.
Epstein was offered a secret plea deal by federal prosecutors, one of who is now in President Trump’s cabinet.
That deal was negotiated in part by Alexander Acosta, the former United States attorney in the Southern District of Florida, who now serves as Trump’s labor secretary.
They didn’t tell the victims about the deal until it was agreed by a judge.
Instead of facing life in prison, Epstein pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges in state court.
He served about a year in a Palm Beach jail, though he was allowed to leave the facility six days a week, 12 hours a day on work-release to his office.
Epstein has been accused of keeping vulnerable teenagers, staging orgies on board his private jet and flying girls as young as 12 to “topless parties”.
Lawyers for one 14-year-old whose stepmother initially triggered the investigation into Epstein accused Epstein in a lawsuit of cynically seeking out “economically disadvantaged underage girls”.
That was because they would be “less likely to complain to authorities or have credbility if allegations of improper conduct were made”.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre said that billionaire Jeffrey Epstein groomed her and flew her to London in 2001.
This was so Prince Andrew could have sex with her. Virginia was 17 years old, and said that she became Epstein’s “sex slave” when she was 15.
She was working as a spa attendant at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s winter home and resort in Palm Beach at the time.
She was introduced by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of crooked media mogul Robert Maxwell.
Andrew saw her three times—in London, New York and on Epstein’s private Caribbean island.
Virginia is referred to as “Jane Doe 3” in US court documents.
They said, “Epstein also trafficked Jane Doe 3 for sexual purposes to many other powerful men.”
This included “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well known prime minister and other world leaders.”
Prince Andrew resigned from his role as a trade envoy for Britain in 2011 after he was pictured with Epstein again.
The royals have repeatedly issued strong denials of any wrongdoing.
A photograph was taken in 2001 at Maxwell’s London home, where Virginia says her first sexual encounter with the prince occurred. The image shows Andrew grinning with his arm around the 17-year-old. Maxwell, also smiling, is in the background.
There were also parties at Windsor Castle and Sandringham, an exclusive dinner in St Tropez and a holiday in Thailand when Andrew was pictured on a yacht surrounded by topless women.
“He’s a lot of fun to be with,” Trump said at the time. “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.”
Epstein’s private contacts book, seized by police, leaves no doubt he was once supremely well-connected.
There is no suggestion any of the individuals named in the book participated in or knew of Epstein’s abuse of minors, or were involved in anyway.
But Epstein’s contacts book reads like a directory of the world’s global elite and their hangers-on.
Under the letter B are listed Tony Blair, Michael Bloomberg, and Richard Branson.
Elsewhere there are multiple contacts—typically at offices, homes, and via aides’ mobile phones—for Bill Clinton, Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, Dustin Hoffman, Naomi Campbell, and dozens of others.
The name that appears on page 31—opposite Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who has 16 separate telephone numbers listed. That was for Epstein’s special friend Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
Epstein owns what he claimed was the most expensive house in New York.
It has 15-foot-high oak door, huge arched windows, and nine floors.
Vanity Fair described it, “Inside, amid the flurry of menservants attired in sober black suits and pristine white gloves, you feel you have stumbled into someone’s private Xanadu. This is no mere rich person’s home, but a high-walled, eclectic, imperious fantasy that seems to have no boundaries.
“The entrance hall is decorated not with paintings but with row upon row of individually framed eyeballs; these, the owner tells people with relish, were imported from England, where they were made for injured soldiers.
“Guests are like pygmies next to the nearby twice-life-size sculpture of a naked African warrior.”
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Troublemaker looks at the week's news
Troublemaker looks at highlights of the week's news
Troublemaker looks at the week's news