Editor's note: Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in New York on July 6, 2019, and faced federal charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. On August 10, 2019, he died in an apparent jailhouse suicide. For more information, see The Daily Beast's reporting here.
Hedge-fund manager Jeffrey Epstein completed his sentence for soliciting prostitution with a minor last week. But it appears his problems may not be over. Now The Daily Beast has learned that:
• Federal investigators continue to investigate Epstein’s activities, to see whether there is evidence of child trafficking—a far more serious charge than the two in his non-prosecution agreement, the arrangement between Epstein and the Department of Justice allowing him to plead guilty to lower-level state crimes. Trafficking can carry a 20-year sentence.
• The FBI is also investigating Epstein’s friend Jean Luc Brunel, whose MC2 modeling agency appears to have been a source of girls from overseas who ended up on Epstein’s private jets.
Because Epstein’s predatory habits stretch back many years and involved dozens of young-looking girls, there may well be more evidence to uncover.
Under the concept of double jeopardy, Epstein can no longer be prosecuted for any of the charges covered by his non-prosecution agreement, in which he agreed to serve a short term of incarceration, fund the civil suits of named victims, and register as a sex offender. The victims who accepted cash settlements in these civil suits agreed not to testify against him or speak publicly about the case. However, new evidence developed by the Department of Justice on other offenses not covered by the agreement, including allegations by additional victims who come forward, could lead to new charges. There is no statute of limitations in the federal sex-trafficking law, which was also enacted by the state of Florida in 2002. Because his predatory habits stretch back many years and involved dozens of young-looking girls, there may well be more evidence to uncover. (Several young women who claim to be Epstein victims have recently contacted a Ft. Lauderdale lawyer, but to date no new civil complaints have been filed.)
These new developments come one week after the publication of two articles in The Daily Beast about Epstein’s pattern of sexual contact with underage girls, which Palm Beach police began investigating in 2005 and the U.S. Attorney’s office then settled in a 2007 plea deal. The first article quoted a deposition by then-Palm Beach Chief of Police Michael Reiter, in which he stated that Epstein, a billionaire with many powerful friends, had received special treatment in both his plea deal and the terms of his incarceration. Although federal investigators at one point produced a draft 53-page indictment against Epstein, he was eventually allowed to plead guilty to only two relatively minor state charges and receive a short term of incarceration: 13 months in the county jail, during which he went to the office every day, and one year of community control, during which he traveled frequently to New York and his private island in the Virgin Islands.
The Daily Beast has now discovered another instance in which Epstein apparently received special consideration: As a convicted sex offender, he is required by law to undergo an impartial psychological evaluation prior to sentencing and to receive psychiatric treatment during and after incarceration. This is because child molesters tend to be repeat offenders with high rates of recidivism. According to a source in law enforcement, however, Epstein was allowed to submit a report by his private psychologist, Dr. Stephen Alexander of Palm Beach, Florida, whose phone has since been disconnected with no forwarding information.
The Daily Beast’s second article provided details about Epstein’s systematic abuse of underage girls at his Palm Beach mansion, where members of his staff allegedly recruited and paid a parade of teenagers, most of them 16 or younger, to perform daily massages that devolved into masturbation, groping, and sometimes full-blown sexual contact. It also revealed a monetary relationship between Epstein and Jean Luc Brunel, a frequent visitor to whom he gave $1 million around the same time that Brunel was starting his MC2 modeling agency. Some of the young girls MC2 recruited from overseas—often from Eastern Europe and South America—are known to have been passengers on Epstein’s private jets.
The U.S. Attorney General’s Office in Florida says that it is against policy to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation. Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyer, Jack Goldberger, says he has no knowledge of an ongoing probe, and he told The Daily Beast, "Jeffrey Epstein has fully complied with all state and federal requirements that arise from the prior proceedings in Palm Beach. There are no pending civil lawsuits. There are not and should not be any pending criminal investigations, given Mr. Epstein’s complete fulfillment of all the terms of his non-prosecution agreement with the federal government."
Conchita Sarnoff has developed multimedia communication programs for Fortune 500 companies and has produced three current-events debate TV programs, The Americas Forum, From Beirut to Kabul, and a segment for The Oppenheimer Report . She is writing a book about child trafficking in America.