Prosecutors suspected billionaire Jeffrey Epstein abused 34 underage girls but they failed to charge him and instead offered him a secret plea bargain, court documents reveal
- Prosecutor told Epstein’s lawyer she had ‘a list of 34 confirmed minors’
- She said confirmation was still needed to see if six more were 17 or 18
- Judge has released a cache of sealed documents from Epstein’s plea deal
- They show that victim notifications were delayed for months during the negotiations
Prosecutors had evidence that billionaire Jeffrey Epstein (pictured) abused 34 underage girls, court documents have revealed
Prosecutors suspected billionaire Jeffrey Epstein abused 34 underage girls – but they failed to charge him and instead offered him a secret plea bargain, court documents have revealed.
His lawyers also succeeded in delaying letters being sent out to his alleged victims informing them that their cases were not being pursued.
The letters were sent out the month after the plea deal was struck which gave him immunity from further prosecution, according to newly released papers.
A judge has released a cache of sealed documents from his plea deal in 2008 that include emails from prosecutors to his lawyers that will fuel suspicions they colluded to ensure he did not face the most serious charges.
In 2007, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana sent an email to his lawyer Jay Lefkowitz stating: ‘I wanted to tell you that I have compiled a list of 34 confirmed minors.
‘There are six others, whose name we already have, who need to be interviewed by the FBI to confirm whether they were 17 or 18 at the time of their activity with Mr. Epstein.’
The emails also suggest that prosecutors attempted to keep information about his alleged crimes from judges.
Villafana wrote to Lefkowitz in a September 19, 2007 email: ‘I will include our standard language regarding resolving all criminal liability and I will mention “co-conspirators,” but I would prefer not to highlight for the judge all of the other crimes and all of the other persons that we could charge.’
Epstein eventually pleaded guilty to a state charge – relating to prostitution – in exchange for a guarantee not to prosecute him in federal court.
But the emails have fueled speculation that the girls involved were kept in the dark about the arrangement.
Epstein’s lawyers demanded that letters to victims informing them their cases were not being pursued were not issued.
Lefkowitz wrote to prosecutors in November 2007 : ‘We do, however, strongly and emphatically object to your sending a letter [victim notification] to the alleged victims.’ He added that it would be ‘incendiary and inappropriate’ to send the letter and told of his fears of a leak to the press.
In a response days later US Alexander Acosta said he would be ‘directing our prosecutors not to issue victim notification letters until this Friday at 5pm’ so Epstein’s lawyers could ‘review’ their options over the plea deal.
Epstein’s lawyers also succeeded in delaying letters being sent out to his alleged victims informing them that their cases were not being pursued, according to newly released papers
Villafona wrote to Lefkowitz: ‘Three victims were notified shortly after the signing of the Non-Prosecution Agreement of the general terms of that Agreement. You raised objections to any victim notification, and no further notifications were done.’
Victim notifications were only sent out to 32 ‘identified victims’ about seven months after Epstein’s lawyers made their November 2007 attempt to delay the process.
Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution and released after serving 13 months.
But two women, both alleged victims of Epstein, later launched a civil lawsuit against US federal prosecutors’ handling of the financier’s conviction.
A judge has released a cache off sealed documents from Epstein’s plea deal in 2008
Lawyers for the women claimed the plea deal granting him – and any potential co-conspirators – immunity from further prosecution, violated their clients’ rights.
Earlier this year allegations surfaced that Prince Andrew had sex with an under-age teenager called Virginia Roberts, who claimed she was Epstein’s sex slave.
The claims were vehemently denied by the Duke and were removed from civil court records following a federal judge’s ruling in April.
Court papers lodged in Florida accused Andrew of abusing Miss Roberts when she was 17.
She claimed that under the orders of Epstein she was ‘forced’ to have sex with the prince three times in 2001 – in London, New York and on Epstein’s Caribbean island.
Her accusations were part of submissions made by lawyers acting for Ms Roberts who wanted to join the existing civil lawsuit launched by the two other women.
US District Judge Kenneth Marra refused Ms Roberts permission to join the lawsuit, and said in his written judgement the sex abuse details had no bearing on the lawsuit’s goal of reopening the Epstein non-prosecution agreement.
In the newly released documents, lawyers for the two women who launched the lawsuit claim that the exchanges ‘demonstrate that the victims’ allegations of a conspiracy between the Government and Epstein’s attorneys to conceal the existence of a broad, non-prosecution agreement are not mere speculation, but appear to be well supported.’
Politico reports that the lawyers for the two women claim the exchanges show both parties ‘negotiating to keep the judge in the dark about the full nature of the plea arrangement, as well as keeping the victims (i.e. “the girls”) in the dark about the plea agreement until after Epstein’s plea.’
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