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Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein Arrested On Sex Trafficking Charges

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- High-profile financier Jeffrey Espstein is in custody and set to face sex trafficking charges.

Epstein, a wealthy hedge fund manager who once counted as friends former President Bill Clinton, Great Britain's Prince Andrew, and President Donald Trump, was taken into federal custody on Saturday at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and is expected to appear Monday in Manhattan federal court, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

Law enforcement officials told the AP that Epstein was arrested for allegedly sex trafficking minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005.

New Yorkers told CBS2's Marc Liverman they were shocked to hear the news.

"It's absolutely horrific," one Upper East Side resident said. "It's horrendous because minors cannot defend themselves."

Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein (Photo: CBS2)

The new indictment will be unsealed on Monday in court. It's expected to accuse Epstein of paying underage girls cash for "massages" and then sexually abusing them. Online publication the Daily Beast reports that several of Epstein's employees and associates are accused of recruiting girls for him to abuse.

"Here the money has bigger power and I feel like if you're a billionaire you might escape the justice at some point and this pisses me off," Upper East Side resident Margot du Besset said.

"There's so many beautiful homes here. You have no idea who lives in them," another UES resident said.

Liverman went to Epstein's townhouse on East 71st Street, but no one came to the door. However, moments later a man who identified himself as a lawyer walked out of the townhouse. Liverman asked the man about the case, but got no comment.

Epstein is expected to appear before a judge at federal court sometime Monday on charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.

The charges could land him in prison for up to 45 years. In 2008, the hedge fund manager pleaded guilty in Florida to charges of soliciting and procuring minors for prostitution. He was sentenced to 13 months in jail and was required to reach settlements with his victims.

According to court records in Florida, authorities say at least 40 underage girls were brought into Epstein's Palm Beach mansion for what turned into sexual encounters after female fixers looked for suitable girls locally and in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world.

Some girls were also allegedly brought to Epstein's homes in New York City, New Mexico and a private Caribbean island, according to court documents.

Epstein's deal was overseen by former Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who is now President Donald Trump's labor secretary. Acosta has defended the plea deal as appropriate under the circumstances.

Saturday's arrest also came just days after a federal appeals court in New York ordered the unsealing of nearly 2,000 pages of records in a since-settled defamation case involving Epstein.

CBS2 reached out to Epstein's attorney about the new charges, but so far hasn't heard back.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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