The story behind Jeffrey Epstein’s first sex offender trial
In 2019, Jeffrey Epstein was arrested and charged with sex trafficking of both underage girls and of-age women. He was detained without bail and was awaiting his trial in a Manhattan prison when he took his own life on August 10, 2019. The 66-year-old faced a maximum sentence of 45 years if he had been convicted.
However, when Epstein was arrested in 2019, this wasn’t the first run in with the law regarding sexual abuse allegations and charges. In 2008, Epstein plead guilty to procuring an underage girl for prostitution, as well as soliciting a prostitute. He served almost thirteen months in custody, but the details of his detainment are controversial, at best.
The sentence in Florida for procuring a minor for prostitution is up to fifteen years in prison, along with tens of thousands of dollars in fines. The sentence for soliciting a prostitute in Florida is considered a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense, which carries up to sixty days in jail and a $500 fine.
Epstein took a plea deal, which is why he served far less than he should have. He avoided federal prosecution and accepted an eighteen-month sentence. While most convicted sex offenders are held in a state prison in Florida, Epstein even managed to avoid being in a lockup like this.
How exactly did Jeffrey Epstein’s legal team negotiate him such a cushioned deal? Here is everything we know about the details behind Jeffrey Epstein’s first sex offender trial in 2008.
Building a case
In 2005, a woman contacted the Palm Beach Police Department alleging that Jeffrey Epstein paid her 14-year-old daughter to strip out of her clothing and give Epstein a massage. The woman reported that her daughter had been led to Epstein’s mansion by an older girl.
An investigation was launched by the Palm Beach Police Department. The investigation spanned thirteen months and included heavy surveillance of Epstein’s movements and his home. These actions eventually resulted in enough evidence to obtain a search warrant to search his house where the teenager allegedly visited.
During this time, members of the Palm Beach Police department claim that Epstein had been tipped off by someone about their investigation. Several members of the police department claim that Epstein was performing his own surveillance, following them at all times.
During the investigation, Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter publicly accused the Palm Beach County Prosecutor of being too lenient on Epstein and kicked the case up to the FBI for further assistance. The FBI compiled reports of thirty-four confirmed minors whose allegations sexual abuse against Epstein contained corroborating details.
Interviews with victims and seventeen witnesses under oath, as well as a high school transcript and other various items found in Epstein’s trash allegedly showed that some of the girls involved in Epstein’s ring of sexual abuse back in 2008 were definitely underage. Clearly, the investigation revealed that the accusations against Epstein was not an isolated case and included many girls and young women.
When the Palm Beach Police Department searched Epstein’s home, they found two hidden cameras. Additionally, they also recovered a multitude of photographs of girls in the house, including photos of the girls that had been interviewed by police.
The court documents from Epstein’s case also revealed that during the search on his home, the police recovered an incriminating Amazon receipt for books on erotic servitude and sex slavery.
It is also alleged that, since Epstein had clearly been tipped off about the investigation, one of Epstein’s employees, model Adriana Ross, removed computer drives and other incriminating electronics prior to the search of his residence. After Epstein’s second arrest in 2019, Ross’ name was brought up again. The Polish model refused to answer questions and has since left the United States.
The plea deal
Alexander Acosta, who was the U.S Attorney General for the Southern District of Florida negotiated a plea deal for Epstein. Acosta was assisted in his negotiations by attorney and Harvard professor, Alan Derschowitz. The deal granted Epstein immunity from all federal criminal charges, and was extended to the four named co-conspirators, and any co-conspirators that could be named in the future.
What this means is, the deal brought the investigation against Epstein to a screeching halt, and further investigation about whether there were more victims than had already been uncovered would not continue. The indictment was sealed and details were kept from the victims.
After Epstein was arrested again in 2019, Acosta found himself under heavy criticism for how he handled the case the first time around. The White House announced in early 2020 a plan to investigate Acosta’s conduct during that time. Acosta subsequently resigned from his post on July 12, 2020.
Instead of serving his sentence at a state prison as he should have, Epstein wound up serving thirteen of his eighteen-month sentence at the Palm Beach County Stockade. This is a facility that spans seventeen acres of land, located adjacent to the South Florida Fairgrounds. Palm Beach County Stockade is designed for minimum & medium-security inmates, with only 967 beds.
The Palm Beach County Stockade houses inmates that need access to programs such as Life Skills, The Drug Farm program, Drug Education programs, and Culinary Arts programs, none of which Epstein actually needed or qualified for.
During his time at the facility, he was granted work release. This meant that six days a week, Epstein was free to leave the facility for 12 hours a day under the guise of “work”. Although he was required to register as a sex offender, he was released on his own recognizance each day.