After arrest, Epstein challenges victims in Florida court
FORT LAUDERDALE (AP):
Financier Jeffrey Epstein is entangled in two legal fights that span the East Coast, challenging his underage sexual-abuse victims in a Florida court hours after he was indicted on sex-trafficking charges in a separate case in New York.
The timing of the New York indictment against Epstein was unexpected, coming as a Florida judge mulled what to do about the government’s violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.
Epstein’s lawyer, Roy Black, filed a response late Monday on the Florida case after a federal judge ruled prosecutors improperly failed to consult victims when cutting a non-prosecution plea deal in 2008 that allowed Epstein to plead guilty to lesser state charges.
Epstein’s filing contends the victims go too far in trying to remedy that violation by removing the plea deal’s immunity provisions for other people and opening the door for Epstein to be federally prosecuted in Florida again.
The filing came shortly after a dishevelled Epstein, wearing a blue jail uniform, appeared Monday in a federal court in Manhattan and was charged in an unsealed federal indictment with sex trafficking and conspiracy during the early 2000s. He could get up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
Epstein pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers said the new allegations were settled in the Florida plea deal.
New York prosecutors said Monday they are not barred by that plea deal, and revealed they discovered a “vast trove” of lewd photographs of young women or girls during a weekend raid in his New York City mansion.
Authorities also found papers and phone records corroborating the alleged crimes, and a massage room still set up the way accusers said it appeared, prosecutors said.