What did Epstein's famous friends know and see?




Financier Teenage Girls
Financier Teenage Girls  

WASHINGTON (AP) - Jeffrey Epstein has hobnobbed with some of the world's most powerful people during his jet-setting life. Future President Donald Trump called him a "terrific guy." Former President Bill Clinton praised his intellect and philanthropic efforts and was a frequent flyer aboard his private jet.

The arrest of the billionaire financier on child sex trafficking charges is raising questions about how much his high-powered associates knew about the hedge fund manager's interactions with underage girls, and whether they turned a blind eye to potentially illegal conduct.

It's also putting new scrutiny on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who, as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, was involved in a 2008 secret plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal charges.

The White House did not respond to repeated questions Monday about when Trump was last in contact with Epstein or if he had witnessed Epstein engage in illegal activity with underage girls.

In his most extensive known public comments about Epstein, Trump told New York magazine in 2002 that he'd known the financier for 15 years and praised him as a "terrific guy."

"He's a lot of fun to be with," Trump was quoted as saying. "It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it - Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten has since distanced Trump from Epstein, telling Politico in 2017 that Trump "had no relationship with Mr. Epstein and had no knowledge whatsoever of his conduct."

Asked about the charges on Sunday, Trump said, "I don't know about it."

Epstein was also an associate of Clinton's, repeatedly lending the former president his jet to travel overseas. Flight logs obtained by Fox News showed the former president took at least 26 trips aboard Epstein's Boeing 727, nicknamed the "Lolita Express," from 2001 to 2003. That "included extended junkets around the world with Epstein and fellow passengers identified on manifests by their initials or first names, including 'Tatiana,'" the outlet found.

"Jeffrey is both a highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of twenty-first-century science," Clinton told New York magazine though a spokesman for that same 2002 story. "I especially appreciated his insights and generosity during the recent trip to Africa to work on democratization, empowering the poor, citizen service, and combating HIV/AIDS."

Clinton spokesman Angel Ureña said the former president "knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York." He said that, in 2002 and 2003, Clinton took four trips on Epstein's plane with multiple stops and that staff and his Secret Service detail traveled on every leg.

"He's not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein's ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida," Ureña added.

Also back in the spotlight is Acosta, Trump's labor secretary, due to his role in the deal that ended an earlier investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls. The deal allowed Epstein to avoid federal charges and a possible life sentence. Instead, Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges and served 13 months in jail, during which he was allowed to leave for work during the day.

"I want real justice for these underage survivors - and Acosta to finally answer for his weak plea agreement," tweeted Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was among a number of congressional Democrats who had asked the Justice Department to reopen the case.

The White House did not respond to questions Monday about Acosta's future. The Department of Labor referred questions to the Department of Justice, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had told reporters in February that the White House was looking into Acosta's handling of the case, but she never offered further details. Trump said in February that he didn't know much about the case but volunteered that Acosta had done "a great job" as labor secretary. As for the Epstein case, Trump added, "That seems like a long time ago."

Acosta has previously called the deal appropriate.

Epstein is accused of paying underage girls hundreds of dollars in cash for massages and then molesting them at his homes in Florida and New York. He "intentionally sought out minors and knew that many of his victims were in fact under the age of 18," according to prosecutors, who said he also paid some of his victims to "recruit additional girls to be similarly abused."

Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday to sex trafficking charges.

___

Follow Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj

COMMENTS

More Related News

Millions of Barrels of Iranian Oil Are Piled Up in China
Millions of Barrels of Iranian Oil Are Piled Up in China's Ports

(Bloomberg) -- Tankers are offloading millions of barrels of Iranian oil into storage tanks at Chinese ports, creating a hoard of crude sitting on the doorstep of the world's biggest buyer.Two and a half months after the White House banned the purchase of Iran's oil, the nation's crude is continuing

Voice Of America Ignores Reasons For Trump
Voice Of America Ignores Reasons For Trump's Criticism Of Rep. Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar, but failed to include most of the reasons for the criticism.VOA wrote "Trump has found his latest target for acerbic ridicule - a hijab-wearing Muslim newcomer to Congress named Ilhan Omar."The news agency mentioned briefly only two instances of Omar's anti-Semitic remarks, referring to one as playing "off tropes questioning the influence of Jewish money in American politics."Trump began tweeting Sunday about how the "'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen…should go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it's done."The tweets were likely aimed at Democratic Reps. Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New...

Trump renews attacks on Democratic congresswoman Omar
Trump renews attacks on Democratic congresswoman Omar
  • US
  • 2019-07-19 18:40:58Z

Somali-born U.S. congresswoman Ilhan Omar is "lucky to be where she is," President Donald Trump said on Friday, pressing on with attacks on four minority women Democratic U.S. representatives he has said should "go back" to where they came from. Trump on Thursday sought to distance himself from supporters' chants of "send her back" at a rally where he blasted Omar, as his fellow Republicans worried the sharp rhetoric might become a theme of his 2020 re-election campaign. "I'm unhappy when a congresswoman goes and says: 'I'm going to be the president's nightmare,'" Trump told reporter at the White House on Friday.

U.S. intelligence chief creates election security position
U.S. intelligence chief creates election security position

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who has drawn criticism from President Donald Trump for assessments that countered his policies, said on Friday he was creating a new position to focus solely on U.S. election security. "Election security is an enduring challenge and a top priority for the IC (international community)," Coats said in a statement. Coats said he had tapped Shelby Pierson, the DNI's crisis manager for election security during the 2018 congressional elections, for the job.

Brazil
Brazil's Petrobras refuses to refuel Iran ships due to US sanctions

US-listed Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras said Friday it will not refuel two Iranian vessels that have been stuck for weeks at a Brazilian port for fear of violating American sanctions. Washington has imposed a slate of sanctions on Tehran and companies with ties to the Islamic republic since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark nuclear pact last year. The ships Bavand and Termeh, which reportedly belong to Iranian company Sapid Shipping, arrived at Paranagua port in the southern state of Parana early last month, an official at the port told AFP.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.