Trump friend, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, to be arraigned in sexual cases

Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire sexual predator currently under investigation in connection with the disappearance of 11 girls, will be arraigned on solicitation of prostitution charges on Monday after spending two years evading prosecution.

Judge John Murphy will preside over the plea hearing, which will occur in a Palm Beach court on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. According to court records, Epstein can answer the charges with his legal team or by pleading not guilty. On Wednesday Epstein’s attorneys were presented with a Manhattan grand jury indictment.

Epstein, a financier and friend of US presidents, became ensnared in a police investigation in 2008 after being called in to testify. He disappeared after the testimony and, aside from a few trips to Florida, has remained an unincarcerated fugitive.

Among his alleged victims, Epstein is said to have had sex with underaged girls on his private jets, at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion and at his New York City apartment.

Four girls who spoke to authorities in connection with the case said they were between 13 and 17 years old when they met Epstein in Palm Beach. Another said she was 14.

Prostitution is a felony in New York state. Among those interviewed by police said that they were offered and agreed to sex acts on the plane but did not comply.

All the girls later gave up the case. One also said she had an affair with Donald Trump.

Amid a swirl of speculation, one victim has come forward with a new account of her alleged sexual relationship with Epstein: “In court papers filed by the woman, called Jane Doe No 2, she claims that she was hired to lure underaged girls from Washington DC to Epstein’s New York apartment, where they would receive sex acts from Epstein, his friends and other adults,” the Guardian reported.

The Guardian has redacted the location of the apartment.

Epstein’s attorneys have insisted he is innocent. “In 2014,” the New York Times reported last month, “Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers argued that ‘current administration policies’ had thwarted the case and said their client was a victim of ‘religious persecution’ because ‘he is a conservative Christian who also hates the LGBT community’. The government, however, asserted in court filings that Epstein had ‘concocted a vicious, misogynistic campaign … to deflect attention from his sex crimes and cover his crimes and hide his criminal conduct’.”

Epstein, a major Democratic donor, met Bill Clinton, George W Bush and George HW Bush at his West Palm Beach mansion while under investigation by Palm Beach police.

In 2008 Epstein went missing, infuriating his many victims. He has not been seen since the testimony in Palm Beach.

Epstein’s relatives are well-known donors to Hillary Clinton. Darryl George, Epstein’s adopted son, donated $25,000 to Clinton’s campaign committee, the Guardian reported in 2012. It is not clear if he has supported her since she has been president.

Epstein’s legal team also includes Tamara L. Sutton, whose clients include the financier Lanny Davis, who once worked for Bill Clinton, billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump and the actor Sylvester Stallone.

Lanny Davis, whose clients include the financier Jeffrey Epstein, testified at his hearing in Palm Beach in 2008. Photograph: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

The billionaire businessman Brad Grey, whose older brother Tom was Jimmy McMillan, founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, and whom he also fondly recalled as a much younger man in an interview with Yahoo News in 2007, is listed on Epstein’s state filing as his friend.

Since his disappearance, several women have gone public and the Secret Service has assigned a team of agents to his case, according to CNN.

Epstein will be arraigned on Monday.

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