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Financier Epstein pleads not guilty to U.S. sex trafficking charges

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 8, 2019 - Duration: 02:08s

Financier Epstein pleads not guilty to U.S. sex trafficking charges

American financier Jeffrey Epstein pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of sex trafficking as prosecutors accused him of luring dozens of girls as young as 14 to his luxury homes in New York and Florida and paying them for sex acts.

Jillian Kitchener has more.

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Financier Epstein pleads not guilty to U.S. sex trafficking charges

Financier Jeffrey Epstein was charged Monday with sex trafficking.

Federal prosecutors in New York accuse Epstein of luring dozens of girls to his homes - some as young as 14 years old.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, GEOFFREY BERMAN, SAYING: "Beginning in at least 2002 and continuing until 2005, Epstein is alleged to have abused dozens of victims by causing them to engage in sex acts with him at his mansion in New York and at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

The victims, all underage girls at the time of the alleged conduct, were given hundreds of dollars in cash after each encounter either by Epstein or by one of Epstein's employees." Epstein entered a plea of not guilty.

Prosecutors say he doesn't deserve bail.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, GEOFFREY BERMAN, SAYING: "We think he's a significant flight risk and that is why we are seeking detention pending trial.

He has enormous wealth.

The charges are very serious and they carry with them a maximum sentence of 45 years in jail which to someone of Epstein's age is basically a life sentence." The new charges come more than a decade after he avoided similar charges in Florida after a controversial plea deal.

Back in 2007, Epstein pleaded guilty to a reduced state charge.

He served 13 months in a county jail, but was allowed to leave during the day to go to his office, and agreed to register as a sex offender.

Epstein has said in earlier court filings that his encounters at his private home were consensual and that he believed the girls were 18 or older.

Known for socializing with politicians and royalty, Epstein once had friends including U.S. President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton.

Neither were mentioned in the indictment.

Trump praised Epstein in an interview with New York magazine in 2002.He said: β€œI’ve known Jeff for fifteen years.

Terrific guy.

He’s a lot of fun to be with.

It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side....” Epstein's bail hearing is set for July 11.

He faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

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