Following his arrest on July 8, 2019, Jeffrey Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking. He pleaded not guilty to both charges and was remanded in jail awaiting trial after his application for bail was denied.
In August 2019, Epstein, a registered sex offender, was found dead in his cell as a result of what appeared to be an apparent suicide. But who was Jeffrey Epstein? What are the facts surrounding his arrest and accusations? What was he famous for? This article takes a detailed look at the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking case and provides a legal timeline of events leading up to his death.
1953: Born In New York City
Jeffrey Epstein was born in 1953 in New York, where he was raised with his younger brother Mark by middle-class parents in Brooklyn. Their father worked for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The Early 1970s: Attends College
Epstein attended the Cooper Union School of Engineering between 1969 and 1971but never obtained a degree. He then attended New York University between 1971 and 1974 as a visiting student but didn’t take up any specific degree program. (Different sources state that he attended the Courant School of Mathematics during that time).
1973: Becomes Teacher at Dalton School
Epstein went on to become a physics and mathematics teacher at the Dalton School – an exclusive private school located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan in the early 1970s. He landed the role during the period when Donald Barr, the father of the sitting Attorney General in Epstein’s case – William Barr. William had initially refused to recuse himself in the case.
His teaching stint, however, didn’t last long before getting dismissed for “poor performance” a few months after he first began.
1976: Epstein Joins Bear Stearns
In 1976, he hung his teaching boots and joined Bear Stearns Company Inc., a global investment bank, brokerage firm, and securities trading company. This was after he got the push he needed from one of his student’s parents, who urged him to pursue a career on Wall Street.
He joined as a low-level junior assistant before rapidly rising through the ranks to become a limited partner. In 1981 he was asked to leave abruptly due to a Regulation D Violation. He, however, remained a client of the firm until its collapse in 2008.
1981 – 1988: Launches His Own Companies
In 1981, he left to start his own consulting firm – Intercontinental Assets Group (IAG). The company’s specialty lay in recovering stolen money from fraudulent lawyers and brokers.
In 1988 he founded a financial management firm – J. Epstein & Co., whose investment portfolio had more than US$ 1 billion. One of his firm’s notable clients was Leslie Wexner, a publicly known billionaire who was the CEO and chairperson of Victoria’s Secret and L Brands.
Epstein was often seen attending Victoria’s Secret fashion shows and often hosted the models for lavish parties at this New York City home. According to a 2003 Vanity Fair article, the Wexner and Epstein were very close.
1990: Purchases Secluded Property in Palm Beach
Epstein buys the now-infamous mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, where he allegedly sexually abused several underage girls who were lured there for money. The house is partially obscured by a tall hedge overlooking a lake.
1992: Epstein Attends Party with Donald Trump
Epstein and Donald Trump attended a party together with 28 women who were specifically flown in to “provide entertainment”. They were the only people at the exclusive private pageant. Trump claims that the two had since had a falling out.
1996: Renames and Relocates Company
In 1996 he renamed his firm the Financial Trust Company and relocated it to the US Virgin Islands to reduce the amount of federal taxes he owed. According to various media reports, the company comprised 150 employees whose role was “purely administrative”.
1998: Buys Little St. James Island
Two years after moving his company to the US Virgin Islands, he went on to buy a 72-acre private island dubbed Epstein Island for $7.95 million in large part due to the millions he made in fees from managing Wexner’s financial affairs. Epstein’s net worth has been widely estimated to be in the billions, but, according to Forbes, he was likely worth a fraction of that.
Epstein reportedly employed hundreds of workers to build his island mansion along with a bizarre temple-like building on the property as well. These workers had reported signed nondisclosure agreements that barred them from divulging information about the goings-on they witnessed during their time there.
Little St. James was his primary residence, and it was where Epstein allegedly ran a sex trafficking ring with Ghislaine Maxwell, who allegedly recruited the underage girls.
The Late 1990s: Moves Into Manhattan’s Largest Mansion
Epstein’s acquisition of the mansion at 9 E. 71st St., still remains a mystery. Epstein declared it his property in an interview with the New York Times in 1996. An anonymous source who claims to be familiar with the issue claims that Wexner sold the home in 1998 to a company closely affiliated with Epstein. However, public records reveal that the title transfer wasn’t made until 2011 at no cost.
1999: Allegedly Forces Underage Girl to Have Sex with Prince Andrew
In January 2015, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a 31-year old woman, swore an affidavit in which she alleged that at the tender age of 15, Epstein held her as a sex slave against her will. She also asserted that lawyer Alan Dershowitz, Prince Andrew and Jeff Epstein were just some of the famous men that abused her for several years at the mansion in Palm Beach. She claims that she was initially approached by Maxwell while working at Mar-a-Lago, who offered to provide her with massage training before being taken to Epstein’s mansion.
Roberts later filed a lawsuit against Maxwell on the grounds of defamation. The latter settled out of court.
2002: Allegedly rapes high school student
In a TV interview, Jennifer Araoz alleges that a young woman who was waiting outside her school, approached her and took her to Epstein’s enormous New York mansion. She alleges that the financier would abuse her and pay her money over the following year culminating in forcible rape.
Also in 2002: Travels with Bill Clinton
According to the 2002 and 2003 Lolita express flight logs, former President Bill Clinton took four trips in Epstein’s private jet. Clinton’s office released a statement in which the former president asserts that he only took a total of four trips in Epstein’s jet to Asia, Europe, and twice to Africa in relation to the projects by the Clinton foundation. He also further claims that he had never been to Epstein’s residence in Florida, Zorro Ranch New Mexico, or Little St. James Island. He only made one brief visit to Epstein’s New York apartment in 2002 and had his security detail and staff member present.
One of the Epstein victims, however, claims to have once seen Clinton on the Island, an allegation Clinton fervently denies.
2005: Reported to Police by 14-year Old Girl’s Stepmother
A woman filed a report with the Palm Beach Police Department in March 2005, alleging that the financier had paid her 14-year old stepdaughter $300 to strip and massage him. This sparked a 13-month investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Epstein. The FBI released a report indicating that at least 40 minors had been sexually abused by Epstein and were eligible for restitution.
May 2006: Charged with Multiple Counts of Sex Acts Involving Minors
In May 2006, Palm Beach PD filed a probable cause affidavit in which Epstein was to be charged with one count of sexual abuse and multiple counts of sex with minors. However, the then state prosecutor Barry Krischer presented evidence from only two of the dozen-plus victims to a grand jury and subsequently returned a single felony charge – solicitation of prostitution. Epstein entered a not guilty plea to the charges in August of the same year.
July 2006: Investigated by the FBI
Due to the leniency shown to Epstein in the state’s handling of the case, the Palm Beach PD mounted pressure on the federal government to intervene. As a result, the FBI launched its own independent investigation on the charges leveled against the wealthy financier.
2007: Enters Into a Plea Deal with US Attorney
While the US attorney’s office was working on an indictment slated for June 2007, Epstein’s attorneys began negotiating for a plea deal on behalf of their client. Acosta, the US attorney, and Epstein’s attorneys entered into an agreement where Epstein would plead guilty to two felony charges.
In a bizarre twist, none of the victims would be notified of the agreement and all grand jury subpoenas would be voided so that no one would know the full extent of the financier’s crimes.
June 2008: Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison
Following the plea deal, Epstein was charged with the lesser charge of solicitation of prostitution involving a minor. He pleaded guilty to the felony and was sentenced to 18 months in prison in a plea deal that sparked public outrage. He also registered as a sex offender as part of the deal. None of the victims were present during the court hearing.
July 2008: Epstein News Reaches Accusers
When the women got the news of Epstein’s cushy deal, they immediately pursue to challenge the matter in court. This would prove to be a lengthy process.
Still In 2008: Begins the Process of Settling Suits Out of Court
A woman who preferred to stay anonymous brought a $50 million civil lawsuit against Epstein. According to court documents, the Virginia woman alleged that when she was a 16-year old minor (four years prior), she was recruited to give the wealthy financier a massage.
She claims that when she arrived at his expansive mansion, Epstein proceeded to abuse her, after which he paid her $200. Several similar suits were filed in the following months from other Epstein victims, a number of which he settled out of court.
July 2009: Released from Jail After 13 Months
Epstein served only 13 of his 18-month sentence confined in the private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade. For the remaining 5 months, he was allowed to commute to an office outside jail six days a week for up to 12 hours a day.
2011: Registers as a Sex Offender in New York City
As a now registered sex offender in New York City, Epstein was required to check with the NYPD every 90 days to verify his address. It was later revealed that he violated the check-in order and never once checked-in in the eight years leading up to his death.
2018: Public Outrage on Epstein Sexual Abuse History Renewed
In November 2018, the Miami Herald published a detailed exposé on the wealthy financier’s long history of sexual abuse allegations. This sparked renewed public outrage calling for justice.
July 2019: Arrested and Indicted for Sex Trafficking Minors
Epstein was arrested and charged with several counts of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was looking at up to 45 years behind bars if convicted.
Still In July 2019: More Alleged Victims Come Forward
Dozens of women who were previously unknown to law enforcement came forward with sexual abuse allegations against Epstein. They alleged that they were all minors at the time the alleged abuse took place.
July 18, 2019: Denied Bail
Victims’ attorneys argued that Epstein posed a major flight risk and shouldn’t be granted bail.
July 24, 2019: Epstein Suicide Attempt
Epstein was found semi-conscious in his cell with marks on his neck in what appeared to be a failed suicide attempt. He was placed on a suicide watch.
August 10, 2019: Jeffrey Epstein Death
Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell at around 6:30 a.m. at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York. He was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead on arrival in what appeared to be an apparent suicide. He was 66 years old at the time of his death.
October 2019: Epstein Autopsy Rules Out Homicide
New York Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson confirms the cause of death as suicide by hanging. Jeffrey Epstein’s family has since challenged that conclusion alleging that his cause of death could have been the result of a fatal assault.
The Future of the Cases
While the victims can sue the estate of the deceased, it could take years before all of Epstein’s assets are retrieved. It is not clear when all the cases will come to a close, but one thing is certain. The sexual criminal legacy he’s left behind will live on for years to come.