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United States prosecutors are encouraging anyone complicit in, or have information about billionaire and alleged child molester Jeffery Epstein’s conduct to come forward. The Department of Justice’s call targeted politicians, celebrities, socialites and anyone who may have witnessed or know of questionable behavior.
Mr. Epstein kept a notorious black book and private jet manifests that contained a long list of names who he either met or partied with. The list also contained names of alleged victims. Now, armed with warrants to search Mr. Epstein’s properties, the U.S. prosecutors sought to send a clear message: Provide information to us before we contact you.
“You would much rather be visiting the Department of Justice and engaging a conversation about what you saw rather than making the DOJ find you,” said Jacob Frenkel, a former federal prosecutor now at Dickinson-Wright, according to the Japan Times. “There’s a much greater potential for influencing the parameters of an interview and the scope of cooperation by going in voluntarily than becoming a compulsory guest” of the government, he said.
Considering the dozens of alleged victims and hundreds of names on Mr. Epstein’s contact list, the Epstein affair could be far from over. Some of the alleged victims have claimed they were farmed out to other men, said the publication.
The Miami Herald, whose story gave new energy to the investigation into Mr. Epstein’s alleged criminal activity and which many credit for his eventual arrest two Saturdays ago, wrote on Friday that 12 new victims had come forth to claim they were sexually abused by Mr. Epstein.
Meanwhile, an uncomfortable quiet has set over local politicians, many of whom are said to have taken donations from Mr. Epstein. In fact Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett, who after mounting pressure said she would give funds donated to her campaign by Mr. Esptein to nonprofit organizations focused on women and children, called on local elected officials to follow her lead and do the same.
“I know that there are Virgin Islands elected officials who have taken money from him; I just happen to be the person who reports my contributions,” she said. The congresswoman is required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission.
In an explosive interview with right-leaning news website Breitbart News on Thursday, Senator Oakland Benta spoke out in blunt terms against Mr. Epstein and his local ties, and called for a wide-ranging investigation by the federal government into the billionaire’s and others’ alleged “widespread corruption.”
Mr. Benta told the publication that Mr. Epstein ran a massive influence operation to get powerful politicians, nonprofit organizations, law enforcement, and government agencies charged with stopping such corruption and criminal activity from focusing on him. “He [Mr. Epstein] has people on his payroll,” Mr. Benta alleged, according to Breitbart. “He has campaign contributions. He has donated to a lot of agencies and nonprofits. Maybe part of the reason why they’re not vocal is a lot of the nonprofit organizations have been recipients of contributions from Jeffrey Epstein and a lot of surrounding programs with children.”
“There is widespread corruption within the territory that needs to be addressed and looked at with fresh eyes,” Mr. Benta, who served a chief of police on St. Croix before being elected senator in 2018, told Breitbart News.
Mr. Epstein, 66, owns a mansion on an island in the U.S. Virgin Islands that he also owns, called Little Saint James. Charges against the financier also allege that the USVI home was part of Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking operation.
Mr. Epstein’s legal team Monday laid out what they said would be the centerpiece of their defense: that Manhattan federal prosecutors were seeking an improper re-do of an investigation into Mr. Epstein more than a decade ago in Florida, which ended in a federal nonprosecution agreement, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“How in the world can that deal be undone?” said Reid Weingarten, a lawyer for Mr. Epstein. “To us, this indictment is essentially a do-over,”
Federal agents searched Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse after his arrest Saturday and found hundreds of nude photographs of young women, some of whom appeared to be underage, officials said. Some of the photographs were discovered in a locked safe alongside compact discs with handwritten labels like “Girl pics nude.”
In court Monday, Mr. Epstein’s lawyers said the images seized were likely not of underage victims, WSJ said.
After his arrest, Mr. Epstein refused to answer any of the government’s questions about his income or assets, prosecutors said Monday; his lawyers said they needed time to pull that information together.
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