Why Did U.S. Billionaire Accused of Serial Sex Crimes Serve Only 13 Months in Jail?

Judge allows victims to see plea bargain granted to Jeffrey Epstein, friend of Clinton, Trump and others.

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Haaretz
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American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, accused of pedophilia and other major crimes. Screenshot from businessinsider.com.
American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, accused of pedophilia and other major crimes. Screenshot from businessinsider.com.
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Haaretz

Two victims of American billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who served only 13 months in prison after being accused of pedophilia and other major crimes, will see the documentation of the plea bargain he reached with the prosecution, Britain's Mail Online reported Tuesday.

"We're trying to figure out if Epstein used his political connections and great wealth to secure this kind of arrangement, that was unheard of, frankly, if you look at these charges,' said attorney Paul Cassell, representing the two victims, identified only as Jane Doe 1 and 2. Cassell's remarks followed the favorable decision in Florida Circuit Court.

Epstein, 61, was friends with such world figures as Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Donald Trump. He was first arrested in 2005 when the stepmother of a 14-year-old girl told Florida police that Epstein had paid the girl $200 for an "erotic massage."

Subsequently, FBI investigators accused Epstein of keeping harems of women, including teenagers, at his palatial homes in New York, Palm Beach and on a private Caribbean island. The FBI contended it had at least 20 women and girls who would testify in court about sexual crimes committed against them by Epstein.

Yet in 2007 he reached a plea bargain with Florida state prosecutors for an 18-month sentence – only 13 of which he served – that allowed him to escape federal charges for pedophilia that could have put him in jail for life.

In March 2011, Mail Online reported that Epstein had reached 17 out-of-court settlements with accusers.

In his decision allowing Epstein's victims to read the plea bargain documents, Circuit Court Judge William H. Pryor noted: "Not only did the United States neglect to confer with the victims before it entered into the agreement with Epstein, it also failed to notify them of its existence for at least nine months."

The victims' attorneys say they hope that throwing light on the plea bargain will give rise to new charges being filed against Epstein. One of the billionaire's lawyers, Martin Weinberg, maintained that the plea bargain "was reached in good faith" and there was nothing improper about it.

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