Biographer of U.S. President Donald Trump, Tim O’Brien, tweeted out an old quote from Trump about his friend billionaire Jeffrey Epstein on Saturday, just after the news broke that Epstein was arrested in New York on new sex-trafficking charges involving allegations that date to the early 2000s.
O’Brien tweeted, “‘I’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.’ - Donald Trump, 2002” The quote is from a 2002 New York Magazine profile of Epstein.
Epstein, a wealthy hedge fund manager who once counted as friends former President Bill Clinton, Great Britain’s Prince Andrew, and President Donald Trump, was taken into federal custody and is expected to appear Monday in Manhattan federal court, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.
One of the officials said Epstein is accused of paying underage girls for massages and molesting them at his homes in Florida and New York.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the pending case.
A message was sent to Epstein’s defense attorney seeking comment. Epstein is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
Epstein’s arrest, first reported by The Daily Beast, comes amid renewed scrutiny of a once-secret plea deal that ended a federal investigation against him.
That deal, which is being challenged in Florida federal court, allowed Epstein, who is now 66, to plead guilty to lesser state charges of soliciting and procuring a person under age 18 for prostitution.
Averting a possible life sentence, Epstein was instead was sentenced to 13 months in jail. The deal also required he reach financial settlements with dozens of his once-teenage victims and register as a sex offender.
Epstein’s deal was overseen by former Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who is now Trump’s labor secretary. Acosta has defended the plea deal as appropriate under the circumstances, though the White House said in February that it was “looking into” his handling of the deal.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra of Florida ruled earlier this year that Epstein’s victims should have been consulted under federal law about the deal, and he is now weighing whether to invalidate the non-prosecution agreement, or NPA, that protected Epstein from federal charges.
It was not immediately clear whether the cases involved the same victims since nearly all have remained anonymous.
Federal prosecutors recently filed court papers in Florida case contending Epstein’s deal must stand.
“The past cannot be undone; the government committed itself to the NPA, and the parties have not disputed that Epstein complied with its provisions,” prosecutors wrote in the filing.
They acknowledged, however, that the failure to consult victims “fell short of the government’s dedication to serve victims to the best of its ability” and that prosecutors “should have communicated with the victims in a straightforward and transparent way.”