Case first broke in 2005, when girl, 14, re­ported Ep­stein abused her in man­sion

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - From The Front Page - BY JULIE K. BROWN [email protected]­ami­her­ald.com

2005

March: A 14-year-old girl and her par­ents re­port that Jef­frey Ep­stein mo­lested her at a man­sion in Palm Beach. She said a fe­male ac­quain­tance and class­mate at Royal Palm Beach High School had taken her to the house to give him a mas­sage in ex­change for money.

April: Palm Beach po­lice be­gin trash pulls at Ep­stein’s home, dis­cov­er­ing a tele­phone mes­sage for Ep­stein with the girl’s name on it, and a time that matched the time that she told po­lice she was there. They find the names and phone num­bers of other girls on mes­sage slips in his trash.

Oc­to­ber: With the po­lice probe in full swing, one of Ep­stein’s as­sis­tants calls one of the girls just as she is be­ing ques­tioned by po­lice. In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­gin in­ter­view­ing more girls, as well as Ep­stein’s but­lers, who tell them that Ep­stein had fre­quent vis­its from girls through­out the day. On Oct. 20, they ex­e­cute a search war­rant at his house on El Brillo Way in Palm Beach.

2006

May: Po­lice sign a prob­a­ble cause af­fi­davit charg­ing Ep­stein and two of his as­sis­tants with mul­ti­ple counts of un­law­ful sex acts with a mi­nor. The Palm Beach state at­tor­ney, Barry Krischer, in­stead refers the case to a grand jury.

June: The grand jury, af­ter hear­ing from only one girl, re­turns an in­dict­ment of one count of so­lic­i­ta­tion of pros­ti­tu­tion. The charge does not re­flect that the vic­tim in ques­tion and oth­ers were mi­nors.

July: Ep­stein’s pow­er­house le­gal team tries to ne­go­ti­ate a deal with the State At­tor­ney’s Of­fice. Lawyers dis­cuss a de­ferred pros­e­cu­tion in which Ep­stein would en­ter a pre­trial in­ter­ven­tion pro­gram and serve no jail time.

July: Af­ter pres­sure from the

Palm Beach po­lice chief, the FBI opens a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion, dubbed “Op­er­a­tion Leap Year.’’ Doc­u­ments list the pos­si­ble crime as “child pros­ti­tu­tion.’’

Novem­ber: The FBI be­gins in­ter­view­ing po­ten­tial wit­nesses and vic­tims from Florida, New York and New Mex­ico.

2007

May: As the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice pre­pares to present the case to a fed­eral grand jury, Ep­stein’s at­tor­neys re­quest a meet­ing to dis­cuss the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

June: A 53-page in­dict­ment is pre­pared by the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice as, si­mul­ta­ne­ously, plea ne­go­ti­a­tions are ini­ti­ated with Ep­stein’s le­gal team.

July: Grand jury sub­poe­nas are is­sued for Ep­stein’s com­put­ers, which were ap­par­ently re­moved from his Palm Beach home prior to the po­lice search.

Au­gust: The U.S. at­tor­ney in Mi­ami, Alexan­der Acosta, en­ters into di­rect dis­cus­sions about the plea agree­ment; a mo­tion to com­pel pro­duc­tion of Ep­stein’s com­put­ers is de­layed.

Septem­ber: Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors draw up sev­eral fed­eral plea agree­ments that are re­jected by Ep­stein and his at­tor­neys. Ep­stein signs a non-pros­e­cu­tion agree­ment on

Sept. 24, but his at­tor­neys con­tinue to de­lay his court ap­pear­ance.

Oc­to­ber: With the non-pros­e­cu­tion agree­ment still be­ing de­bated, Acosta meets with Ep­stein lawyer Jay Le­fkowitz at the West Palm Beach Mar­riott on Okee­chobee Road to dis­cuss fi­nal­iz­ing a deal. Among the terms agreed upon: that the vic­tims would not be no­ti­fied, that the deal would be kept un­der seal and all grand jury sub­poe­nas would be can­celed.

Novem­ber: Ep­stein’s lawyers ob­ject to an ad­den­dum to the agree­ment. The pro­vi­sion called for a spe­cial mas­ter to ap­point an at­tor­ney to rep­re­sent Ep­stein vic­tims’ rights to civil com­pen­sa­tion.

De­cem­ber: The two sides con­tinue to de­bate the ad­den­dum. Ep­stein at­tor­ney Ken­neth Starr asks for a re­view of the agree­ment by the U.S. De­part­ment of Jus­tice in Wash­ing­ton, fur­ther de­lay­ing its ex­e­cu­tion. Vic­tims are told the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is con­tin­u­ing.

2008

Jan­uary: Ep­stein at­tor­ney Le­fkowitz calls Acosta, telling him his client will not go through with the agree­ment be­cause it re­quires him to regis­ter as a sex of­fender.

Fe­bru­ary: With the plea ne­go­tia- tions and the Jus­tice De­part­ment re­view still in limbo, the FBI con­tin­ues its probe, lo­cat­ing more wit­nesses and ev­i­dence.

March: Prepa­ra­tions are made for a new fed­eral grand jury pre­sen­ta­tion. In court doc­u­ments, the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice notes that Ep­stein’s vic­tims are be­ing ha­rassed by his lawyers, who are not specif­i­cally named.

May: The Jus­tice De­part­ment is­sues find­ing that, if a plea deal is not reached, Ep­stein can be fed­er­ally pros­e­cuted.

June: Ep­stein’s lawyers re­visit plea ne­go­ti­a­tions, and on June 30, Ep­stein ap­pears in a Palm Beach County court­room. He pleads guilty to state charges: one count of so­lic­i­ta­tion of pros­ti­tu­tion and one count of so­lic­i­ta­tion of pros­ti­tu­tion with a mi­nor un­der the age of 18. He is sen­tenced to 18 months in jail, fol­lowed by a year of com­mu­nity con­trol or house ar­rest. He is ad­ju­di­cated as a con­victed sex of­fender who must regis­ter twice a year in Florida.

July: Ep­stein’s vic­tims learn about his plea in state court af­ter the fact. They file an emer­gency pe­ti­tion to force fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors to com­ply with the fed­eral Crime Vic­tims’ Rights Act, which man­dates cer­tain rights for crime vic­tims, in­clud­ing the right to be in­formed about plea agree­ments and the right to ap­pear at sen­tenc­ing.

Au­gust: Ep­stein’s vic­tims learn that he has al­ready been sent to jail, and that the fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion is over. They seek to have his plea agree­ment un­sealed, but fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors ar­gue against re­leas­ing the agree­ment, com­menc­ing a year­long court bat­tle to learn the terms of Ep­stein’s plea bar­gain.

Oc­to­ber: Ep­stein be­gins work re­lease from the county stock­ade. He is picked up by his pri­vate driver six days a week and trans­ported to an of­fice in West Palm Beach, where he ac­cepts visi­tors for up to 12 hours a day. He re­turns to the stock­ade in the evenings to sleep.

2009

July: Ep­stein is re­leased from the Palm Beach County stock­ade, five months early. He must regis­ter as a sex of­fender and is on pro­ba­tion for a year, con­fined to his Palm Beach home ex­cept to travel to his of­fice in West Palm Beach. How­ever, records show he fre­quently makes trips to Man­hat­tan and to his home in the U.S. Vir­gin Is­lands.

Au­gust: Palm Beach Po­lice Capt. Ge­orge Frick finds Ep­stein walk­ing along A1A in the mid­dle of the af­ter­noon, when he was sup­posed to be at work in his of­fice in down­town West Palm Beach. Ep­stein says he is walk­ing to work, even though the lo­ca­tion where he is found is not a di­rect route to his of­fice. His pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer says Ep­stein has per­mis­sion to get some ex­er­cise.

Septem­ber: The fed­eral non­pros­e­cu­tion agree­ment is made pub­lic. By Septem­ber, at least a dozen civil law­suits have been filed by women who al­lege they were mo­lested by Ep­stein when they were un­der­age. Ep­stein be­gins the process of set­tling them out of court.

Novem­ber: One of Ep­stein’s for­mer but­lers tries to sell to an un­der­cover FBI agent a black book filled with the names of hun­dreds of girls and young women al­legedly pro­cured for sex and mas­sages by Ep­stein. The but­ler tells FBI agents he wit­nessed nude un­der­age girls at Ep­stein’s pool and had known that the mil­lion­aire was hav­ing sex with them. He also said he saw pornog­ra­phy in­volv­ing un­der­age girls on Ep­stein’s com­put­ers. The but­ler/ house­man, Al­fredo Ro­driguez, is later charged with ob­struc­tion of jus­tice and sen­tenced to fed­eral prison. He dies in 2015. The con­tents of the black book be­come pub­lic as part of sev­eral civil law­suits.

2010

April: Flight logs ob­tained as part of civil law­suits against Ep­stein show an as­sort­ment of politi­cians, aca­demics, celebri­ties, heads of state and world lead­ers fly­ing on Ep­stein’s jets in the early 2000s. Among them: for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Sandy Berger, for­mer Colom­bian Pres­i­dent An­drés Pas­trana and lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

2011

March: Two of Ep­stein’s vic­tims file a mo­tion in fed­eral court ac­cus­ing the gov­ern­ment of vi­o­lat­ing their rights by fail­ing to no­tify them about the plea deal and keep­ing it se­cret. Among other things, they want the plea deal in­val­i­dated in the hopes of send­ing Ep­stein to prison. They ac­cuse fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors of de­ceiv­ing them with “false no­ti­fi­ca­tion let­ters.’’

Septem­ber: U.S. District Judge Ken­neth Marra re­jects the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice ar­gu­ment that it was un­der no obli­ga­tion to no­tify vic­tims prior to strik­ing a non-pros­e­cu­tion agree­ment with Ep­stein be­cause there were no fed­eral charges filed against him. The de­ci­sion marks a vic­tory for Ep­stein’s vic­tims, but the case will drag on for seven more years.

Novem­ber: Ep­stein must regis­ter in New York as the high­est and most dan­ger­ous level of sex of­fender, de­spite ef­forts by him and the New York District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice to lower the clas­si­fi­ca­tion. A level 3 sta­tus means “high risk of re­peat of­fense and a threat to pub­lic safety ex­ists,” ac­cord­ing to the state’s guide­lines.

2012

March-De­cem­ber: Call­ing him­self a “cel­e­brated phi­lan­thropist’’ and a “renowned ed­u­ca­tional in­vestor,’’ Ep­stein un­der­takes a pub­lic re­la­tions cam­paign to counter bad press about his sex­ual ex­ploits. His foun­da­tion do­nates mil­lions to sci­en­tific re­search and spon­sors global con­fer­ences on ways to achieve world peace and save the planet. He funds can­cer and ed­u­ca­tional re­search projects around the coun­try.

2015

Jan­uary: Vir­ginia Roberts files court pa­pers in Florida claim­ing that she was forced by Ep­stein to have sex with Prince An­drew and lawyer Alan Dershowitz when she was un­der­age. In a sworn af­fi­davit, she pro­vides pho­to­graphs of her with the prince and with Ep­stein’s close as­so­ciate, Bri­tish so­cialite Ghis­laine Maxwell. She claims Maxwell worked as Ep­stein’s madam, which she de­nies. Dershowitz and the prince deny her claims as well, set­ting off a se­ries of le­gal ac­tions be­tween Dershowitz and Roberts’ at­tor­neys that are later re­solved in an out-of-court set­tle­ment.

April: A fed­eral judge rules that Roberts can­not join the fed­eral Crime Vic­tims’ Rights Act law­suit and that her af­fi­davit — ac­cus­ing Prince An­drew and Dershowitz of hav­ing sex with her when she was un­der­age — be stricken from the case. Dershowitz says the rul­ing means he was vin­di­cated. How­ever, the judge does not ad­dress the ve­rac­ity of Roberts’ claims, writ­ing: “The fac­tual de­tails re­gard­ing with whom and where the Jane Does en­gaged in sex­ual ac­tiv­i­ties are im­ma­te­rial and im­per­ti­nent to this cen­tral claim.’’

Septem­ber: Roberts sues Maxwell in fed­eral court in New York, claim­ing that Ep­stein’s al­leged madam de­famed her in pub­lic state­ments in the me­dia. The law­suit is widely viewed as a ves­sel for Ep­stein’s vic­tims to ex­pose the scope of Ep­stein’s crimes. Sev­eral civil law­suits filed the same year al­lege that Ep­stein and Maxwell op­er­ated an in­ter­na­tional sex traf­fick­ing op­er­a­tion.

2016

June: A law­suit is filed in Man­hat­tan by a woman who once used the name Katie John­son, claim­ing that she was raped by then-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump at a party at Ep­stein’s Man­hat­tan man­sion in 1994 when she was 13 years old. Trump and Ep­stein both cat­e­gor­i­cally deny it ever hap­pened.

Novem­ber: John­son backs out of a press con­fer­ence just days be­fore Elec­tion Day, say­ing she has been threat­ened and is fear­ful. She later drops the law­suit.

2017

Fe­bru­ary: Pres­i­dent Trump nom­i­nates for­mer Mi­ami fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor Acosta as U.S. sec­re­tary of la­bor. Acosta is com­pelled at his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing to briefly ad­dress ques­tions about the deal he ap­proved for Ep­stein. One law­maker re­quests more records from the Ep­stein case. Acosta is con­firmed.

June: Roberts set­tles her law­suit with Maxwell for an undis­closed sum.

2018

De­cem­ber: Civil trial is sched­uled in Palm Beach County Court on Bradley Ed­wards’ al­le­ga­tions that Ep­stein sued him to pun­ish him for rep­re­sent­ing sev­eral of his vic­tims. The ma­li­cious-pros­e­cu­tion law­suit is set to be­gin Dec. 4. Ep­stein has in­di­cated he will not ap­pear in court for trial.

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