West Palm Beach, Fla.

The Week (US) - - News -

Bil­lion­aire sex crim­i­nal set­tles: Jef­frey Ep­stein main­tained for nearly a decade that at­tor­ney Bradley Ed­wards coaxed dozens of un­der­age women to ac­cuse him of sex­ual as­sault, but this week he abruptly set­tled a defama­tion suit brought by Ed­wards. Ep­stein, 65, a pow­er­ful hedge fund man­ager with ex­ten­sive po­lit­i­cal ties, apol­o­gized to Ed­wards but not to his clients, who were slated to tes­tify in a jury trial. Ep­stein pleaded guilty in 2008 to pro­cure­ment of mi­nors for pros­ti­tu­tion and was sen­tenced to 13 months in jail. Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors found that up to 40 mi­nors were sex­u­ally abused at Ep­stein’s man­sion. Ac­cord­ing to Ed­wards, the vic­tims were forced to re­cruit other un­der­age girls, form­ing “a spi­der web of child mo­lesta­tion.” Ep­stein claims he be­lieved the women were of age, and says they con­sented. He avoided fed­eral prose­cu­tion in a deal that drew re­vived scru­tiny last week after a Mi­ami Her­ald in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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