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Jeffrey Epstein Pleads Not Guilty In Sex Trafficking Case

Jeffrey Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday in federal court to sex trafficking charges, part of a swirl of developments in the case of the multimillionaire accused of sexually abusing an array of underage girls at his mansions in New York City and Palm Beach.

Epstein, 66, was arrested on Saturday as he arrived on a private jet from Paris, one of several places where he maintains residences. After spending the rest of the weekend behind bars — a far cry from his customary opulence — he appeared in court Monday wearing a blue jail jumpsuit, hours after the Department of Justice unsealed a two-part indictment that could land him in prison for the rest of his life.

His arrest followed a series of stories in the Miami Herald that detailed how prosecutors in South Florida had engineered a controversial deal to grant him immunity when he faced similar charges a decade earlier. The immunity deal was kept secret from his alleged victims, a violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

At a news conference Monday, Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, declared that Epstein’s alleged crimes “shocked the conscience.” It is alleged that he employed recruiters to lure girls as young as 14 to his home, ostensibly for the purpose of giving him a massage. The massages would turn into sex acts, for which the young girls were paid as much as $200. They could earn additional money if they were then  willing to recruit other girls, from malls and other places where young people congregate.

Read more at our partner, the Miami Herald.