Jeffrey Epstein had a little black book filled with the names and personal phone numbers of some of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people, from Bill Clinton and Donald Trump to actors, actresses, scientists and business tycoons.
A money manager for the super-rich, Epstein had two private jets, the largest single residence in Manhattan, an island in the Caribbean, a ranch in New Mexico and a waterfront estate in Florida.
But Epstein also had an obsession.
For years, Epstein lured an endless stream of teenage girls to his Palm Beach mansion, offering to pay them for massages. Instead, police say, for years he coerced middle and high school girls into engaging in sex acts with him and others.
As evidence emerged that there were victims and witnesses outside of Palm Beach, the FBI began an investigation in 2006 into whether Epstein and others employed by him were involved in underage sex trafficking.
But in 2007, despite substantial evidence that corroborated the girls’ stories of abuse by Epstein, the U.S. attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, signed off on a secret deal for the multimillionaire, one that ensured he would never spend a day in prison.
Acosta, now President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, agreed to seal the agreement so that no one — not even Epstein’s victims — would know the full extent of his crimes or who was involved.
This is the story of that deal — and how his victims, more than a decade later, are still fighting a criminal justice system that has stubbornly failed to hold wealthy, powerful men accountable for sexual abuse.