Soon after a 14-year-old girl reported billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein to police officials in 2005, she was reportedly sent a warning from a person who claimed to be in contact with the financier. The person told the girl that she would be paid in cash if she agreed to not cooperate with law enforcement. The unidentified person told her that "those who help him will be compensated and those who hurt him will be dealt with," according to a Palm Beach, Florida police report.
Epstein was arrested by federal agents last Sunday in New Jersey after his return from a Paris trip and was charged with child sex trafficking in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1591.
He is suspected of sex trafficking minors in Florida and New York. Epstein, however, has pleaded not guilty and faces at least 45 years of imprisonment if convicted. The new charges against the billionaire suggest the Department of Justice's attempt to redeem its 2008 decision where a top federal prosecutor cut a questionable plea deal with the investor accused of engaging in sex with dozens of underage girls.
Reports state that the threat was among many intimidation tactics used by Epstein, a registered sex offender, into pressurizing accusers to remain silent after Florida authorities opened their first probe into the New York financier over a decade ago.
Police reports state that at least three private investigators, who according to police were working on behalf of Epstein, tracked down accusers and possible witnesses to the alleged attacks, CNN reported.
The police report stated that these investigators sat in black SUVs outside the accusers' homes, questioned their current and former boyfriends, and chased one parent's car off the road. Epstein's current attorney, Reid Weingarten, however, denied the accusations in a court filing on Thursday, stating that if the car chase occurred, it was not authorized by their client.
"Our firm, like most lawyers, engages private investigators who typically worked in law enforcement for many years, when appropriate to assist in gathering information in support of our clients' interests," Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf, Epstein's legal representative then, said in a statement. "We have no knowledge of any improper conduct by any of the private investigators who assisted us."
An attorney for three accusers, Spencer Kuvin, however, told the outlet: "It was incredibly intimidating. You have to remember these girls were 14 and 15 (years old) when this was happening."
The court filings stated that Epstein's aggressive tactics did not stop with witnesses or accusers but also extended to prosecutors. Reports state that prosecutors with the US attorney's office for the Southern District of Florida, led by Alex Acosta at the time, had mulled charging Epstein with witness intimidation and obstruction of justice in 2008, however, they ultimately did not. Acosta, in a 2011 letter, described a "year-long assault on the prosecution and prosecutors" by Epstein.
"I use the word assault intentionally, as the defense, in this case, was more aggressive than any which I, or the prosecutors in my office, had previously encountered," he wrote in the letter published by the Daily Beast.