Wealthy financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was arrested Saturday in New York on new sex-trafficking charges involving allegations that date to the early 2000s, according to law enforcement officials. Epstein, a wealthy hedge fund manager who once counted as friends former President Clinton, Prince Andrew, and President Trump, was taken into federal custody and is expected to appear Monday in Manhattan federal court, three law enforcement officials told the AP. Epstein is accused of paying underage girls for massages and molesting them in Florida and New York. Epstein's arrest comes amid renewed scrutiny of a once-secret plea deal that ended a federal investigation against him. That deal, which is being challenged in Florida federal court, allowed Epstein, now 66, to plead guilty to lesser charges of soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution.
Averting a life sentence, Epstein was instead sentenced to 13 months. The deal required he reach financial settlements with dozens of his once-teenage victims and register as a sex offender. Epstein's deal was overseen by former Miami US Attorney Alexander Acosta, who is now Trump's labor secretary. Acosta has defended the plea deal as appropriate, though the White House said in February that it was "looking into" it. Federal prosecutors recently filed court papers in the Florida case contending Epstein's deal must stand. "The past cannot be undone; the government committed itself... and the parties have not disputed that Epstein complied." They acknowledged, however, that the failure to consult victims "fell short of the government's dedication to serve victims to the best of its ability." The victims in the Florida case have until Monday to respond to the Justice Department's filing.
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