Bill Clinton—one of numerous powerful people with links to Jeffrey Epstein—says he flew on the financier's plane, but knew nothing about his "terrible crimes." In a statement, the former president said that when he flew on Epstein's plane, he was unaware of the crimes Epstein "pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York," the Hill reports. Clinton said he took a "total of four trips" on the billionaire's private plane in 2002 and 2003, though it is unclear how many flights each trip involved, the Daily Beast reports. Fox reported in 2016 that flight logs showed that Clinton had been on Epstein's plane 26 times. The 66-year-old Epstein, who is accused of abusing dozens of underage girls was arrested Saturday on sex trafficking charges that date back to the early 2000s.
In the statement, Clinton said he had been accompanied by his Secret Service detail, staffers, and Clinton Foundation supporters on "every leg of every trip." He said he made a brief visit to Epstein's apartment around 2002, accompanied by his security detail and a staffer. Clinton added that he hadn't spoken to Epstein in more than a decade. The arrest has put fresh scrutiny on a formerly secret plea deal relating to some of the same conduct negotiated in Florida in 2008 by then US Attorney Daniel Acosta, who is now President Trump's labor secretary, the AP reports. Epstein served 13 months in the Palm Beach county jail and was allowed to go to his office during the day. At CNN, attorney Raul Reyes calls for Acosta to step down, arguing that his role in "crafting a sweetheart deal for a sex offender means he does not deserve to be serving at the highest level of government." (Prosecutors say hundreds of lewd photos of women and girls were found in Epstein's home.)