NEW YORK (AP) — Ever since he was first charged with criminal charges in 2006, Jeffrey Epstein has been the subject of public fascination, conspiracy theories and outrage — especially after his lawyers got prosecutors to agree to a lenient plea deal. carrying him from serious jail time.
Epstein was eventually re-arrested, but died by suicide while awaiting trial in 2019. Here’s a timeline of the case against him and his former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for helping him abuse teenage girls .
March 2005: Police in Palm Beach, Florida, begin investigating Epstein after the family of a 14-year-old girl reports that she has been harassed at his mansion. Several underage girls, including many high school students, would later tell police that Epstein hired them to provide sexual massages.
May 2006: Palm Beach police officers sign paperwork to charge Epstein with multiple counts of unlawful sex with a minor, but the county’s top prosecutor, District Attorney Barry Krischer, takes the unusual step of sending the case to a grand jury.
July 2006: Epstein is arrested after a grand jury indicts him on a single charge of prostitution. The relatively minor indictment almost immediately draws the attention of critics, including Palm Beach police chiefs, who publicly attack Krischer, accusing him of giving Epstein special treatment. The FBI begins an investigation.
2007: Federal prosecutors prepare charges against Epstein. But for a year, the money manager’s lawyers have been in talks with American attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, about a plea deal that would allow Epstein to avoid federal charges. Epstein’s lawyers view his accusers as unreliable witnesses.
June 2008: Epstein pleads guilty to state charges: one charge of prostitution and one charge of prostitution against anyone under the age of 18. He is sentenced to 18 months in prison. Under a secret settlement, the US law firm agrees not to prosecute Epstein for federal crimes. Epstein is serving most of his sentence in a work release program that allows him to leave prison during the day to go to his office and return at night.
July 2009: Epstein is released from prison. Over the next decade, multiple women who say they are Epstein’s victims waged a legal battle to have his federal non-prosecution agreement invalidated and hold him and others liable for the abuse. One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, says in her lawsuits that Epstein and his girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, have had sexual encounters with royalty, politicians, academics, businessmen and other rich and powerful men, including Britain’s Prince Andrew, since she was 17. . All those men deny the allegations.
November 2018: The Miami Herald revises its handling of Epstein’s case in a series of stories focusing in part on Acosta’s role — who is currently President Donald Trump’s labor secretary — in settling his unusual plea deal. The coverage renews public interest in the case.
July 6, 2019: Epstein is arrested on federal sex trafficking charges after federal prosecutors in New York conclude they were not bound by the terms of the previous no-prosecution agreement. Days later, Acosta resigns as labor secretary amid public outcry over his role in the initial investigation.
Aug 10, 2019: Guards find Epstein dead in his cell at a federal prison in New York City. Investigators conclude that he committed suicide.
July 2, 2020: Federal prosecutors in New York charge Ghislaine Maxwell with sex crimes, saying she helped recruit the underage girls who sexually abused Epstein and sometimes participated in the abuse herself.
December 30, 2021: After a month-long trial, a jury convicts Maxwell on multiple charges, including sex trafficking, conspiracy and transportation of a minor for illegal sexual activity.
June 28, 2022: Maxwell is sentenced to 20 years in prison.