More troubling details have emerged about the previously secret non-prosecution agreement in Florida eleven years ago involving financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead of apparent suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in August after being charged with child sex trafficking.
According to an exclusive report by ABC News published Thursday, FBI and federal prosecutors in Florida were aware of a key witness whose testimony helped lead to Epstein’s arrest last summer, but the Florida prosecutors worked out the controversial deal with Epstein before she was able to testify.
“A woman whose allegations of childhood sex abuse in New York were central to last year’s indictment of Jeffrey Epstein was questioned by the FBI and subpoenaed for testimony by federal prosecutors in Florida more than a decade ago in connection with the first federal investigation into Epstein’s alleged child sex trafficking, according to court documents and multiple sources familiar with the events,” ABC News reports.
“But the woman, who was 19 at the time of her initial contact with federal agents in 2008, did not appear before a grand jury in West Palm Beach, as the subpoena commanded,” the report continues. “Before her testimony could be secured, Epstein cemented a controversial and once-secret non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami by pleading guilty to two state prostitution charges for which he was sentenced to 18 months in a county jail.”
As a Florida-based attorney who represented three of Epstein’s alleged victims in the original Florida investigation told ABC, the young woman’s testimony could have dramatically altered the situation eleven years ago, blowing open the case by providing evidence of his alleged multi-state child sex abuse network.
“I certainly think with the FBI’s capabilities, even back then, that they could have unraveled the entire network from New York to Paris to New Mexico,” West Palm Beach attorney Spencer Kuvin told the network. “The potential was always there. [The government] shut this thing down and pled this thing out before going through and talking to probably more than half of the women that were involved in this whole thing. Had they conducted a full investigation and taken their time, this would’ve been a whole different story.”
Having reached the initially secret, widely criticized agreement with Epstein, however, Florida prosecutors called off the subpoena for the pivotal New York witness, halted the investigation and suspended the grand jury.
“It wasn’t until nearly 11 years later, when federal prosecutors in New York quietly opened a new investigation into Epstein, that the woman was again contacted by authorities seeking details of her alleged years-long sexual abuse by the multi-millionaire financier,” ABC explains. “Identified in last year’s indictment as ‘Minor-Victim 1,’ she is the only alleged victim from New York whose allegations are specifically detailed in the charges, a strong indicator of her importance to the investigation.” (Read the full ABC report here.)
Epstein’s initial case and his jail cell death have continued to spark controversy and conspiracy theories, the late-financier’s name repeatedly appearing not only in viral headlines and social media posts but in multiple lawsuits from alleged victims now more than seven months since his demise.
Related: Lawsuit Claims Jeffrey Epstein Trafficked Girls As Young As Eleven Years Old