Documents: Epstein ducked sex-abuse questions in deposition

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell

The court papers were released on Friday, a day before wealthy United States financier Epstein was found dead in his prison cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Epstein, 66, pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges last month and was being held without bail.

His body was discovered at 07:30 local time (11:30 GMT) on Saturday at a facility in NY.

In newly released legal documents, the Duke of York was accused of touching a young woman's breast at the home of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein back in 2001.

US prosecutors said Epstein used his wealth and power to sexually abuse dozens of young girls for years at his homes, paying them hundreds of dollars in cash for each encounter and hundreds more if they brought in more victims.

U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photograph taken for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services' sex offender registry March 28, 2017 and obtained by Reuters July 10, 2019.

Reports say Epstein had apparently attempted suicide last month.

The New York Post reports that a gurney carrying Epstein was wheeled out of the Manhattan Correctional Centre around 7:30am (9:30 AEST) and headed to New York Downtown Hospital.

Then, in a much-quoted 2002 New York Magazine interview, Mr Trump described Epstein as a "terrific guy" and even acknowledged that he liked women "on the younger side". That circle, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and billionaire Leslie Wexner, all distanced themselves from the financier after his July 2019 arrest.

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Epstein, who in 2008 pleaded guilty to a single charge of sex with a minor as part of a controversial plea deal, also owns a private island.

None of the four men has been criminally charged in connection with Epstein.

The medical examiner's office in Manhattan confirmed Epstein's death, but said it was still investigating the cause.

The documents stem from a defamation case against Ms Maxwell brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre in 2015 - who claims she spent 3 years as Epstein and Maxwell's sex slave.

Then a USA attorney in Miami, Acosta cut a secret non-prosecution agreement in 2008 with billionaire Epstein. In 2008, Epstein received a widely-criticized plea deal after facing charges for soliciting a minor for sex.

As they detailed the traumas they still deal with, they also called for investigations to continue in the hope that anyone who aided and abetted Epstein's alleged actions would still face potential charges.

Epstein was asked in the videotaped deposition whether it was standard operating procedure for his former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, to bring underage girls to him to sexually abuse.

Besides Dershowitz, several other prominent Jews were connected to Epstein, including Leslie Wexner, the billionaire founder of the L Brands clothing conglomerate (formerly Limited Brands) who trusted Epstein to manage his money. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned last month after coming under fire for overseeing that deal when he was US attorney in Miami. Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida at the time.

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