Since the Miami Herald exposed the sweetheart deal given to billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier who fraternized with Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, lawyer Alan Dershowitz and other famous and powerful people, his victims and their attorneys have renewed their push to have documents from the case that led to his 2008 conviction unsealed.
Now, the New York Post has obtained some of these documents after a lengthy court battle. And the revelations contained within were nothing short of shocking.
After Epstein was convicted by federal prosecutors in Florida for soliciting sex with an underage girl, the billionaire was forced to register as a sex offender in New York, where he owned a home on the Upper West Side.
But just as Alex Acosta, the US attorney responsible for overseeing the Epstein case (now Trump's Secretary of Labor), negotiated an incredibly lenient punishment for Epstein (he spent a year in jail), the Manhattan DA's office was also suspiciously accommodating. When he appeared for a hearing on his sex offender status, the DA was ready to assign him the lowest Sex Offender designation possible, despite possessing overwhelming evidence that he was a dangerous predator who merited the most restrictive penalties.
The DA's office had been provided an assessment from the state that delved into the allegations against Epstein (allegations for which he escaped punishment) had sexual contact with "numerous" underage girls ranging from 14 to 17. The board assigned Epstein a score of 130 on its risk assessment scale, solidly above the 110 threshold to be categorized as a "level 3" offender.
In advance of the hearing, then-deputy chief of Sex Crimes, Jennifer Gaffney, had been given a confidential state assessment that deemed Epstein to be highly dangerous and likely to keep preying on young girls, the DA’s office admitted in its own appellate brief eight months after the hearing.
The brief has been sealed since 2011, but The Post obtained it Thursday after suing to get it unsealed.
It describes a state assessment’s findings that Epstein should be monitored in New York as a level three offender —-reserved for the most dangerous.
In making its assessment, the NY state Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders evaluated the sworn, corroborated accounts of numerous young girls who had been lured into Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., compound in 2005 and 2006.
Girls aged 14 to 17 years old were recruited and paid $200 to $1,000 to give Epstein erotic massages that included sexual contact, intercourse and rape, Palm Beach cops found.
Epstein pleaded guilty in Palm Beach to abusing just one of these young victims, and was required to register as a sex offender in New York since he had an Upper East Side home.
Manhattan prosecutors were aware the state board had assigned Epstein a risk assessment of 130, a number that is “solidly above the 110 qualifying number for level three,” with “absolutely no basis for downward departure,” the brief notes.
Despite this findings, New York's lead sex crimes prosecutor recommended that Epstein be given the lowest threat designation, which would see him avoid the sex offender registry.
Fortunately, a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice overruled the DA office's decision, and Epstein was branded a level 3 offender, and remains on the sex offender registry to this day.
Nevertheless, Gaffney argued that he should be labeled a level one offender, the least restrictive, which would keep him off the online database.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ruth Pickholz sided with the board and against Gaffney in designating Epstein a level three offender.
Epstein appealed, and the DA’s change-of-heart brief agreeing that Epstein deserved the highest level of monitoring was filed in opposition to that appeal.
The appellate division ultimately upheld that Epstein be monitored as a level three offender, and he remains on the registry.
A spokesman for DA Cyrus Vance Jr. insisted the attorney, who was recently embroiled in a scandal over his cozy relationship with Harvey Weinstein's lawyer, even accepting campaign contributions from the man, said Vance was unaware of the hearing.
But it's difficult to imagine that the "orgy island" billionaire was able to simply skate by on good looks and charm.