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    By Ellis Cashmore

  2. Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy American financier, was found dead in his prison cell in an apparent suicide on August 10, 2019. He had been awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, to which he pleaded not guilty in July. This timeline by Ellis Cashmore, author of “Kardashian Kulture,” explores how the Epstein case unfolded over the years.

  3. 2005

    A 14-year-old girl and her parents report that Jeffrey Epstein molested her at a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. This prompts a police investigation.

  4. 2006

    Police charge Epstein and two others with unlawful sex acts with persons under the age of consent. The Palm Beach state attorney instead refers the case to a grand jury and, in July, the FBI opens a federal investigation called “Operation Leap Year.’’

  5. 2007

    US Attorney Alex Acosta (later to become President Donald Trump‘s labor secretary) agrees a secret plea deal with Epstein, who will plead guilty to two felony prostitution charges. The victims are not notified of the agreement and all grand jury subpoenas are voided. Later, Vox argues an FBI document based on its investigations was powerful enough to have likely put Epstein behind bars for life.

  6. 2008

    Email messages obtained by the Miami Herald suggest that, during months of negotiations between Epstein’s attorneys and Acosta’s office, Acosta continually conceded to the Epstein’s demands. Finally, Acosta signs off on a non-prosecution agreement that is “negotiated, signed and sealed so that no one would know the full scope of Epstein’s crimes,” as the newspaper puts it. Epstein appears in court to plead guilty on two lesser counts and is sentenced to only 18 months, which he is allowed to serve in a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade that is a detention area. Epstein has his own security detail and is permitted to work six days per week.

  7. 2009

    “He [Epstein] served just 13 months of the sentence before returning to the Upper East Side to celebrate his release with his close pal, Britain’s Prince Andrew,” the New York Post later reports.

  8. 2011

    Epstein is instructed to register as a sex offender in New York City and told to report to the police department every 90 days. It is later revealed that he doesn't check in.

  9. 2012

    Epstein undertakes a public relations campaign. His foundation donates millions of dollars to scientific research and global conferences on good causes. He also sponsors research on cancer.

  10. 2015

    Virginia Roberts, now 35, files claims she was pressured by Epstein to have sex with Prince Andrew and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz. She was underage at the time and says she had been recruited as a “sex slave” by Epstein and groomed from the age of 15. There are several civil lawsuits filed that allege that Epstein and his friend, Ghislaine Maxwell, were involved in international sex trafficking.

  11. 2016

    A woman files a lawsuit in Manhattan, claiming then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, while at a party at Epstein’s New York residence in 1994, raped her; she was 13 at the time. Both Trump and Epstein deny this.

  12. 2017

    President Trump nominates former Miami federal prosecutor Acosta as US secretary of labor. Acosta is compelled at his confirmation hearing briefly to address questions about the arrangement he approved for Epstein a decade before. Acosta is confirmed as secretary.

  13. 2018

    The Miami Herald publishes its exposé on Epstein’s long history of alleged sexual abuse, which is described as “Epstein's sexual pyramid scheme.” The #MeToo era is now affecting many aspects of contemporary culture and there is a vigilant watch over sexual improprieties of powerful men.

  14. 2019

    On July 6, Epstein is arrested by federal agents at Teterboro airport in New Jersey after his private jet flies in from Paris. Later, 20 federal law enforcement officers enter his New York residence to execute search warrants, according to the New York Post, which reports: “Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein has been arrested in New York in a massive new underage sex trafficking case … [Epstein] who twelve years ago wriggled out of similar charges of abusing young girls — must appear in federal court in Manhattan on Monday on charges of trafficking dozens of minors between 2002 and 2005.” Epstein pleads not guilty and faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted. On August 10, he is found dead in his prison cell while awaiting trial.

  15. Credits Written by Ellis Cashmore
    Produced by Abul-Hasanat Siddique
    Art and design by Lokendra Singh
    Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Creative Commons