An attorney representing Jeffrey Epstein accusers said Tuesday that at least one woman has come forward to say she was abused while the financier was on work release as part of his lenient 2007 plea deal.
Lawyer Brad Edwards said Epstein was allowed to have visitors while he was supposed to be working during the 13-month sentence.
“It was not for some business arrangement and it was for... improper sexual contact,” Edwards said, adding that the new accusers said they were under 21, though they may not have been minors.
“He just wasn’t in jail. He only slept there. He was in his office most of the day and what I can tell you he had visitors, female visitors,” Edwards said.
“All I can say is more than one person that visited him,” Edwards said, declining to provide more details because of ongoing litigation. “They believed they were going there for something other than a sexual purpose.
"Once there, he used his perfect master manipulation to turn the situation into something sexual,” Edwards said. “Not one of the individuals was a prostitute. These were all people who at the time that wanted something. They came over under false pretenses and he manipulated them and now his attorneys have labeled them prostitutes.”
He said that he has not been able to determine what actual work Epstein supposedly did while he was allowed to be away from jail.
“What he did on a daily basis was engage in these types of sex acts with minors and vulnerable women. What he did to make his money? I don’t know. What he did legitimately outside of this sex acts? I don’t know. Neither do these victims.”
Edwards, who did not identify any of the new accusers, dropped the bombshell at a press conference with a previously known accuser, Courtney Wild.
Wild—who has sued the government over the secret sweetheart deal Epstein cut with federal prosecutors in Florida more than a decade before he was hit with new charges in New York—called on any other victims to come forward.
“I never had the change for my voice to be heard. My voice was muted by the same people that were supposed to protect me. Eleven years later a judge has ruled my rights were violated,” she said.
“It’s time for the government to do right by me and other victims,” she added. “To every victim out there, I understand what you are going through. You may try to convince yourself it was a long time ago and try to move on. But you are not alone. If you are a victim of Jeffrey Epstein, you know what I know, he will continue to sexually abuse women until he is stopped.”
On Tuesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office said Epstein was “carefully guarded” and referred news outlets to a YouTube video of Chief Michael Gauger’s April 2019 interview with a documentary film crew.
While on work release, Epstein was picked up by a driver, then met by a sheriff’s deputy at his place of employment. The deputy “stayed with him the entire time he was at his office,” the spokeswoman said in an email, adding that Epstein “was allowed NO family, friends or guests.”
“If he violated any conditions of his release he would have been brought back to the Stockade and work release would have been terminated,” the spokeswoman added.
According to the interview, Gauger said the off-duty deputy’s work was paid for by Epstein. “The only ones that were allowed to visit him were his attorneys or his business partner. And there was a sign-in sheet, and it was very closely monitored by our team,” Gauger said.
The deputy, Gauger added, accompanied Epstein to his doctor and to his lawyer’s office.
“He did not have free time to wander. He was not allowed to go out for lunch. He had to stay in that office the entire time,” Gauger said of Epstein’s 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. work release shift. Sometimes Epstein would return to jail early, he said.
“If Mr. Epstein would have violated any condition of that work release, which was like two pages almost, then he would have immediately been arrested and taken into custody and brought back to the stockade and all privileges would have ceased,” Gauger said.
The off-duty deputies monitoring Epstein filed more than 464 reports on activity that occurred during the work release shift, noting if his lawyer visited; he went home early; he had no guests during the day; or he went to the doctor.
Asked who makes the decision on whether a convict qualifies for work release, Gauger said he has a team of majors and captains who determine if the applicant meets certain parameters for the perk.
“It was three-and-a-half months before he was given work release,” Gauger said of Epstein.
Gauger dismissed accusations that Epstein received a cushy deal in the county jail. “It’s jail. This is not the Hilton. This is not the Marriott. This is the Palm Beach County Jail, and we have everything in place to keep everyone safe,” Gauger told the TV crew.
“I’m just saddened that some people think that it was corruption, that he was given all these privileges because of his wealth. It was not so. He was made to jump through extra hoops and meet additional requirements because of his wealth that others are not mandated to do during their work release,” Gauger said.
“We received this from the federal government and from the state, and he was given to us to provide his sentence with. And we did the very best we could under the parameters that we had.”
However, the Palm Beach Post revealed that daily probation logs show Epstein was once accused of violating the terms of his house arrest when police found him wandering along a boulevard—and "sweating profusely"—one afternoon. Epstein claimed he was taking a circuitous route to work. Another time, when probation officers knocked on the door of Epstein's Palm Beach mansion, "no one answered and the officer saw Epstein’s car drive off. When the officer returned later, Epstein appeared at the door. Since the officer said he couldn’t confirm Epstein was driving the car, he concluded no violation occurred," the Post reported.
The paper also noted that Epstein received permission to regularly fly to New York, Boston, Miami, and his private island. During these trips, he did not have to report to probation officers details of whom he met or where he went.
Epstein, 66, was first accused of molesting dozens of underage girls in 2005 in Florida, where witnesses said that he recruited teens and tweens for erotic massages that escalated to molestation, masturbation and sexual contact.
But the financier ended up only pleading guilty to two state charges on procuring and soliciting prostitution in the deal brokered by then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta. Epstein served 13 months in jail (much of it on work leave), and waived his right to contest damages if the alleged victims sued him later. For a time, it seemed like Epstein’s alleged crimes would be lost to history.
But in 2018, the Miami Herald published a brilliant expose on the plea deal. Shortly thereafter, a judge ruled that the plea deal violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, since the feds had not informed the accusers of its existence. The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit against the government from two Jane Doe accusers—one of whom was revealed to be Courtney Wild.
Then, in a shocking turn of events, Epstein was swiftly arrested this month—as his private plane landed at New Jersey's Teterboro airport—and charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy. The new indictment lists three victims: one in New York and two in Florida. Police say that after the arrest, new potential victims have also come forward. They also claim that a raid on Epstein’s palatial Upper East Side mansion revealed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of nude pictures believed to be of underage girls. The police also found a safe full of cash, diamonds, and a foreign passport with a fake name during the raid.
Acosta, now President Trump’s labor secretary, announced this week he would step down because of scrutiny over his role in the Florida plea deal.
Meanwhile, at a court hearing on Monday related to whether Epstein will be granted bail, Wild urged the judge not to let Epstein walk free.
“I was sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein starting at age 14,” she said. “I would just like the court to not to grant him bond, just for the safety of any other girls out there. He is a scary person to have walking the streets.”