Trump praised convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein for liking younger women

Trump praised convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein for liking younger women

President Donald Trump once described Kim-Jong-un, the leader of a country which has concentration camps, as "very sharp" and a "real leader". A distinctly divisive character, Trump’s praise of certain individuals and disdain for others makes little more sense than his conflicting opinions.

However, Trump's comments on Jeffrey Epstein remain troubling. The billionaire financier is a convicted sex offender who was arrested in July 2006 after the mother of a 14-year-old claimed he had paid her daughter $300 to strip and massage him.

An 11-month investigation uncovered that Epstein had many women to his house, some under the age of 18, who he molested or “lent” to powerful people in order to win their favour. However, papers from a 2006 lawsuit allege that rooms were often equipped with spy cameras - suggesting that his true intention was to commit blackmail.

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Epstein avoided jail time by signing a secret plea deal which a judge has since ruled was illegal. However, he was arrested again on Saturday night on charges of sex trafficking of “at least” 40 underage women in Florida and New York.“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years,” Trump said of Jeffrey Epstein in 2002. “Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do.” President Trump then added: “And many of them are on the younger side.”

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While this unsettling statement foreshadowed Epstein’s conviction, the links to Trump don’t end there. Politico reported in 2017 that allegations of grooming were made against Epstein by a woman who knew him in 1999. Despite being 15 years old at the time, she was allegedly lured into a sex ring.

The unnamed victim worked as a locker room attendant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort where it is alleged that Epstein’s then-girlfriend recruited her. Below, Trump can be seen at Mar-a-Lago with his then-girlfriend Melania Knauss, Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell - the woman accused of recruiting underage women on Epstein's behalf. The photograph was taken in February 2000.

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In February, US District Judge Kenneth A. Marra ruled that the secret plea deal made by Epstein was unconstitutional. “Petitioners and the other victims should have been notified of the Government’s intention to take that course of action before it bound itself under,” Marra explained.

“Epstein used paid employees to find and bring minor girls to him,’’ Marra wrote in the 33-page document. “Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minors not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others.’’

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Bringing this issue of corruption and plutocracy even closer to Trump, it was his current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta who signed the deal which meant that more than 30 of Epstein’s accusers were kept in the dark about the non-prosecution deal.

“When the Government gives information to victims, it cannot be misleading,” Marra wrote. “While the Government spent untold hours negotiating the terms and implications of the NPA with Epstein’s attorneys, scant information was shared with victims. Instead, the victims were told to be ‘patient’ while the investigation proceeded.” He added: “Particularly problematic was the Government’s decision to conceal the existence of the NPA and mislead the victims to believe that federal prosecution was still a possibility.”

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“For more than a decade, the actions of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida in this case have been defended by the Department of Justice in litigation across three administrations and several attorneys general,” a Department of Justice spokesperson told the Daily Beast.

This is yet another example to add to an increasing pile of news stories which seem to suggest the richest and most powerful people in the world are effectively cartoon villains. Sadly, the trauma caused by Jeffrey Epstein, his defenders and his apologists is all too real. The trials continue.