Financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested Saturday in New York on sex-trafficking charges, is best known for his ties to President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton.
That’s only one of the intriguing aspects about the legal action against a billionaire hedge fund manager long suspected of running a sex-crimes ring based on the recruitment of underage girls in the U.S. and abroad.
Here are answers to five key questions on the Epstein case:
Why is he in legal trouble?
Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that Epstein will appear in Manhattan federal court on Monday to face charges stemming from accusations that date to the early 2000s. One source said he stands accused of paying dozens of minors for massages and molesting them at his homes in Florida and New York.
The new charges emerged from an investigation conducted by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, 11 years after Epstein dodged major jail time after pleading guilty to state charges of soliciting and procuring a person under 18 for prostitution.
How was Epstein penalized for his conviction?
Under what’s known as a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with federal authorities in Florida, Epstein served a 13-month jail sentence but was allowed to spend much of it at his Palm Beach office through a work-release program.
The deal ended the FBI’s investigation into numerous accusations against Epstein and granted him immunity from the more serious federal charges. In addition, the NPA granted immunity to potential co-conspirators and shielded the deal from the victims.
This year, a judge ruled that Alexander Acosta – at the time the U.S. attorney in Miami and now Trump’s labor secretary – and his fellow federal prosecutors violated the law by failing to inform the victims about the NPA.
What’s his link to Trump and Clinton?
In addition to being fellow residents of Palm Beach – where Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property is located – the president and Epstein socialized together before Trump’s 2016 election.
On Saturday, Trump biographer Tim O’Brien tweeted this 2002 quote by the future president, taken from a New York Magazine profile: “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. 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, and many of them are on the younger side.”
As part of its investigation into the Epstein case published in November, the Miami Herald listed Clinton as one of his friends and associates, saying the ex-president often flew in Epstein’s plane and visited his island. The Herald also reported that Epstein donated to the Clinton Foundation.
The newspaper said there’s no evidence Trump or Clinton was involved in underage sex activities.
What could be the fallout from this case?
Given Epstein’s list of powerful connections, which also includes Great Britain’s Prince Andrew, Victoria’s Secret owner Les Wexner and high-profile lawyer Alan Dershowitz, revelations that come out of the case have potential to be significant and embarrassing.
“There are probably quite a few important people, powerful people, who are sweating it out right now,’’ the Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown, lead reporter of the November stories, told RealClear Politics. “We'll have to wait and see whether Epstein is going to name names."
Why has the case resurfaced?
The Herald’s series brought renewed scrutiny, and court decisions in favor of unsealing some of the documents from the initial case have added to the momentum. There have also been lawsuits filed by women who said they were Epstein’s victims.
Lawyer David Boies, who represents some of the accusers, told The Daily Beast it’s encouraging to know Epstein has been arrested.
“It is an important step toward getting justice for the many victims of Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking enterprise,’’ Boies said. “We hope that prosecutors will not stop with Mr. Epstein because there were many other people who participated with him and made the sex trafficking possible.’’
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jeffrey Epstein, a onetime associate of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, is in legal trouble: Here's what we know