Spokesman: Bill Clinton 'knows nothing' about 'terrible crimes' alleged against Epstein

Rebecca Morin

WASHINGTON – A spokesman for former President Bill Clinton said Monday that Clinton "knows nothing" about Jeffrey Epstein's alleged crimes after the billionaire financier pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court.

"President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York," according to a statement tweeted by Clinton's press secretary Angel Ureña.

Epstein was arrested Saturday on sex-trafficking charges dating back to the 2000s, according to the Associated Press. On Monday, Epstein pleaded not guilty to one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex-trafficking conspiracy, which stem from accusations dating to 2002-2005. 

According to the federal indictment, Epstein "sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes" in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, along with other locations. He also allegedly paid some of his victims to recruit more underage girls, according to the indictment.

Epstein's lawyers argued that the matter had been settled a decade ago with a plea deal in Florida. “This is ancient stuff,” Epstein attorney Reid Weingarten said Monday in court, calling the case essentially a “redo” by the government.

In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to state charges of soliciting and procuring a person under age 18 for prostitution, which could have led to a lifetime in prison if prosecuted, the AP reported. Epstein was sentenced for 13 months in jail, under a non-prosecution agreement overseen by federal authorities in Florida. He was also required to reach financial settlements with dozens of his once-teenage victims and register as a sex offender.

Jeffrey Epstein is in legal trouble: Here's what we know

More: Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein pleads not guilty to sex-trafficking claims that 'shock the conscience'

Epstein has been tied to Clinton and President Donald Trump

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.”

An attorney for the Trump Organization has said Trump had " 'no relationship' " with Epstein, the Washington Post reported Monday. But, the Post also reported that "outside of Trump’s own words, there is clear evidence that the two men — both members of the same highflying social worlds in Manhattan and Palm Beach — socialized together in the past."

Clinton's spokesperson said in the statement that the former president had taken a total of four trips on Epstein's private airplane between 2002 and 2003, one to Europe, one to Asia and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation.

According to the statement, staff, Clinton Foundation supporters, and Clinton's Secret Service detail traveled on every leg of every trip. In addition, in 2002 Clinton also had a meeting with Epstein at the former president's Harlem office and one brief visit to Epstein's New York apartment, where a staff member and Clinton's security detail were present.

"He's not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein's ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida," the statement concluded.

Contributing: Kevin McCoy, John Bacon and Jorge L. Ortiz

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Spokesman: Bill Clinton 'knows nothing' about 'terrible crimes' alleged against Epstein