Epstein’s arrest, first reported by The Daily Beast, came amid renewed scrutiny of the once-secret 2008 plea deal that ended the federal investigation against him.
He ultimately served 13 months in jail and registered as a sex offender after pleading guilty to two lesser state prostitution charges, with one involving a girl whom prosecutors called a prostitute — even though she was only 14 years old.
Epstein had faced a possible life sentence prior to that plea deal, which has been challenged in Florida federal court. The deal also required he reach financial settlements with dozens of his once-teenage victims and register as a sex offender.
Epstein’s deal was overseen by former Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who is now Trump’s labor secretary. Acosta has defended the plea deal as appropriate under the circumstances, though the White House said in February that it was “looking into” his handling of the arrangement.
“This matter has been publicly addressed previously, including during confirmation hearings,” a Labor Department spokesperson told Fox News. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida has defended the actions in this case across three administrations.”
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra of Florida ruled earlier this year that Epstein’s victims should have been consulted under federal law about the deal, and he was weighing whether to invalidate the non-prosecution agreement, or NPA, that protected Epstein from federal charges.
The accusers in the Florida case have until Monday to respond to the Justice Department’s filing.
Investigators said at least 40 underage girls were brought into Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion for what turned into sexual encounters after fixers looked for suitable girls locally and in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world, according to court records in Florida.
In addition, some girls allegedly were brought to Epstein’s homes in New York City, New Mexico and a private Caribbean island, according to court documents.