- During a previous investigation into Jeffrey Epstein in Florida, police reported that he hired at least three private investigators to intimidate accusers and witnesses.
- One private investigator reportedly offered money to an accuser to silence her, saying that “those who help him will be compensated and those who hurt him will be dealt with.”
- The US Attorney’s Office in Florida also cited aggressive tactics from private investigators, with then-US Attorney Alexander Acosta calling it a “year-long assault on the prosecution and the prosecutors.”
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Financier Jeffrey Epstein reportedly hired private investigators to silence accusers and prosecutors in an investigation into him over a decade ago, according to police reports.
Epstein was recently charged with the sex trafficking of minors on Monday by the US Attorney’s Office in New York, to which he pleaded not guilty.
However, it was a probe in Florida, which began in 2005, that led Epstein to resort to intimidation tactics against witnesses, accusers, and prosecutors, according to a CNN report.
Police believed Epstein hired at least three private investigators to keep tabs on his accusers, sitting in black SUVs outside their homes and questioning those connected to them, according to CNN. Police also reported that the mother of an accuser was even run off the road by a car belonging to a private investigator working on Epstein’s behalf.
This aggressive intimidation tactic didn’t stop with just accusers and witnesses but extended to prosecutors as well, according to a letter from Alexander Acosta.
Alexander Acosta, who served as the US Attorney in Florida during the Epstein’s investigation, wrote a letter in 2011, saying local police were “dissatisfied” with the State Attorney’s charges against Epstein – one count of aggravated assault with no intent to commit a felony – and requested a federal investigation to increase the severity of the charges.
According to the letter, prosecutors from the US Attorney’s Office gave Epstein an ultimatum: “plead to more serious state felony charges, or else prepare for a federal felony trial.”
What then ensued, according to Acosta, was a “year-long assault on the prosecution and the prosecutors.”
“I use the word assault intentionally, as the defense in this case was more aggressive than any which I, or the prosecutors in my office, had previously encountered,” he wrote.
Acosta recently stepped down as Labor Secretary under the Trump administration on Friday after facing backlash for a lenient plea deal he cut for Epstein in which he was convicted on two state counts of soliciting prostitution and was required to register as a sex offender. Instead of the maximum sentence of 10 years, Epstein spent 13 months in a private wing of a county jail and allowed to leave six days a week on a work arrangement.
The first private investigator, who was hired while attorney Roy Black was working Epstein’s case contacted one of Epstein’s former house managers to “meet with him to ascertain what he was going to tell the police,” according to a police report.
The private investigator also met with accusers just before or after they met with law enforcement detectives, CNN reported.
“Our firm, like most lawyers, engages private investigators who typically worked in law enforcement for many years, when appropriate to assist in gathering information in support of our clients’ interests,” Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf said in a statement to CNN. “We have no knowledge of any improper conduct by any of the private investigators who assisted us.”
In February 2006, attorney Alan Dershowitz, who also served as legal counsel to Epstein, presented information in court in an attempt to discredit Epstein’s accusers, including posts from the social media website MySpace, in which some of the accusers appeared to be using drugs and alcohol, CNN reported.
However, Dershowitz wrote an email to CNN denying his role in “investigating or arranging any investigation.”
“I’m an appellate lawyer who did only legal research and negotiation,” he wrote. “I don’t own a computer and wouldn’t even know how to access (MySpace).”
A Palm Beach police report detailed the account of a 14-year-old girl, who reported Epstein to law enforcement, being approached by another private investigator, the second one connected to Epstein, with a cash offer to not cooperate with law enforcement, saying “those who help him will be compensated and those who hurt him will be dealt with,” CNN reported.
“It was incredibly intimidating,” Spencer Kuvin, an attorney for three accusers, told CNN. “You have to remember these girls were 14 and 15 when this was happening.”
A week before the encounter, the father of the girl reported to police that the private investigator was “photographing his family and chasing visitors who come to the house.” Black was no longer working Epstein’s case at this point.
In June 2006, CNN reported that a parent of an accuser told authorities that he was being followed by a vehicle “as he drove to and from work and running errands throughout the county, the same vehicle was behind him running other vehicles off the road in an attempt to not lose sight of (the father’s) car,” according to a police report.
The aforementioned mother of the same accuser was run off the road by the vehicle as well, according to CNN. Police identified that the vehicle belonged to a third investigator.
CNN reported that Epstein’s current attorney Reid Weingarten said he didn’t know of the alleged car chase, and if it did happen, it was not by Epstein’s authorization.