Jeffrey Epstein pleads not guilty to sex trafficking charges involving minors

Financier Jeffrey Epstein on Monday pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges, The Associated Press reported.

Epstein, 66, has been ordered to be kept in jail until a Thursday bail hearing. He was arrested in New Jersey on Saturday.

Federal prosecutors on Monday unsealed new charges against Epstein, alleging he abused dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005.

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The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said Epstein created “a network and operation enabling him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls,” and that he paid victims to recruit other girls.

The indictment also said Epstein was aware they were minors, and that some of the victims told him their age.

Epstein has previously said all encounters were consensual and that he believed the girls were 18 at the time.

His attorney, Jack Goldberger, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Prosecutors said Monday that several more accusers have come forward since Epstein’s arrest.

More than a decade ago, Epstein pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and was sentenced to 13 months in prison.

A detailed investigation published last year by the Miami Herald brought increased attention to that plea deal.

Then-U.S. attorney and current Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by National Association of Manufacturers — Whistleblower complaint roils Washington On The Money: Senate confirms Scalia as Labor chief | Bill with B in wall funding advanced over Democrats' objections | Lawyers reach deal to delay enforcement of NY tax return subpoena Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene' MORE in particular has come under scrutiny for a deal that allowed Epstein to avoid a life sentence. Acosta has defended the arrangement, arguing it ensured Epstein would spend time behind bars.

Updated at 2:53 p.m.