During a Monday press conference on the arrest and indictment of infamous sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said that the authorities discovered nude images over the weekend during a search of Epstein’s Upper East Side home.
The images, Berman said, were naked photos of what appeared to be underage girls. In other words, alleged possession of child pornography.
Berman with SDNY has confirmed in a press conference that several nude photos of victims have been recovered in a search of Epstein's property. #JeffreyEpsteinArrest
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) July 8, 2019
The govt wants to seize Epstein’s 21,000 sq ft mansion on E 71st St. Described as the biggest town home in NYC.
When they raided it, they found nude photos of what appeared to be underage girls, Berman said.
— Helen Kennedy (@HelenKennedy) July 8, 2019
FBI seized nude photos of underage girls from Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion, Berman says.
— Stephen Brown (@PPVSRB) July 8, 2019
Epstein was indicted on Monday for alleged sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking (18 U.S.C. § 371 and 18 U.S.C. § 1591). It was alleged that Epstein sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls–both at his Palm Beach, Florida and Manhattan, New York homes–from around 2002 to 2005. Nowhere in the indictment did authorities mention the nude photographs referenced on Monday. It seems possible that Esptein could also be charged under 18 U.S.C. § 2252, which deals with “Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.”
The law is clear that anyone who knowingly receives images depicting a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct shall be imprisoned “not less than 5 years” upon conviction.
Prosecutors have asked other potential Esptein victims to come forward and to call the FBI, indicating that the investigation is very much ongoing and that there may be a superseding indictment down the line.
If you believe you are a victim of Jeffrey Epstein, or have information about the conduct alleged in the Indictment unsealed today, please call 1-800-CALL FBI pic.twitter.com/f3ZMThOxJX
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) July 8, 2019
Prosecutors acknowledged the possibility of additional charges and/or additional defendants in this case, while also saying a superseding indictment is not imminent.
Berman: Do you anticipate that there may be other defendants in this proceeding?
Rossmiller: We don’t expect any imminent superseding indictments in this case.
But it may be possible down the road, the AUSA says.
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) July 8, 2019
Authorities went into further detail about the nature of the images on Monday to argue that Epstein should be detained pending trial.
Prosecutors noted that Epstein is a registered sex offender with a prior conviction, but that he has nonetheless “continued to maintain a vast trove of lewd photographs of young-looking women or girls in his Manhattan mansion.”
Epstein was allegedly found to have “at least hundreds–and perhaps thousands–of sexually suggestive photographs of fully-or partially nude females.” Prosecutors said some of the images appear to be of underage girls. Even more notable [emphasis ours]: One of the images included “at least one girl, who according to her counsel, was underage at the time the relevant photographs were taken.” Prosecutors said Epstein some photos were locked away in a safe.
You can read the rest of the government’s detainment argument below.
[Image via CBS News screengrab]