Former President Bill Clinton issued a statement Monday attempting to distance himself from billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein was arrested over the weekend and charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy for allegedly paying underage girls for sex and using them to recruit other girls into the sex trafficking network.
What did Clinton say?
The statement reads:
"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. In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein's airplane: one to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation. Staff, supporters of the Foundation, and his secret service detail traveled on every leg of every trip. He had one meeting with Epstein in his Harlem office in 2002, and around the same time made one brief visit to Epstein's New York apartment with a staff member and his security detail. 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."
About Epstein's charges
The newly-unsealed indictments against Epstein allege that from at least 2002 until 2005 Epstein created a "vast network" of underage girls who were exploited and abused.
"The victims, who were as young as 14 years of age, were told by Epstein or other individuals to partially or fully undress before beginning the 'massage,'" according to prosecutors. "During the encounter, Epstein would escalate the nature and scope of physical contact with his victims to include among other things, sex acts such as groping and direct and indirect contact with the victim's genitals."
Victims were allegedly as young as 14 years old. Epstein, who is 66 is in jail awaiting a hearing, and faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
Epstein struck a plea deal in 2008 to avoid federal prosecution after being accused of sexually abusing underage girls.