March 2005: Police in Palm Beach, Florida, begin investigating Jeffrey Epstein after the family of a 14-year-old girl reports she was molested at the globetrotting financier's mansion. Multiple underage girls, many of them high school students, would later tell police that Epstein hired them to give sexual massages.
May 2006: Palm Beach police officials sign paperwork to charge Epstein with multiple counts of unlawful sex with a minor, but the county's top prosecutor, State Attorney Barry Krischer, takes the unusual step of sending the case to a grand jury.
July 2006: Epstein is arrested after a grand jury indicts him on a single count of soliciting prostitution. The relatively minor charge draws almost immediate criticism, and Krischer is accused of giving Epstein special treatment. The FBI begins an investigation.
2007: Federal prosecutors prepare an indictment against Epstein. But for a year, the money manager's lawyers engage in talks with the US attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, about a plea bargain that would allow Epstein to avoid a federal prosecution.
June 2008: Epstein pleads guilty to state charges: one count of soliciting prostitution and one count of soliciting prostitution from someone under the age of 18. He is sentenced to 18 months' jail. Under a secret arrangement, the US attorney's office agrees not to prosecute Epstein for federal crimes. Epstein serves most of his sentence in a work-release program.
July 2009: Epstein is released from jail. For the next decade, multiple women who say they are Epstein's victims wage a legal fight to get his federal non-prosecution agreement voided. One of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Giuffre, says in her lawsuits that, starting when she was 17, Epstein and his girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, set up sexual encounters with royalty, politicians, academicians, businessmen and other rich and powerful men, including Britain's Prince Andrew. Those men deny the allegations.
November 2018: The Miami Herald revisits the handling of Epstein's case in a series of stories focusing partly on the role of Acosta, who by this point is president Donald Trump's labour secretary, in arranging his unusual plea deal.
July 6, 2019: Epstein is arrested on federal sex-trafficking charges after federal prosecutors in New York conclude that they were not bound by the earlier non-prosecution deal. Days later, Acosta resigns as labour secretary amid public outrage over his role in the initial investigation.
August 10, 2019: Guards find Epstein dead in his cell at a federal jail in New York City. Investigators conclude he killed himself.
July 2, 2020: Federal prosecutors in New York charge Ghislaine Maxwell with sex crimes, saying she helped recruit the underage girls that Epstein sexually abused and sometimes took part in the abuse herself.
December 30, 2021: After a month-long trial, a jury convicts Maxwell of multiple charges, including sex trafficking, conspiracy and transportation of a minor for illegal sexual activity.
June 28, 2022: Maxwell is sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Australian Associated Press
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