Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein has been seen in public for the first time following accusations of procuring an underage girl for Prince Andrew surfaced during a high profile court case.
The Daily Mail snapped exclusive pictures in which Epstein is seen walking in Manhattan, New York with an unidentified young woman.
The woman appeared relaxed as she and Epstein walked on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where he owns what is said to be New York’s largest private home.
But his re-emergence in the public eye – and apparent nonchalance – is likely to cause grave concern for Hillary Clinton campaign aides, as
Republican strategists have been waiting for an opportunity to highlight Epstein’s close links to her husband.
Epstein’s presence in public life has already caused difficulties for Prince Andrew, who issued an unprecedented public denial of a claim by a victim of
Epstein that the billionaire gave her to the prince for sex when she was underage.
Epstein’s re-emergence in public view – he was last photographed in February 2011 – will cause new headaches for Hillary Clinton’s message-challenged presidential campaign, and give her critics another opening to tar and feather her with scandal.
Her husband, former US president Bill Clinton, has been associated with Epstein in the past – even traveling with him 10 times aboard his private aircraft, dubbed the ‘Lolita Express.’
Some of those trips included stops at Epstein’s private Caribbean compound that later became known as ‘orgy island’.
Republicans have been licking their chops for new lines of attack against Mrs Clinton, who is now the Democratic Party’s White House front-runner.
‘I’d like to know what he was doing with Jeffrey Epstein, how many trips did he take, where was he going, what did he do when he was with this guy?’
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus told Bloomberg in March.
‘When you hang out with a guy who has a reputation like Jeffrey Epstein, multiple times, on private jets, on weekends, on trips, on places at least where it’s been reported not very good things happen, it would be good to know what our former president was doing, especially because it appears he’s going to be part of a campaign ticket on the other side of the aisle.’
Bill Clinton famously said in 1992 that a vote for her husband was a choice to get ‘two for the price of one,’ with both halves of the power couple – him and Hillary – contributing to America’s leadership.
A majority of Americans saw that as a bargain a generation ago, but the concept may seem less appetizing with every pound of embarrassing baggage Bill accumulates.
When lawyers for Virginia Roberts – the 26-year-old Florida woman who claimed Epstein kept her as a teen ‘sex slave’ – sifted through Epstein’s electronic contact directory, they found 21 separate entries under Clinton’s name, including some pointing to his longtime aide Doug Band.
It was Band whose company, Teneo Holdings, employed Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin on the side while she was the State Department’s deputy chief of staff.
The unusual arrangement netted Abedin hundreds of thousands of dollars after her husband, the sexting lawmaker Anthony Weiner, resigned from Congress in disgrace.
Abedin was permitted to double-dip her employment because Hillary designated her a ‘Special Government Employee’. She now accompanies Mrs
Clinton on the presidential campaign trail as her political chief of staff.
Band also flew with Mr Clinton at least once on Epstein’s custom Boeing 727, according to a flight log from March 2002.
Bill Clinton reportedly cut off contact with Epstein after the pedophile was arrested in 2005 for receiving ‘erotic massages’ from an underage girl – but the Clinton Foundation accepted a $25,000 donation in July 2006, a full year later.
Epstein was convicted in 2008, in a plea bargain of a single charge of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14, and served 13 months in prison.