A new video unearthed by NBC News shows President Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein, now indicted on child sex trafficking charges, talking and joking at a 1992 party held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.
It’s difficult to make out what’s being said between the two. But footage shows Trump greeting Epstein outside the club as Epstein arrives.
Later, footage shows Trump and Epstein standing and watching a group of women dancing while the two joke around.
The video was recorded 16 years before Epstein, a wealthy financier, pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges which netted him just 13 months in jail. Most of that time was spent on supervised release, in which Epstein was allowed to leave during the day for work.
Many experts have called that deal too lenient. A Miami Herald investigation detailed the machinations behind that deal, which was made despite Epstein being accused of having sex with several underage girls.
Epstein has since been arrested again and charged with child trafficking by the Southern District of New York.
In response to the latest charges, Trump has said he had a “falling out” with Epstein about 15 years ago.
“Well, I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him. I mean, people in Palm Beach knew him. He was a fixture in Palm Beach,” Trump recounted. “I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn’t a fan.”
Back in 2002, Trump told a different story to New York Magazine. He even touted Epstein’s attraction to “younger” women: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” Trump said of Epstein.
“He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
One Epstein accuser said she was recruited by an Epstein associate while the 15-year-old girl was working at Mar-a-Lago. She said Epstein sexually assaulted her during a massage.
Epstein also reportedly socialized with former President Bill Clinton. But Clinton has denied having any knowledge of Epstein’s alleged preying on young girls.
The renewed outrage over Epstein’s 2008 plea deal triggered the resignation of Alex Acosta, who Trump selected to serve as Labor Secretary. Acosta oversaw that deal as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
“It would be selfish for me to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that’s 12 years old rather than about the amazing economy we have right now,” Acosta said upon announcing his resignation.
In addition to a light punishment for Epstein, prosecutors at the time agreed not to charge any potential co-conspirators and did not inform the alleged victims of the arrangement. A judge found that prosecutors under Acosta broke the law in their handling of the case.