Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Donald Hafele rejects delay of trial that is expected to plumb details of Epstein having sex with teenage girls.
Posted: 8:15 p.m. Thursday, March 08, 2018
WEST PALM BEACH —What promises to be a salacious trial involving convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein appeared to be spinning out of control Thursday as his attorneys fended off allegations that they were trying to use stolen documents to get their billionaire client off the hook.
Despite allegations of wrongdoing against one of Palm Beach County’s most prominent law firms and complex issues involving imprisoned Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Donald Hafele refused Epstein’s request to delay the civil trial that is scheduled to start Tuesday.
“I’m not pleased by the events that have occurred here,” Hafele said at one point during the all-day hearing. Noting that he had already rescheduled the trial once late late year to allow Epstein’s new attorneys to get up to speed, Hafele described the request for yet another delay as unconscionable.
“This case has drawn a significant amount of public interest and has been pending for 3,013 days, as of today,” he said of the lawsuit Epstein originally filed against attorney Bradley Edwards in 2009 and has morphed into a malicious prosecution lawsuit pitting Edwards against Epstein.
Epstein’s attorneys Scott Link and Kara Rockenbach immediately appealed Hafele’s decision to the 4th District Court of Appeal.
In refusing to delay the trial that Epstein is not expected to attend, Hafele also rejected an effort by Epstein’s attorneys to show the jury what they described as newly-discovered evidence. They claimed confidential emails they uncovered proves that Epstein had good reason to sue Edwards over lawsuits Edwards filed against him on behalf of three young women who claimed Epstein paid them for sex when they were as young as 14.
Epstein ultimately dropped his lawsuit against Edwards, who responded by filing a malicious prosecution suit against the 64-year-old part-time Palm Beach resident who spends most of his time on a private island he owns in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Attorney Jack Scarola, who represents Edwards, described the new evidence Link and Rockenbach discovered as “stolen.” He said the evidence — some 27,000 emails that are protected by attorney-client privilege — came from the law offices of Epstein’s former attorney Joseph Ackerman. A federal judge in 2010 ordered Ackerman’s firm, Fowler White Burnett, not to retain the records and threatened to sanction the lawyers if they did, Scarola said.
To allow Epstein to use the confidential memos Edwards wrote to clients, including the teens he represented, is unfathomable, Scarola argued.
Link acknowledged that he discovered the emails on disks that were in boxes he retrieved from Fowler White while preparing for the upcoming trial. Ackerman, he said, didn’t know exactly where the disks came from. Link disputed Scarola’s characterization of the disks as “stolen.”
“How Fowler White got the disks is as clear as mud,” Link said. “It’s not as simple and clear as Mr. Scarola says.”
Ackerman did not respond to Palm Beach Post requests for comment Thursday.
Hafele said the propriety of Fowler White’s actions would be decided later. But, he said, after nine years of litigation, the evidence is hardly new.
“Mr. Ackerman had these documents since Day One,” Hafele said. “Epstein’s own lawyers have been sitting on them since Day One. … If no one got around to looking at Fowler White documents, it’s not my problem.”
Link unsuccessfully argued that the emails are key to Epstein’s defense. “They eviscerate Mr. Edwards’ case,” Rockenbach said.
Saying the discovery of the emails came too late and under too unusual of circumstances, Hafele barred Link and Rockenbach from using them.
The strange lawsuit grew from the ashes of the 2009 implosion of Rothstein’s once-powerful Fort Lauderdale law firm where Edwards worked. Rothstein, who was disbarred and is now serving a 50-year sentence, admitted he ran a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme by convincing investors he had negotiated multi-million settlements in high-profile cases. The settlements didn’t exist.
The phony settlements included the three lawsuits Edwards filed against Epstein. In the lawsuit against Edwards that he later dropped, Epstein claimed Edwards conspired with Rothstein. Edwards subpoenaedEpstein’s high-profile friends, including now President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton, simply to convince investors that the eye-popping settlement amounts were legitimate, Epstein claimed in the lawsuit.
Scarola insists Epstein had no basis for his claims. Epstein paid Edwards three clients a total of $5.5 million to settle the lawsuits. Further, Epstein settled another roughly 30 lawsuits with other young women for undisclosed amounts.
Epstein was required to settle the lawsuits as part of a controversial non-prosecution agreement he inked with federal prosecutors in 2007. Prosecutors agreed to drop their investigation into allegations that Epstein paid minors for sex at his Palm Beach mansion. In exchange, Epstein agreed to plead guilty to state charges of soliciting minors for prostitution and solicitation of prostitution. He served 13 months of an 18-month jail sentence. He also agreed to settle the lawsuits and register as a sex offender for life.
MASSIVE FIRE REPORTEDLY SEEN ON PRIVATE ISLAND OWNED BY BILLIONAIRE, AND SEXUAL PREDATOR, JEFFREY EPSTEIN
Apr 8, 2018 | 2018
Sources have reported that infamous billionaire and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s private island located in the Caribbean has recently caught on fire:
Photo of fire reportedly seen on Epstein’s private island
The cause of the fire is unknown, but some are speculating it may have started as the result of a relatively small 4.9 magnitude earthquake that struck yesterday just off the coast:
Others say it was intentionally created to destroy evidence related to Epstein’s latest legal troubles.
Last month, numerous outlets reported on Jeffrey Epstein’s salacious Florida trial being granted a stay by the appeals court.
According to a March 14th article on JDJournal:
“The famed sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein is set to go to trial but his legal team is pushing to get the trial delayed. The Palm Beach billionaire settled lawsuits against him from three teenage victims for $5.5 million. Epstein claims that he was persuaded to settle the claims by attorney Bradley Edwards and former attorney Scott Rothstein.
“The case between Epstein and Edwards was slated to begin Tuesday (3/13/18) in the Palm Beach County Circuit Court. After a round of appeals filed by Epstein’s attorneys Scott Link and Kara Rockenbach, the 4th District Court of Appeal granted a stay in the case.”
JDJournal also reported that since the trial was delayed, Epstein “has been spending most of his time on his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
The island, which can be found on Google Maps, is officially named ‘Little St. James Island’:
Located on the southwest portion of the island is a strange temple-like structure and opening to a possible nefarious underground facility (Image Credits: Google):
Notable public figures, such as former President Bill Clinton, have been reported to travel with Epstein on his ‘Lolita Express’ to various places, including this private island.
According to a 2016 article on the New York Post:
“Epstein has spent the bulk of his adult life cultivating relationships with the world’s most powerful men. Flight logs show that from 2001 to 2003, Bill Clinton flew on Epstein’s private plane, dubbed ‘The Lolita Express’ by the press, 26 times. After Epstein’s arrest in July 2006, federal tax records show Epstein donated $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation that year.”
“In January 2015, a 31-year-old American woman, Virginia Roberts, alleged in a sworn affidavit that at the age of 17, she had been held as a sex slave by Epstein. She further alleged that he had trafficked her to several people, including Prince Andrew and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz. Roberts also claimed that Epstein and others had physically and sexually abused her.
“Roberts alleged that the FBI may have been involved in a cover-up. She said she had served as Epstein’s sex slave from 1999 to 2002 and had recruited other under-age girls. Prince Andrew, Epstein and Dershowitz all denied having had sex with Roberts. Dershowitz took legal action over the allegations. A diary purported to belong to Roberts was published online. Epstein entered an out-of-court settlement with Roberts, as he has done in several other lawsuits.
“The BBC television series ‘Panorama’ planned an investigation of the scandal. As of 2016 these claims had not been tested in any law court.”
Kevin Spacey, Chris Tucker, Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, and Woody Allen are some other celebrities that have reportedly traveled and partied with Epstein in the past.