President Trump on witness list in Palm Beach lawsuit involving billionaire pedophile

By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org 

President Trump and Jeffrey Epstein

President Donald Trump is on a list of witnesses for trial in a Palm Beach lawsuit that pits billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein against a Fort Lauderdale attorney who represents Epstein’s victims.

The case appears bound for trial this summer following a Feb. 9 ruling by the Florida Supreme Court in another case that has allowed Fort Lauderdale lawyer Bradley Edwards’ claim of malicious prosecution against Epstein to proceed.

President Trump “has been identified as an individual who may have information relating to these allegations,” said Edwards’ West Palm Beach attorney Jack Scarola, who placed Trump’s name on a witness list on Aug. 31. “But it’s unlikely that he would ever be called” to appear at trial, especially now that he’s assumed the presidency.

Scarola said Trump is one of a number of high-profile individuals whose testimony might be relevant because they “had a relationship with Epstein that would have at least exposed them potentially to what was going on inside Epstein’s Palm Beach home … during the relevant period of time” between 2001-2007.

What was going on in Epstein’s mansion, court papers say, was an ugly child molestation scheme involving sex with “substantially more” than 40 girls, some as young as 12. A “statement of undisputed facts” filed by Scarola says Epstein used his staff and his victims to recruit more victims, employing “a pyramid abuse scheme in which he paid underage victims $200-$300 cash for each other underage victim that she brought to him.”

“There is no evidence the President was involved in Epstein’s schemes,” Scarola said.

Secretary of Labor nominee Alex Acosta

Still, the spectacle of a U.S. president being drawn into sordid litigation involving a notorious politically connected sexual criminal who got an apparent sweetheart deal from then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta, now Trump’s nominee to become U.S. Secretary of Labor, represents a potential political nightmare for the White House.

The White House press office did not respond to requests for comment.

Epstein’s attorney, Tonja Haddad Coleman, declined to comment.

An affidavit about Trump

A little-noticed affidavit by Edwards recounting his knowledge of Trump’s involvement with Epstein is recounted further below in this story.

Investment banker Epstein, represented by a team of high-powered lawyers, pleaded guilty June 30, 2008 in Palm Beach Circuit Court to two felonies: procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and offering to commit prostitution. He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence. The Palm Beach Daily News has reported Epstein served his time in “a vacant wing at the Palm Beach County Stockade with liberal work-release privileges.”

Today, Epstein, 64, is a registered sex offender.

In exchange for his plea, U.S. Attorney Acosta agreed not prosecute Epstein or his employees on federal charges contained in a 53-page indictment. A 2007 federal non-prosecution agreement with Epstein states, among other things, that he “knowingly and willfully” conspired with others to use interstate commerce to “persuade, induce, or entice minor females to engage in prostitution.”

If convicted of that charge, and others cited in the agreement, Epstein faced possible prison for life.

Republican Acosta, dean of Florida International University’s Law School and chairman of U.S. Century Bank, is expected to be asked about his treatment of Epstein at his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

In addition to the malicious prosecution claim against Epstein, attorney Edwards is also suing the government on behalf of “Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2” and others under the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA). The lawsuit, filed in 2008, alleges the U.S. Attorney’s Office under Acosta violated the rights of Epstein’s victims by, among other things, “conspiring” with Epstein to keep them “in the dark’’ so the plea arrangement could be done without the victims “raising any objection.”

Wifredo Ferrer, who stepped down as Miami U.S. Attorney earlier this month

In February 2016, Edwards and co-counsel Paul Cassell filed a still-pending motion for summary judgment that says Acosta’s successor, Wifredo Ferrer, “has continued to fight” victims’ efforts “to have the court declare that their rights were violated.” The motion asks U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra to rule that the government violated the victims’ rights and explore possible remedies. Ferrer stepped down March 3.

Addressing a “terrible injustice”

“Both Brad and Professor Cassell undertook and have continued to prosecute the CVRA claim to address what they perceive to be a terrible injustice,” said Scarola. “There is no claim for money damages and there is no prevailing party provision in the CVRA” that would allow them to collect legal fees for their work on the case.

Attorney Edwards began representing several of Epstein’s victims while maintaining a solo law practice in 2008, settling a number of claims for undisclosed amounts two years later.

For eight months in 2009, however, he worked for Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, the law firm that spectacularly imploded in scandal in November of that year when it was discovered that founder Scott Rothstein was running a giant Ponzi scheme. Rothstein, now in prison, enticed investors by falsely claiming that they could buy into lucrative pending settlements in whistleblower, sexual harassment and other cases.

Edwards’ court papers say he knew nothing of Rothstein’s schemes, and federal authorities later determined Edwards to have been one of Rothstein’s victims. In 2009, however, Epstein sued Rothstein, Edwards and one of Edwards’ clients alleging, among other things, civil racketeering. Edwards’ court response: the suit was filed “for the sole purpose of attempting to intimidate” him and his client.

Epstein later dropped all his allegations, and Edwards since has turned the case back against him with his counterclaim of malicious prosecution. The case was on hold for two years pending last month’s Florida Supreme Court ruling, which reversed a lower court decision that dismissed the accusation on technical grounds.

Edwards won’t discuss either case. But in a little-noticed 2010 affidavit, given a year after the case was filed, Edwards explained why he thought Trump and other notables involved with Epstein, including former President Bill Clinton, might have relevant information to provide.

“If you’ve read Brad’s affidavit then you know everything there is to know regarding Trump,” Scarola said.

Does Trump have knowledge of Epstein’s crimes?

In his affidavit, Edwards suggests Trump has personal knowledge of Epstein’s criminality.

“I learned through a source that Trump banned Epstein from his Maralago [Mar-A- Lago] Club in West Palm Beach because Epstein sexually assaulted an underage girl at the club,” Edwards stated.

The affidavit notes that Trump visited Epstein at Epstein’s West Palm Beach home – “the same home where Epstein abused minor girls daily.”

Fort Lauderdale attorney Bradley Edwards

A “review of message pads confiscated from Epstein’s home” showed “that Trump called Epstein’s West Palm Beach mansion on several occasions during the time period relevant to my client’s complaints,” the affidavit says. Likewise “Epstein’s phone directory from his computer contains 14 phone numbers for Donald Trump, including emergency numbers, car numbers, and numbers to Trump’s security guard and houseman.”

The affidavit goes on to say that one of Epstein’s victims “Jane Doe #102” has alleged that she was initially approached at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago by Ghislaine Maxwell and recruited to be Maxwell and Epstein’s “underage sex slave.”

Maxwell, daughter of the late British publishing baron Robert Maxwell, is named in the affidavit as an Epstein associate of interest. She is described in court papers as Epstein’s “longtime companion” who helped run his companies and “recruit underage children” for the pleasure of both Epstein and herself. The affidavit says she attended the wedding of Chelsea Clinton, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s daughter, in July 2010.

The affidavit goes on to cite the 2009 deposition of Epstein’s brother, Mark Epstein, who “testified that Trump flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane with him (the same plane that Jane Doe 102 alleged was used to have sex with underage girls).”

Likewise, attorney Edwards cited in his affidavit a 2002 New York Magazine article about Epstein titled, “Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery.”

“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” said Trump, then a prominent, wealthy New York developer. “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.”

The subtitle of the article about Epstein: “He’s pals with a passel of Nobel Prize-winning scientists, CEOs like Leslie Wexner of the Limited, socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, even Donald Trump. But it wasn’t until he flew Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, and Chris Tucker to Africa on his private Boeing 727 that the world began to wonder who he is.”

A second U.S. president

While ex-President Clinton is not on the witness list for trial, Edwards listed a number of reasons in his affidavit to believe that Clinton might have relevant information about Epstein. They include:

·      Clinton’s “well known” friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell, an alleged enabler of Epstein’s sexual crimes with young girls.

·      Clinton’s highly publicized travel with Epstein and Maxwell aboard Epstein’s private plane to Africa. Flight logs for “the relevant years 2002-2005 showed Clinton traveling on Epstein’s plane on more than 10 occasions and his assistant, Doug Band, traveled on many more occasions.” The logs also showed Clinton traveled with other “employees and/or co-conspirators of Epstein’s that were closely connected to Epstein’s child exploitation and sexual abuse.”

·      “Jane Doe No. 102 stated generally that she was required by Epstein to be exploited not only by Epstein but also Epstein’s ‘adult male peers, including royalty, politicians, academicians, businessmen and/or other professional and personal acquaintances’ – categories Clinton and acquaintances of Clinton fall into.”

Ex-President Bill Clinton

·      “Clinton frequently flew with Epstein aboard his plane, then suddenly stopped – raising the suspicion that the friendship abruptly ended, perhaps because of events related to Epstein’s sexual abuse of children.”

·      Epstein’s computer contact list “contains e-mail addresses for Clinton along with 21 phone numbers for him.”

Attorney Scarola would not say why Clinton is not on the Aug. 31 witness list, stating he is “not at liberty to discuss our litigation strategy.”

Edwards initially sought to depose Trump and Clinton about Epstein, but never did. Scarola said there was no need to depose them after Epstein dropped his racketeering and other claims against Edwards.

While there are other notables on the witness list of those with knowledge of Epstein, including retired Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and illusionist David Copperfield, there’s only one other politician. That’s ex-New Mexico Governor and Clinton Administration Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson.

The affidavit says Epstein’s personal pilot, Larry Morrison, testified in a 2009 deposition about “Richardson joining Epstein at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch” and that “there was information that Epstein had young girls at his ranch which, given the circumstances of the case, raised the reasonable inference he was sexually abusing these girls since he had regularly and frequently abused girls in West Palm Beach and elsewhere.

“Richardson had also returned campaign donations that were given to him by Epstein, indicating that he believed that there was something about Epstein that he did not want to be associated with,” the affidavit says.

Broward’s main trash hauler under investigation in Palm Beach for cheating on contract

By Buddy Nevins, BrowardBulldog.org

The mammoth international waste company fighting to retain its near-monopoly on Broward County’s trash disposal business is under investigation for cheating Palm Beach County out of more than $700,000.

Waste Management is accused of dumping garbage in Broward, which deprived Palm Beach of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.

A company official said the allegations involved a tiny fraction of the garbage that Waste Management handled and said it was the result of unintentional errors.

At the same time Waste Management’s hauling operation has been battling allegations of fraud in Palm Beach, it has been negotiating through its subsidiary Wheelabrator Technologies for a no-bid disposal deal in Broward.

The biggest portion of Waste Management’s business in Broward is garbage disposal for 26 of the county’s 31 municipalities.

Handling waste is divided into two separate jobs, both done by separate arms of Waste Management. There is hauling, or picking up garbage usually under a franchise agreement with a local government. And there is disposal, the site where garbage is taken by a hauler to burn or bury in a landfill. Hauling and disposal are generally added together and billed homes and businesses as one amount.

AN ENORMOUS DEAL

Broward’s long-term contract represents more than a $1 billion deal for Wheelabrator.

The company has had a lock on this waste disposal for more than 20 years and is seeking to use no-bid negotiations to extend it through at least the end of the decade. Other waste firms are lobbying Broward officials to allow bids for waste disposal, arguing that competition can bring lower prices for homes and businesses.

While the jockeying continued in Broward, Palm Beach Commissioners this week rejected a $719,000 settlement agreement with Waste Management. Palm Beach Commissioners instead ordered the violations investigated by the county’s inspector general.  The inspector general is expected to determine if the problem is bigger than auditors uncovered.

Commissioner Burt Aaronson noted that an independent audit only covered the period from Oct. 1, 2008 to April 30, 2011.  The same study found indications that waste from Southern Palm Beach and Boca Raton had been diverted as early as 2004.

“It may just be the tip of the iceberg,” Aaronson said.

Criminal fraud, which the inspector general could refer to law enforcement authorities, is not suspected, according to Charles Maccarrone, the chief financial officer for Palm Beach’s Solid Waste Authority.

Under its franchise agreement, Waste Management must haul “all” waste to a processing and disposal facility where the county can receive a $42-per-ton fee.  When the waste is hauled by Waste Management to its Broward facilities in violation of the contract, Palm Beach received nothing and the company saves the $42-per-ton.

HOW THE FRAUD WAS FOUND

The fraud was discovered during a routine review by the Palm Beach waste authority’s staff of a Boca Raton commercial waste customer’s accounts. Trying to determine whether the customer could benefit from recycling, staffers “learned that their contract waste hauler, Waste Management, was diverting some of its (municipal solid waste) to facilities owned by (Waste Management) in Broward County,” according to an authority memo prepared last month.

The memo was made public at a waste authority meeting this week.  At the meeting, Waste Management was excoriated by members of the public. Delray Beach resident Kenneth MacNamee charged that Waste Management had a “deliberate and concerted plan” to cheat the county government.

A Waste Management spokeswoman bristled.

“The allegations thrown out by a few members of the community were clearly baseless,” said Dawn McCormick of Waste Management.

An independent forensic auditor found that 8,440 tons of waste had been diverted to Waste Management’s Broward disposal sites during a 31-month period surveyed. “It was only .6 percent of the waste we handle.  Therefore we correctly delivered 99.4 percent of material collected to SWA (Solid Waste Authority) facilities,” McCormick said.

McCormick said the “unintentional” errors mostly occurred on Sunday when the Palm Beach facilities were closed.  Some Waste Management commercial customers, such as restaurants, demanded a pickup Sunday and there was no place but Broward to dispose of the garbage.

McCormick said Waste Management would work diligently with the inspector general to “put this matter behind us.”

BIG $ FOR YOUR GARBAGE

Designating where garbage is disposed, is a highly lucrative clause written into each city’s contract with waste haulers.  By controlling where garbage is disposed, governments can tack a high fee to the disposal cost.

Courts have repeatedly upheld government’s authority over where garbage is disposed. Still, “we’ve had problems with enforcing it,” conceded Ron Greenstein, executive director of Broward’s Resource Recovery Board.

County inspectors frequently check disposal sites to insure they are not handling waste that is supposed to go to the county facilities operated by Wheelabrator.

Haulers who violate their franchise agreement over disposal locations either promise to stop, pay a fine or end up in court.

But in the case of Waste Management, the disposal issue hasn’t been an issue in Broward.

In Broward County, Waste Management’s subsidiary Wheelabrator owns the two biggest garbage disposal facilities. Through Broward’s Resource Recovery Board, the company has had a disposal contract with 26 of the county’s 31 cities since the late 1980s. It is currently negotiating behind closed doors to renew its current contract, which expires in the summer of 2013.

Waste Management owns the disposal sites, so there has never been a problem of the company shipping its trash to other facilities to avoid paying the county fees like it has with other firms, Greenstein said.

Because of those reasons, Greenstein believes that the allegations against Waste Management in Palm Beach should not affect the disposal negotiations in Broward.

 

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