A former prosecutor, who faced an unexpected dismissal by the U.S. Virgin Islands governor, has disclosed that she was pressured by the governor to act in favor of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Denise George, the Virgin Islands attorney general until the end of 2022, has testified under oath that Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. personally contacted her to request a waiver from travel restrictions against Epstein.
George testified that Bryan “was telling me that, you know, Jeffrey Epstein wants to have this waiver of the travel requirements, and that he said that his attorneys will be contacting me, and encouraged me to meet with the attorneys to consider it.”
Vincent Frazer, who served as the Virgin Islands attorney general from 2007 to 2015, had previously granted Epstein a waiver from in-person reporting requirements, significantly reducing the notification requirement. Court documents reveal that Frazer permitted Epstein to inform authorities merely 72 hours before departing the Virgin Islands, accepting email notifications. This waiver was issued at the behest of Epstein’s legal team, who contended that Epstein, as a businessman, frequently traveled and that in-person notifications would be excessively burdensome.
A 2012 Virgin Islands law imposed stipulations on sex offenders but allowed the attorney general the discretion to modify or waive these requirements for specific reasons, such as frequent business-related travel outside the Virgin Islands. Following complaints from Epstein’s lawyers, Frazer further reduced the notification time from 72 hours to a mere 24.
Acting Attorney General Carol Thomas-Jacobs nullified this agreement in 2019 due to a lack of supporting evidence. George took over as attorney general later that year, which led to her being approached by Bryan.
George reviewed the records held by the Virgin Islands Department of Justice and found no evidence suggesting that Epstein qualified for any waivers or relaxed restrictions.
“I realized there was some political maneuvering that [Mr. Epstein] was doing,” George commented, referring to her interaction with the governor. “That by itself indicated to me that he was flexing his political influence over or with the governor in an effort to get a favorable result in what I considered to be definitely a law enforcement issue by the attorney general,” she added.
While George deliberated on the request, the governor sent her a text message urging her to make a decision. Reflecting on the situation, she believes that her refusal negatively impacted her relationship with the governor.
“I am always determined to stand for what it is that I believe is right based on my position as to having [to] make law enforcement decisions. And I make them irrespective of anything as far as who the people are or whatever political influence or power they may have,” George stated.
Bryan, in a separate deposition, denied giving Epstein any special treatment. He emphasized the importance of attracting wealthy individuals to the Virgin Islands to create job opportunities. For nearly two decades, the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority granted tax breaks to Epstein’s companies for establishing their headquarters in the Virgin Islands. Before his tenure as governor, Bryan led this authority.
Bryan recognized Epstein’s incarceration for a sex-related crime. However, Virgin Islands officials deemed this offense unrelated to his business, so it did not affect his tax breaks.
“Whatever he settled with Florida was good for us,” Bryan remarked.
During another deposition, Frazer mentioned that his team researched Epstein and identified him as “an international financier.” Epstein’s business required frequent travel, which led to the waiver’s issuance. Frazer firmly believed that this waiver did not facilitate Epstein’s involvement in sex trafficking.
These depositions, made public this month, were taken in July as part of a case between the Virgin Islands and JPMorgan Chase Bank. Both parties have accused each other of aiding Epstein’s illicit activities, which, as per federal officials, encompassed the sex trafficking of minors.
Jeffrey Epstein, owner of two islands in the Virgin Islands, met his end in New York in 2019 while awaiting trial. His death was ruled a suicide by a medical examiner, yet the findings are considered unlikely by many.
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