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NEW YORK (Reuters) - American financier Jeffrey Epstein was charged with sex trafficking on Monday, as prosecutors accused him of luring dozens of girls as young as 14 to his luxury homes in New York and Florida and paying them for sex acts.

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Demonstrators hold signs aloft protesting Jeffrey Epstein, as he awaits arraignment in the Southern District of New York on charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, in New York, U.S., July 8, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

An indictment unsealed in federal court in Manhattan said Epstein, 66, “intentionally sought out minors and knew that many of his victims were in fact under the age of 18, including because, in some instances, minor victims expressly told him their age.”

The former hedge fund manager was accused of arranging for girls to perform nude “massages” and other sex acts, and paying some girls to recruit others.

Epstein has said in earlier court filings that his encounters with alleged victims were consensual and that he believed they were 18 when they occurred.

The indictment charged Epstein with one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking conspiracy for alleged misconduct from at least 2002 to 2005.

His lawyer, Jack Goldberger, said before the indictment was made public that Epstein will plead not guilty.

Epstein was arrested here on Saturday night, and is expected to appear in federal court on Monday.

Known for socializing with politicians and royalty, Epstein once had friends including U.S. President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton, and according to court papers Britain’s Prince Andrew.

None of those people were mentioned in the indictment.

EARLIER DEAL

The former hedge fund manager first came under investigation in

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