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Two days before Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive and injured on the floor of his jail cell, he was reportedly served with legal papers connected to a lawsuit accusing him of raping a minor.
The New York County Sheriff's Office served the 66-year-old billionaire financier court papers on July 22, according to an affidavit reviewed by NBC News. On July 24, Epstein was discovered semiconscious in a fetal position, with injuries to his neck, in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
The pending lawsuit was filed to the Supreme Court in New York County by 32-year-old Jennifer Araoz, who alleged that Epstein raped her at just 15. She previously told NBC that she was recruited outside her New York City high school to provide sexual massages for Epstein when she was 14 by “the recruiter,” an unnamed co-respondent in the lawsuit.
After about a month of routinely visiting Epstein’s mansion, he told the minor, "In order to help you with your modeling career, I will need to see your body,” according to the lawsuit. When Araoz was a sophomore in high school, Epstein raped her without using a condom, according to the lawsuit.
Epstein is currently facing sex trafficking and conspiracy charges for allegedly abusing dozens of underage girls. Since he was charged, at least 12 more women have come forward with allegations that they were sexually abused by him when they were underage.
Prosecutors say Epstein relied on his underlings to set up “meetings” with the girls, sometimes having the girls waiting for him after he landed while traveling between his estates in New York and Florida.
Epstein had faced charges in 2007 for requesting prostitution from a minor but avoided a serious sentence by negotiating as sweetheart plea deal, although he did have to register as a sex offender. Under the deal, he received work release that allowed him to leave jail for up to 12 hours, six days a week. One Epstein accuser claimed that he abused her during one of those trips.
At the same time his lawyers were negotiating the plea deal, Epstein was planning to triple the size of his 8,124-square-foot estate on his private Caribbean island, according to newly unearthed permit records reviewed by NBC. Epstein bought the 70-acre island, Little St. James, for $7.95 million in 1998.
The sweeping renovations done in the fall of 2007 included a new pool, a spa, and an underground theater, according to NBC. In total, Epstein’s lavish plans would bring his property encompassing his private residence to a whopping 46,697 square feet.
After Epstein was released from jail in Florida in July 2009, he made even more plans to expand his estate. He proposed a sun deck, a patio overlooking the island, a pool pavilion, an ATV garage, and a tennis court, according to NBC.
The billionaire financier has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges he’s currently facing. He was denied bail earlier this month and remains in custody, facing up to 45 years in prison.
Cover image: This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP)