A former model has accused a modelling agent close to US sex crimes suspect Jeffrey Epstein of raping her in 1990, as France pursues its own investigation into alleged offences on its territory.
In a letter sent to Paris Prosecutor Remi Heitz seen by AFP on Saturday, a 46-year-old Dutch woman says Jean-Luc Brunel drugged and raped her at his Paris appartment in the early 1990s, shortly after she turned 18.
French prosecutors opened an inquiry last month into suspected sex trafficking and alleged cases of rape and sexual abuse of women, including minors.
Brunel has emerged as a key figure in the scandal surrounding the US billionaire, who committed suicide in a New York jail last month.
But since Epstein’s arrest in July — just as he returned from a trip to Paris — Brunel, formerly a high-power model scout, has not been heard from publicly.
In her letter, the former Dutch model said several girls lived in Brunel’s apartment near the Champs-Elysees, where every day “rich businessmen were accompanied by very young girls.”
“The events are beyond the statute of limitations, and my client knows this will not lead to charges against Mr Brunel,” the woman’s lawyer, Anne-Claire Le Jeune, told AFP.
“But she wanted to testify anyway, to help the inquiry move forward,” she said.
It is also investigating claims that Epstein and others participated for years in a vast child sex-trafficking ring.
A French advocacy group for child sex abuse victims, Innocence En Danger (Innocence at Risk), has said 10 people had offered witness statements alleging sex crimes committed against minors in France.
According to the Parisian newspaper, Paris police last week questioned two other women who said they had been sexually assaulted by Brunel. These alleged offences happened too long ago for prosecution.
Four years ago, Brunel was accused in a civil lawsuit of rape and procuring young girls for the US financier.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who filed the suit, accused Epstein of using her as a “sex slave”. She said she had been forced to have sex with well-known politicians and businessmen, including Brunel.
She also alleged that Brunel would bring girls as young as 12 to the United States and pass them on to his friends, including Epstein. Brunel fiercely denied the allegations.
WATCH: AOC dunks on GOP for ‘beclowning themselves’ during Trump’s impeachment
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) blasted her Republican colleagues on national TV on Friday.
Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, is the youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. She was interviewed on MSNBC's "All In" by anchor Chris Hayes.
"Midway through today's impeachment inquiry, the president was accused of witness tampering," Hayes noted. "One of the sharpest rejoinders came from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez."
The host read her tweet to the live studio audience.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 15, 2019
‘The worst day of the presidency so far for Donald Trump’: Advisor to four presidents
President Donald Trump has not had a worse day in office than he suffered on Friday, according to a top former White House advisor.
David Gergen served in the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. He was interviewed Friday night by CNN's Anderson Cooper.
"If you are looking to throw somebody under the bus, Gordon Sondland would probably be a prime candidate to be next in line to be thrown under the bus," Cooper said.
"I think the president will wait patiently to see what he says and then decide," Gergen replied.
He then offered his analysis of the situation.
Chris Hayes breaks down the ‘busy day in the criminal chronicles of one President Donald J. Trump’
MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes connected the dots between all of the bombshell news that was reported Friday in the impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump.
"Good God, today has been ten days and this week has been ten weeks," Hayes said. "And there are a million things happening at once."
"Just in the past couple of hours, for instance, we just got this incredibly incriminating and damning behind closed doors testimony from a U.S. foreign service officer that was still supposed to be kind of like the B-story today, the sideshow," he explained. "It's a guy who works in the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, a guy named David Holmes. He testified behind closed doors that he could hear president Trump talking on the phone to the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union who was an inaugural donor, and they were in a restaurant in Kiev and the president was shouting so loudly on the phone that [Gordon] Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear because it was hurting his eardrum, so then everyone could hear."