French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel has been arrested for his alleged connection to Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking operation — which also remains an unconfirmed allegation. According to a report by Reuters, Brunel was arrested in Paris, France, on Wednesday, following a year-long investigation of him. He is suspected of the sexual assault and sexual harassment of both adults and minors over the years, possibly in cooperation with Epstein.
Brunel was arrested at the Charles de Gaulle airport just before he could board a plane to Senegal. French prosecutors believe he may have organized transportation and detainment of young women as a part of Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme, in addition to the allegations of sexual assault against Brunel personally. Brunel is 74 years old, and so far, his lawyers have not released a public comment on his arrest.
Under French law, there is reportedly still no guarantee that Brunel’s investigation will lead to a trial. The case is complicated by the fact that Epstein died in jail in August of 2019, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges that may be related. Epstein’s alleged crimes span across state lines, national borders, and often trace back to his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Brunel co-founded the Karin Models agency in the 1990s, and then later co-founded MC2 Model Management in the U.S. with Epstein. French investigators reportedly began looking into Epstein’s activities in France last summer, when he was arrested in New York. It is unclear how their inquiries led them to Brunel so far.
Epstein was a convicted sex offender for over a decade before his death. He was first arrested in 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida, after a parent told police that he had sexually abused her 14-year-old daughter. Epstein pleaded guilty to charges of procuring a child for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute. He served less than 13 months in custody but was not imprisoned for much of that time due to work release allowances.
Even then, these charges and Epstein’s plea deal were a national controversy, as federal officials had identified 36 other alleged victims, some as young as 14 years old. Therefore, it was no surprise to many when Epstein was arrested again in July of 2019, on federal charges of sex trafficking of minors.
Epstein died by hanging in his jail cell the following month, and a medical examiner ruled his death a suicide. This ruling has been widely disputed, including by Epstein’s lawyers, as his death ended the criminal case against him abruptly. However, Epstein’s associates, including Ghislaine Maxwell and Brunel, are still finding their way into the courtroom.