President is shown partying and pointing out women alongside Epstein in '90s video
A video surfaced yesterday of Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier accused of sex trafficking under-age women, chatting and laughing at a party packed with cheerleaders in 1992.
Mr Trump is seen welcoming Mr Epstein to the event at his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Palm Beach, Florida, and talking to him as they watch women dance, in the footage uncovered by NBC News.
At one point, Mr Trump appears to point at a woman and say to Mr Epstein "she's hot". Moments later, Mr Epstein leans forward in laughter after another inaudible comment from his host.
The video emerged after the US president attempted to distance himself from Mr Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking earlier this month.
Mr Trump said he had not spoken to Mr Epstein for 15 years. "I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him," he said, adding: "I was not a fan."
Mr Epstein, a hedge fund manager, pleaded guilty in Florida in 2008 to a state charge of soliciting prostitution from a minor - a deal that has proved controversial in recent months with renewed focus on the case.
Alex Acosta, Mr Trump's labour secretary, who oversaw the plea agreement while a federal prosecutor in Florida, last week announced he would step down amid the outcry that followed Mr Epstein's arrest. The new indictment alleged Mr Epstein ran a "vast network" of under -age girls for sex.
Mr Epstein was accused of enticing minors to his mansions in Manhattan and Florida between 2002 and 2005. Girls, some as young as 14, were paid hundreds of dollars for sex acts, according to the indictment, which alleged that he knew his victims were under the age of 18. Mr Epstein has pleaded not guilty.
The video, found in the NBC News archives, was filmed for a talk show at the time called 'A Closer Look'.
Mr Trump was a bachelor when the footage was filmed, having recently divorced his first wife, Ivana. It was a year before he married for a second time, to Marla Maples.
The video footage filmed at Mr Trump's resort includes cheerleaders for the American football teams the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, who can be seen dancing and drinking. None of the women appear to be under age.
Mr Trump is seen dancing with some of the cheerleaders, joking at one point to the camera that the TV episode about him would get "great ratings".