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Jeffrey Epstein was served court papers shortly before he was found injured in jail cell

The legal documents were filed in connection with a lawsuit by a woman who says Epstein raped her when she was 15.
U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein looks on near Judge Richard Berman during a bail hearing in his sex trafficking case in New York on July 18, 2019.
Jeffrey Epstein, right, during a bail hearing in his sex trafficking case in New York on July 18, 2019.Christine Cornell

A day or two before he was found injured in his New York jail cell, Jeffrey Epstein was served with legal papers in connection with a lawsuit to be brought by a woman who has accused him of raping her when she was 15, according to court documents.

NBC News reported July 24 that Epstein, 66, a convicted sex offender who is charged with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking, had been discovered semiconscious in a fetal position, with marks on his neck, in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

The New York County Sheriff's Office said in an affidavit that it served Epstein in person with the papers July 22.

The affidavit doesn't specify what papers were served, but it was filed in connection with a draft lawsuit entered in state Supreme Court in New York County by Jennifer Araoz, who told NBC News this month that she was 14 years old when she was recruited outside her New York City high school to provide sexual massages for Epstein. A year later, she said, "he raped me, forcefully raped me."

A subpoena included in the court files seeks to compel Epstein to turn over a list of all people who worked for him from 2000 through 2003, as well as logs of all people who visited him at his New York home during the same period.

The lawsuit, which for technical reasons can't be formally filed until Aug. 14, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages alleging that Epstein committed sexual assault, sexual battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress against Araoz, who is now 32.

Epstein, a multimillionaire financier, has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges and remains held without bail.

Three unnamed co-respondents are included with Epstein in Araoz's lawsuit, all of whom it says are women who worked for him in New York. They are identified only as "the recruiter," "the secretary" and "the maid."

The suit alleges that "the recruiter" began approaching Araoz during the first semester of her freshman year, when she was 14, outside her high school. The woman told Araoz that Epstein was a "nice guy" who was very wealthy and took care of her and her family, according to the suit.

The suit alleges that the woman proposed that Araoz meet Epstein, saying it could "benefit her." Araoz agreed, and she was eventually taken to meet Epstein at his home on East 71st Street, it says.

"The room had marble floors with extremely high ceilings, mahogany wood with deep reds, and was filled with exotic, even endangered animals, including a giraffe and other rare specimens," it says. "There were skins covering parts of the floor with more exotic animals."

Epstein gave Araoz $300 as a gift during that first visit, the lawsuit alleges.

Within a couple of days, "the recruiter" took Araoz back to visit Epstein, who gave her a digital camera this time, according to the lawsuit. Araoz began visiting once or twice a week, each time being given $300, the suit says.

After about a month, Araoz and Epstein met alone, the lawsuit says, alleging that he told her: "You're beautiful," "I'll bet your body is incredible" and "In order to help you with your modeling career, I will need to see your body."

The lawsuit says Araoz agreed to give Epstein a massage wearing only her underpants because "she felt intimidated" and "did as she was told." After 20 to 25 minutes, Epstein turned over and began performing a sexual act on himself, it says.

Araoz continued to return to Epstein's house for similar encounters, which the lawsuit characterizes as "horribly abusive sexual assaults of a child." Over time, the encounters "became more aggressive and escalated," continuing into the first semester of her sophomore year, it says. She would be given $300 each time, it says.

Eventually, during the fall semester of Araoz's sophomore year, when she was 15 years old, Epstein raped her without using a condom, the lawsuit says.

Araoz, determined never to see Epstein again, transferred to a different high school, the lawsuit says.

In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to procuring a person younger than 18 for prostitution and felony solicitation of prostitution. He served a 13-month sentence in a Florida county jail and was granted a federal non-prosecution agreement by the office of then-U.S. attorney for Miami, Alex Acosta, who resigned as U.S. labor secretary this month as criticism of the plea agreement grew ever louder.