A new video has surfaced of Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein, the financier accused of sex trafficking underage women, chatting and laughing at a party in 1992 packed with cheerleaders.
Mr Trump is seen greeting 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 one woman and say “she’s hot” to Epstein, who moments later leans forward in laughter after another comment from his host.
The video has emerged after the US president attempted to distance himself from Epstein in the wake of his charge for sex trafficking last week.
Mr Trump said that he had not spoken to Epstein for 15 years. “I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,” the president said, but added: “I was not a fan.”
Epstein, a billionaire hedge fund manager, pleaded guilty in Florida in 2008 to a state charge of soliciting prostitution from a minor – a deal which has proved controversial in recent months as focus has renewed on the case.
Alex Acosta, Mr Trump’s labour secretary who had previously overseen the plea agreement while a federal prosecutor in Florida, stepped down last week amid outcry following Epstein’s arrest last week.
The new indictment alleged that Epstein ran a “vast network” of underage girls for sex. He was accused of enticing minors to his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.
Girls, some as young as 14, were paid hundreds of dollars for sex acts, according to the indictment, which alleged Epstein knew his victims were under the age of 18. Epstein has pleaded not guilty.
The video, which came to light after NBC News discovered the footage in its archives, was filmed for an NBC talk show running at the time called ‘A Closer Look’.
Mr Trump was a bachelor when the footage was taken, having recently divorced his first wife Ivana Trump. It was a year before he married his second with Marla Maples.
The video shows Mr Trump’s Florida resort full of cheerleaders from the American football teams the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, who can be seen dancing and drinking.
None of the women appear to be underage. Mr Trump, wearing a black suit and pink tie, 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”.
Mr Trump is then seen welcoming three new guests to the party including Epstein. Later the pair are seen chatting and smiling as women dance in front of them.
The footage complicates the US president’s attempts to downplay his ties to Epstein in light of the new scandal.
In 2002, Mr Trump gave glowing remarks about Epstein to the New York magazine, calling him a “terrific guy” and saying they had known each other for 15 years.
“He’s a lot of fun to be with,” Mr Trump was quoted saying. “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
Mr Trump has since said the pair had a “falling out”. Mr Trump is not the only occupant of the White House to have his links to Epstein put in the spotlight.
Former US president Bill Clinton has had to defend his past appearances with Epstein.
After the new charges Mr Clinton issued a statement saying he had taken four trips on the billionaire’s private plane, and made “one brief visit” to Epstein’s home in New York in 2002.