Attorneys for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein touted his close friendship with Bill Clinton and even claimed the billionaire helped start Clinton's controversial family foundation in a 2007 letter aimed at boosting his image during plea negotiations, FoxNews.com has learned.

The 23-page letter, written by high-powered lawyers Alan Dershowitz and Gerald Lefcourt, was apparently part of an ultimately successful bid to negotiate a plea deal before Epstein could be tried for using underage girls in a sex ring based in Palm Beach, Fla., and his private island estate on the 72-acre Virgin Islands home dubbed “Orgy Island.” Epstein spent 13 months in prison and home detention after agreeing to a plea deal in which he admitted to soliciting an underage girl for prostitution. 

"Mr. Epstein was part of the original group that conceived the Clinton Global Initiative, which is described as a project 'bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” read the July 2007 letter to the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of Florida. “Focuses of this initiative include poverty, climate change, global health, and religious and ethnic conflicts.”

The hedge fund magnate’s true role in creating the foundation could not be confirmed. Whether Epstein was an actual founder of the foundation or exaggerated his role in a phony effort to appear altruistic is not clear.

Epstein is not cited in official paperwork filed by the Clinton Global Initiative as a founder or director. Neither The Clinton Foundation nor Dershowitz responded to FoxNews.com’s inquiry as to the extent of Epstein’s involvement. FoxNews.com first reported that flight logs show the former president flew on Epstein’s private plane dozens of times. But Clinton has publicly credited longtime assistant Doug Band, now counselor and director of the foundation, as conceiving of the idea. 

The foundation has raised hundreds of millions of dollars, ostensibly for charitable works in places such as Haiti and Africa. But questions have arisen about how much of the donations actually went to aiding the poor, and critics have accused the Clintons of using it as a slush fund.

Attorneys describe the foundation, which has undergone name changes since its formation in 2005, as designed “to convene world leaders, forward-looking CEOs, and philanthropists to commit to take action on pressing global challenges.”

In an effort to emphasize Epstein’s close ties to Clinton before he was sentenced, his lawyers also credited Epstein with "hosting" a trip to Africa in 2002 on his private Boeing 727 for the Clinton Global Initiative, which Clinton himself attended, along with actor Kevin Spacey and comedian Chris Tucker, and other celebrities, purportedly for an anti-AIDS and economic-development mission.

"In a feature article about Mr. Epstein in New Yorker magazine, former President Clinton aptly described Mr. Epstein as a 'committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of 21st century science,'” Epstein’s lawyers wrote. “President Clinton reached this conclusion during a monthlong trip to Africa with Mr. Epstein, which Mr. Epstein hosted. The purpose of that trip was to increase AIDS awareness; to work toward a solution to the AIDS crisis; and to provide funding to reduce the costs of delivering medications to those inflicted with the disease."

Epstein also has supported the Clinton Foundation financially, but that was not made public until two years ago when a whistle-blower released the names of the super-rich, including Epstein, who held Swiss accounts at the HSBC bank.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which obtained the data from the whistle-blower, documented $81 million being routed from HSBC Swiss accounts to The Clinton Foundation, including money from Epstein.

Epstein had various accounts totaling $3.5 million, the investigative journalists group revealed and, in 2006, directed $25,000 to The Clinton Foundation.

The close association between Epstein and Clinton is just one example of their personal and professional ties running much deeper than previously made public.

A FoxNews.com investigation in May showed the former president was a frequent flier on Epstein’s infamous jet, dubbed the “Lolita Express,” which earned its Nabakov-inspired nickname because it was reportedly outfitted with a bed where passengers had group sex with young girls.

Flight logs obtained exclusively by FoxNews.com show the former president taking at least 26 trips around the world aboard the “Lolita Express” -- even apparently ditching his Secret Service detail for at least five of the flights.

Epstein and his attorneys have said in multiple court filings that he has been the subject of the “most outlandish and offensive attacks, allegations, and plain inventions.”

However, hundreds of pages of court records, including reports from law enforcement, reviewed by FoxNews.com, show Epstein was under close scrutiny by the Palm Beach police and FBI for more than a year.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida prepared charging documents that accused Epstein of child sex abuse, witness tampering and money laundering, but Epstein took a plea deal before an indictment could be handed up.

On Sept. 24, 2007, in a deal shrouded in secrecy that left alleged victims shocked at its leniency, Epstein agreed to a 30-month sentence, including 18 months of jail time and 12 months of house arrest and the agreement to pay dozens of young girls under a federal statute providing for compensation to victims of child sexual abuse. In exchange, the U.S. Attorney’s Office promised not to pursue any federal charges against Epstein or his co-conspirators.

In a highly unusual civil lawsuit, Florida attorney Brad Edwards, and Paul Cassell, a former federal judge who represented some of Epstein’s alleged victims, are suing the federal government over the secret non-prosecution agreement in hopes of having it overturned, so that Epstein could potentially face additional criminal charges.