A federal prosecutor said Tuesday that the jailhouse suicide of Jeffrey Epstein will not stop the federal government’s effort to get “justice for the victims in this case,” and possibly to recoup money from the dead financier large financial estate.
The prosecutor, Allison Moe, spoke in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where she was watched by several dozen women who say they were sexually abused as young women or girls by Epstein.
Many of those victims are expected to address Judge Richard Berman.
Prosecutors are set Tuesday to formally dismiss the child sex trafficking case against Epstein, a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, which was filed in early July. He was accused in the case of sexually abusing many “minor girls” between 2002 and 2005 at his luxurious residences in Manhattan and Florida.
But Moe noted, “To be very clear today’s dismissal in no way inhibits or prohibits the government’s ongoing investigation.”
“It in no way does it prohibit the government from seeking civil forfeiture,” Moe said.
“The investigation into those matters has been ongoing, is ongoing, and will continue,” the prosecutor said.
“This dismissal in no way deters the government’s resolve in seeking justice for the victims in this case.”
Berman opened Tuesday’s hearing by saying that Epstein’s death from hanging in a federal jail earlier in August is “rather a stunning turn of events” in the high-profile case.
The judge said he was giving Epstein’s victims an opportunity to tell their stories to him both as a matter of law, and to show “respect” for the women who have come forward.
“I believe it is the court’s responsibility and in its purview that the victims in the case are dealt with, with dignity and with humanity,” Berman said.
We are very glad that Judge Berman is allowing some of the victims to speak their truth in open court, ” Spencer Kuvin, a Florida lawyer involved in Epstein’s prior case, said in a statement.
“At the very least, the Federal Court system is now allowing these victims to publicly speak on the record about the atrocities committed by Mr. Epstein. Our hope is that the DOJ continues its investigation against all of the co-conspirators and that this is merely the beginning, and not the end, of the prosecutions,” Kuvin said.
Prosecutors had said that Epstein worked and conspired with employees, associates and others “who facilitated his conduct by, among other things, contacting victims and scheduling their sexual encounters with Epstein.” Those other people potentially could face criminal prosecution,
Epstein was reportedly worth almost $580 million at the the time of his death. He had been held since his arrest without bail in the Manhattan Correctional Center after Berman ruled that he represented a danger to women if released given his sexual obsessions.
His suicide is being investigated by the FBI and the inspector general of the Justice Department, the federal agency that oversees the Bureau of Prisons, which runs the jail where Epstein was being held.
The suicide came less than a month after Epstein was placed on suicide watch after being found semi-conscious with marks on his neck in his cell. Epstein was taken off sucide watch not long after that first incident.