Jeffrey Epstein Case Will Outlive Its Key Defendant

MANHATTAN (CN) – Two days after Jeffrey Epstein’s death in an apparent suicide, floodwaters appear to be gathering for a deluge of international civil and criminal litigation.

Within hours of French authorities announcing plans to open a probe, the Daily Mail and ABC News aired live video Tuesday of the FBI raiding a private island that Epstein owned in the Caribbean. One resident of nearby St. Thomas told the Associated Press that Epstein’s property Little St. James had earned the reputation as “Pedophile Island.”

Just this morning at a conference in New Orleans, U.S. Attorney General William Barr emphasized that Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring was still under investigation. “Any co-conspirators should not rest easy,” Barr said. “The victims deserve justice, and we will ensure they get it.”

This photo shows the Metropolitan Correctional Center, in New York on July 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Attorneys for those victims have likewise announced that they will not be deterred from a future reckoning, as two criminal investigations into the conspiracy continue.

Epstein’s attorney Marc Fernich had met news of his client’s death with outrage, saying “compliant” judges, “pandering” politicians, “overzealous” prosecutors, and “breathless” reporters had “blood on their hands.”

“All should be ashamed of their behavior,” Fernich said in a statement Saturday.

Other Epstein attorneys are on the defensive. The New York Times reported that Epstein’s two longtime lawyers Darren Indyke and Jeffrey Schantz have themselves retained criminal defense counsel in connection with a probe of Epstein’s murky finances, including trusts and entities in the Empire State and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile in Florida, a federal judge is expected to punish the government for entering into a 2008 nonprosecution agreement widely denounced as a “sweetheart deal,” one that guaranteed Epstein a light sentence while immunizing unnamed co-conspirators.

On the civil front, a New York law goes into effect on Wednesday extending the statute of limitations on sex-abuse claims, a development that will likely bring a tsunami of litigation into the courts. Jennifer Araoz, who says she was 15 when Epstein raped her, is among those already intent on availing herself of this new statute.

“On top of this brutal rape, Epstein did not use a condom, which substantially contributed to extreme emotional distress and the development of a panic disorder, which was exacerbated by the fact that Ms. Araoz had recently lost her father to AIDS,” a draft copy of Araoz’s complaint states.

Araoz announced her intention to formally file her lawsuit on Wednesday.

Epstein was found dead in his Metropolitan Correctional Center cell on Saturday, just one day after the Second Circuit released an enormous trove of files in a lawsuit brought against former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell.

The documents shone a light on Epstein’s ties to President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, financier Glenn Dubin, model scout Jean-Luc Brunel and former Senator George Mitchell, all of whom deny any impropriety.

Facing claims that he trafficked a teenaged Virginia Giuffre to more powerful men than previously known, Epstein is quoted in the records as pleading the Fifth Amendment throughout his deposition.

Discovery in the case also revealed that the financier had a bookshelf to match the charges on his rap sheet: Epstein’s Amazon receipts showed he bought titles like “SlaveCraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude – Principles, Skills and Tools.”

Explosive as the files were, even more disclosure is likely coming: U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska scheduled a hearing for unsealing the remainder on Sept. 4.

Saturday’s events spell a likely end to the specific docket United States v. Epstein, now that the sole defendant is dead — that is, unless co-defendants were previously indicted under seal.

“Jeffrey Epstein’s death is a tragedy to everyone involved in this case,” U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said in a statement through his chambers.

In the Southern District of New York, where the disgraced financier’s case had been designated a top priority, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman offered assurances Saturday to Epstein’s victims.

“To those brave young women who have already come forward and to many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing,” Berman said in a statement.

The Southern District’s website still prominently features a banner urging Epstein’s accusers to keep calling the hotline 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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