Epstein's accusers will go after alleged enablers: Lawyers

Apparent suicide means 'no closure' for those he allegedly abused as underage girls: Counsel

WASHINGTON • Lawyers representing Jeffrey Epstein's accusers on Saturday said his death will not stop their clients who are seeking justice from those they say enabled or conspired with Epstein to allegedly sexually abuse dozens of underage girls.

The attorneys condemned Epstein's apparent suicide overnight while in federal prison on charges of sex trafficking, as it meant he would now never have to face the women he allegedly hurt.

Ms Kimberly Lerner, an attorney for one of Epstein's accusers, said: "I guess there is somewhat an element of relief, because the fear of him getting out is obviously over, but... they'll never be able to look into his eye and say, 'You hurt me'. There's that element of closure that he's taken away from them."

She added: "There's a whole network that enabled him and allowed this to happen, and it's time that everyone who was a part of this be held accountable."

Ms Lerner's client, Ms Jennifer Araoz, also released her own statement about Epstein's death.

Ms Araoz has accused Epstein of raping her in his New York City home when she was 15.

She said she was recruited outside her high school to make regular visits to his house.


Jeffrey Epstein was arrested last month on sex trafficking charges that could have put him in prison for 45 years.

"We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, or the pain and trauma he caused so many people," Ms Araoz said. "Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims."

Epstein's death came less than a day after new details about his alleged sexual abuse of underage girls were unsealed in court filings.

In the documents - part of a lawsuit settled in 2017 against a woman who allegedly recruited underage girls for Epstein - accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre named Prince Andrew, the Duke of York; former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson; and former United States Senate majority leader George Mitchell among the prominent men in Epstein's orbit with whom she was directed to have sex.

All the three men named have denied any wrongdoing.

Epstein, a multimillionaire, kept powerful company and socialised with both US President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton.

The tycoon was arrested last month on federal sex trafficking charges that could have put him in prison for 45 years.

Federal investigators - who, earlier this year, had asked women who had allegedly been abused by the financier to come forward - may decide to keep digging as they explore whether any of Epstein's alleged procurers and enablers should be charged.

 
 
 
 

Even if there are no further criminal cases, Epstein's estate will be peppered with civil suits seeking restitution and damages for his alleged financial and sexual misdeeds.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who currently represents two Epstein accusers, said she had been helping them cooperate with law enforcement on the criminal case.

Now that Epstein is dead, she said, they will be filing a civil case against his estate.

Epstein's death could also intensify the spotlight on his longtime girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.

One of Epstein's accusers has said that Ms Maxwell had recruited underage girls for the financier.

Ms Maxwell has denied any wrongdoing and has fought back aggressively in civil suits that have been meandering through the courts for years.

Ms Sigrid McCawley, who represents Ms Giuffre, said in a statement: "The fact that Epstein took his own life within 24 hours of the unsealing of detailed and devastating documents and exhibits in Virginia Giuffre's lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, which informed the public of the scope, scale and sophistication of the international sex trafficking operation Epstein conducted, is no coincidence."

Meanwhile, Mr Trump used his Twitter account on Saturday to spread an evidence-free conspiracy theory about Epstein's death.

It was the President's own Justice Department which announced that Epstein had died by "apparent suicide".

Yet, Mr Trump appeared to disregard the statements, instead retweeting a message from conservative actor and comedian Terrence Williams, who suggested that Epstein's death might instead be tied to former president Clinton.

Mr Williams also questioned how Epstein could have died by suicide if he had been on suicide watch.

White House officials did not immediately return a request for a comment on why Mr Trump was spreading the conspiracy theory.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the President's retweet.

Mr Trump is no stranger to using his considerable public platform to promote conspiracy theories, particularly those that target his political opponents.

THE WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2019, with the headline 'Epstein's accusers will go after alleged enablers: Lawyers'. Print Edition | Subscribe