Some of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers spoke out in court Tuesday as a federal judge formally dismissed charges against the multimillionaire after his apparent suicide.
Epstein was arrested in July for allegedly sex trafficking minors between 2002 and 2005, and died of an apparent suicide on Aug. 10 after being denied bail. Federal prosecutors wrote to Judge Richard M. Berman earlier in August, noting that they planned to drop the criminal charges against Epstein in light of his death. The request required Berman’s approval.
“I feel very angry and sad,” said Courtney Wild, one of Epstein’s accusers, the New York Times reported. “Justice has never been served in this case.”
Wild added that Epstein “is a coward” for his apparent suicide.
Some of his accusers went on record with their names, while others asked to remain anonymous while addressing the court, according to the Times.
“It felt like new trauma all over again,” a woman who remained anonymous said. Other accusers spoke out and expressed their feelings that Epstein had hurt them all over again with his apparent suicide.
“Please finish what you have started,” Sarah Ransome, another Epstein accuser, pleaded to the court. Other women asked prosecutors to continue the investigation, the Times reported.
Although Epstein’s case has been dismissed, investigations into possible co-conspirators will continue. A new case can also be filed in the future, Maurene Comey, a government prosecutor, said, according to the Times. Inquires “have been ongoing, remain ongoing, and will continue,” she said.
Berman held the hearing in part because of the public’s “interest in the process by which the prosecutor seeks dismissal of an indictment.” He asked to hear from the prosecution, lawyers representing Epstein and invited Epstein’s accusers and their lawyers to address the court.
“I believe it is the court’s responsibility, and manifestly within its purview, to ensure the victims in this case are treated fairly and with dignity,” Berman said according to the Times.
Multiple investigations have been opened up into Epstein’s death. Attorney General William P. Barr noted issues at the jail where Epstein was being held and vowed to get to the bottom of the “serious irregularities.”
“Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy,” Barr saidAugust 12.
Epstein faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
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