Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein died of an apparent suicide Saturday morning, but that doesn’t mean everything is over for the case and his accusers.
Epstein was arrested July 6 for charges including the alleged sex-trafficking of minors. A convicted sex offender, Epstein was first found almost unconsciousin his cell July 23, a week after being denied bail. He had marks on his neck and was placed on suicide watch, but was taken off within a week, according to The Washington Post.
He was found unresponsive Saturday morning around 6:30 a.m. Epstein was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead shortly after. The guards who were supposed to be watching Epstein reportedly failed to do so because both were working overtime, the president of the local union for jail staffers told The Washington Post.
Attorney General Bill Barr said Saturday there would be an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the apparent suicide, according to his statement. The FBI is also investigating the death, and the inspector general will be opening a separate investigation as well, Barr said.
“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Barr said.
MORE: Epstein Attorney Reveals Who He Says Is to Blame for Client’s Death: ‘Blood on Their Hands’
Epstein’s death comes a day after documents detailing alleged sexual abuse were unsealed
Epstein’s death came a day after hundreds of documents were unsealed that detailed sexual abuse allegations against Epstein and several others. The documents are from a settled defamation case between Ghislaine Maxwell, an associate of Epstein, and Virginia Giuffre, who said she became Epstein’s sex slave and was trafficked at age 17, ABC News reported.
The documents name former Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Democratic Maine Sen. George Mitchell, Prince Andrew and others as being involved. They have all denied the allegations.
The criminal case against Epstein has ended, but investigations will continue
The criminal case has ended because of Epstein’s death, but investigators can still look into others who have been accused of being involved with the sex-trafficking. Lawyers for Epstein’s accusers said they will continue seeking justice and go after any potential enablers, according to WaPo.
“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,” Kimberly Lerner, an attorney for one of Epstein’s accusers, said, according to WaPo.
At least one of Epstein’s accusers plans to continue on with a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, according to ABC News. Jennifer Araoz accused Epstein of raping her when she was 15, and said through a lawyer that enablers will be held accountable.
“This week, we intend to pursue justice for our client, Jennifer Araoz, and hold accountable those who enabled Mr. Epstein’s criminal activity,” said Dan Kaiser, Araoz’s lawyer. “Regardless of his untimely death, our case will move forward. Jennifer deserves her day in court.”
What happens to Epstein’s estate?
Epstein wasn’t married and has a brother, Mark, as well as a niece and nephew. The status of Epstein’s will isn’t yet known, but lawyers for his accusers are targeting Epstein’s estate.
The federal indictment filed against Epstein when he was arrested in July listed his New York City property to be confiscated after finding evidence that he abused girls there between 2002 and 2005, according to the Miami Herald. Epstein also had homes in Florida, New Mexico, the Virgin Islands and France.
MORE: Epstein ‘Sex Slave’ Names Top Democrats in Alleged Trafficking Ring, Court Docs Reveal
Lisa Bloom, an attorney for three of the alleged victims, said Saturday that she would be asking Epstein’s estate to freeze all of his assets. She “intends to fight” to get Epstein’s entire estate given to his alleged victims.
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