Jeffrey Epstein's Suicide Doesn't Mean The Fight For Justice Dies With Him
Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein died of an apparent suicide on Saturday, taking the truth of his alleged wrongdoings to his grave.
It means the woman who allege they were trafficked by Epstein and forced into sex slavery will no longer get their day in criminal court.
However, the fight for justice is not over.
Authorities have assured both the public and Epstein's alleged victims that FBI investigations will continue, while several woman are reportedly pursuing civil action.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said Epstein's death "raises serious questions that must be answered", confirming a separate investigation into the circumstances of his death would be opened.
Meanwhile, Manhattan Attorney General Geoffrey S. Berman assured both Epstein's accusers and the public that his office would continue to work the case.
"Today's events are disturbing, and we are deeply aware of their potential to present yet another hurdle to giving Epstein's [alleged] victims their day in court," he said in a statement on Saturday.
"To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the 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."
The inclusion of a conspiracy charge means the government has already identified additional targets despite Epstein's death, reports the New York Times.
Authorities have not yet named anyone as a co-conspirator. It is unclear whether others will be charged, but prosecutors could seek sex trafficking co-conspirator charges, as well as aiding and abetting Epstein or money laundering.
CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman said the big target will be Ghislaine Maxwell, the woman who is accused of helping Epstein groom young girls.
"She is someone who was Jeffrey Epstein's girlfriend, but many of the victims have accused her of actually being a procurer who has been someone who was in the thick of it, who managed all of these properties, so she really has a bull's eye on her," Kleiman said.
In addition to the criminal investigation, many of Epstein's accusers can pursue civil action against Epstein's estate, which is estimated to be worth US $500 million.
Brad Edwards, who represents several of Epstein's accusers, told BuzzFeed News that Epstein's suicide was not "the ending anyone was looking for".
"The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused," he said.
Miami Herald journalist Julie Brown, who spent more than two years looking into the Epstein case, said several of the alleged victims were in "shock" at his death.
"They were the first people I called," Brown told CBS This Morning.
"I've stayed in close touch with them this whole case. The fact that he was arrested has been a roller-coaster, to say the least. "
Investigation Launched Into Epstein's Apparent Suicide
Questions have arisen over exactly how Epstein died, and the circumstances leading up to it.
He had been placed on 24-hour suicide watch for six days after being found with injuries in July. He was not on suicide watch when he died, instead being left alone in his cell after his cellmate was transferred from the cell for reasons not yet publicised.
Guards at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre's Special Housing Unit were supposed to check on Epstein every 30 minutes, but failed to do so, the New York Times reported. Despite the death leading to countless conspiracy theories -- including one shared by President Donald Trump -- the Associated Press reported at least two guards were working overtime when Epstein died.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has faced considerable backlash over its handling of Epstein's welfare, while members of Congress on both sides have called for a congressional investigation.
"We need answers. Lots of them," U.S> Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
Autopsy results are yet to be released.
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