“Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served,” said Jennifer Araoz, who accused Epstein of raping her when she was 15.
The apparent suicide of the wealthy financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein ensured that he has again escaped the long-time efforts of prosecutors and victims to jail him.
The 66-year-old, whose cause of death is being investigated, was facing sex trafficking charges accusing him of abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14 at his opulent mansions in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida.
Epstein had pleaded not guilty one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking with underage females.
Esptein’s body was found in his jail cell in Metropolitan Correctional Centre, Manhatten, New York, by staff at 6.30am Saturday, 10 August (local time). The FBI and DoJ have launched investigations into the exact cause of death, The Guardian reported.
A New York federal court released new documents from a 2015 defamation case involving Epstein. The 2,000 pages of released documents allege Virginia Roberts Giuffre was a teenager working as a locker room attendant at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort nearly two decades ago when she was recruited by Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell about giving massages to the wealthy investor, who owned a mansion in Palm Beach not far from the Trump resort.
“Where in the spa were you when you were approached by Ghislaine Maxwell?” Maxwell’s attorney Laura Menninger asked at a May 2016 deposition, Politico reported.
“Just outside the locker room, sitting where the other girl who works there usually sits,” Giuffre replied. “I was reading a book on massage therapy … She noticed I was reading the massage book. And I started to have chitchat with her just about, you know, the body and the anatomy and how I was interested in it. And she told me that she knew somebody that was looking for a traveling masseuse. … If the guy likes you then, you know, it will work out for you. You’ll travel. You’ll make good money.”
During the same deposition, Giuffre claims the paid massages often involved sex and led to a more permanent role travelling with Epstein, who had homes on a private island in the US Virgin Islands, New Mexico and New York. She alleged she was also instructed by Epstein and Maxwell to have sex with Epstein’s friends.
“Name the other politically-connected and financially powerful people that Ghislaine Maxwell told you to go have sex with,” Menninger said.
“They instructed me to have sex with George Mitchell, Jean Luc Brunel, Bill Richardson, another prince, that I don’t know his name,” Giuffre said.
Mitchell and Richardson issued statements denying Giuffre’s claims.
“The allegation contained in the released documents is false,” former Senator Mitchell said. “I have never met, spoken with or had any contact with Ms. Giuffre. In my contacts with Mr. Epstein, I never observed or suspected any inappropriate conduct with underage girls. I only learned of his actions when they were reported in the media related to his prosecution in Florida. We have had no further contact.”
Former Governor Richardson’s spokeswoman Maddy Mahony said: “These allegations and inferences are completely false. To be clear, in Governor Richardson’s limited interactions with Mr. Epstein, he never saw him in the presence of young or underage girls. Governor Richardson has never been to Mr. Epstein’s residence in the Virgin Islands. Governor Richardson has never met Ms. Giuffre.”
Brunel owns a modelling business and was suing Epstein for damage to the firm as a result of reports it was used by Epstein to recruit underage girls for sex. Epstein was fighting the suit. Brunel has denied any impropriety.
The released documents were from a federal lawsuit Giuffre filed against Maxwell in New York in 2015, alleging Maxwell facilitated Epstein’s abuse of her and other young girls. Maxwell denied the allegations but settled the suit for an undisclosed sum after a district court judge ruled in March 2017 the case should go to trial.
Giuffre’s lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, said Epstein’s suicide less than 24 hours after the documents were unsealed “is no coincidence”. She urged authorities to continue their investigation, focusing on Epstein associates who she said “participated and facilitated Epstein’s horrifying sex trafficking scheme”.
Three new investigations were launched within 24 hours of Epstein’s death, by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the inspector general’s office of the justice department and the New York medical examiner. In the indictment against Epstein unsealed in July, the court papers described three unnamed employees who scheduled his alleged victims to provide “massages” that escalated to sexual acts and paid victims hundreds of dollars in cash.
Alleged victims called for investigations of alleged criminal activity by the New York-born financier and associates to be carried forward.
“Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served,” said Jennifer Araoz, who accused him of raping her when she was 15. “I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims.”
Jack Scarola, a lawyer representing several of Epstein’s alleged victims, said: “While I’m sure none of the victims regret his death, all of them regret the information that died with him. The one expectation is that Epstein’s death not derail the investigation into the named and unnamed co-conspirators who still need to be brought to justice.”
Robbie Kaplan, a lawyer for one of the alleged victims in the criminal case, told CNN “the many victims of Jeffrey Epstein and his accomplices should not lose hope.
“We will continue to fight tirelessly on their behalf not only to seek justice, but also to ensure that all of the facts of his monstrous crimes become known to the world,” she said.
“We need to expose the whole truth here so that crimes of this scale and scope never happen to any young girls (or boys) ever again.”