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Jeffrey Epstein criminal case officially closed by NYC judge

2019-08-29

Jeffrey Epstein (Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)

The sex trafficking case against Jeffrey Epstein is officially over.

A judge signed off Thursday on prosecutors’ request to close the case against the perverted financier because he killed himself on Aug. 10 at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan.

Judge Richard Berman signaled he would approve the request during an emotional hearing on Tuesday in which over a dozen of Epstein’s victims spoke in Manhattan Federal Court. They said Epstein had used his wealth and political connections to dodge justice for years while abusing dozens of underage girls.

Jeffrey Epstein victim Jennifer Araoz, second from the left, leaves Manhattan Federal Court after a hearing where Jeffrey Epstein victims made statements in Manhattan Federal Court on Tuesday.
Jeffrey Epstein victim Jennifer Araoz, second from the left, leaves Manhattan Federal Court after a hearing where Jeffrey Epstein victims made statements in Manhattan Federal Court on Tuesday. (Barry Williams/for New York Daily News)

The judge wrote in his order that the proceeding “underscores the significance of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.” A federal judge in Florida ruled earlier this year that the rights of Epsteins’ victims were violated in 2008 when then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta failed to notify them about the sex offender’s lenient non-prosecution agreement.

Under that earlier deal, Epstein was allowed to plead guilty to state prostitution charges, register as a sex offender, pay victims and serve 13 months in Palm Beach County jail.

Epstein’s attorneys had argued that the new charges alleging sex trafficking of underage girls in the early 2000s were covered by the non-prosecution agreement.

The victims — and Epstein’s defense team — had asked Berman to maintain authority over the case and conduct an independent investigation into Epstein’s suicide.

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A timeline of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking case

Berman’s order did not address their call for the inquiry.

The Justice Department is investigating Epstein’s suicide and has vowed to hold his collaborators accountable. Attorney General William Barr has said Epstein’s co-conspirators should not “rest easy.”