A federal judge in Florida ruled Monday that victims of Jeffrey Epstein are not entitled to money damages from the government though prosecutors violated their rights.
Judge Kenneth Marra previously determined that the government violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by keeping Epstein’s accusers in the dark about a lenient plea deal in 2008 that allowed the financier to serve only 13 months in Palm Beach County jail.
In a new decision, Marra ruled that the law did not authorize restitution for victims or attorneys’ fees.
“[Victims] may take solace, however, in the fact that this litigation has brought national attention to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and the importance of victims in the criminal justice system. It has also resulted in the United States Department of Justice acknowledging its shortcomings in dealing with crime victims, and its promise to better train its prosecutors regarding the rights of victims under the [Crime Victims’ Rights Act)] in the future,” Marra wrote.
Epstein victims, including Courtney Wild, had asked Marra to throw out Epstein’s plea deal. But the financier’s suicide at lower Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center in August made the issue moot. Epstein, 66, was expected to go to trial on sex trafficking charges next year.
“Courtney, and the other Epstein victims who pursued this important case, should not be sad, but instead proud. Together, we have forever demonstrated that nobody is above the law, not the wealthy and not even the government. Through this case, we have strengthened the importance and the role of victims in the criminal justice system,” said Brad Edwards, who represents Epstein victims.
“This is not the ending we had hoped for, but the enormous progression of victims’ rights through this case will ensure that violations like this never happen again in this country. For that, the fight was worth it.”
Edwards had not yet decided whether to appeal the decision. Marra wrote that the Florida case, which began shortly after Epstein received a legal slap on the wrist despite evidence of an international sex trafficking operation, likely played a role in the new charges brought against the perv in July.
“Rulings which were rendered during the course of this litigation likely played some role, however small it may have been, in the initiation of criminal charges against Mr. Epstein in the Southern District of New York and that office’s continuing investigation of others who may have been complicit with him,” Marra wrote.