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Westlake Legal Group > prostitution

How a Ring of Women Allegedly Recruited Girls for Jeffrey Epstein

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Haley Robson was a 16-year-old South Florida high school student when an acquaintance from school approached her at a local pool with an intriguing offer: Did she want to make extra money giving massages to a billionaire in Palm Beach?

She agreed. When Jeffrey Epstein tried to grope her while she was giving him a massage, wearing nothing but a thong, she brushed his hand away, Ms. Robson said in a 2009 deposition for a civil case. But she continued to visit Mr. Epstein’s mansion dozens more times, in a lucrative new role: a recruiter of other teenage girls from her school.

“I didn’t have to convince them,” she said in the deposition. “I proposed to them. They took it.”

After Mr. Epstein’s suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in early August, federal authorities have refocused their investigation on the more than half-dozen employees, girlfriends and associates who prosecutors say he relied on to feed his insatiable appetite for girls, according to two people with knowledge of the inquiry. Ms. Robson, now 33, is among them.

A review by The New York Times of lawsuits, unsealed court records and depositions, along with new interviews, offers disturbing allegations about how this small cadre of women helped Mr. Epstein lure girls into his orbit and managed the logistics of his encounters with them.

The urgency of the investigation into Mr. Epstein’s associates was underscored on Tuesday when about two dozen women offered searing accounts of how he had sexually abused them before a packed courtroom in Manhattan.

The judge overseeing the case had invited the women to speak at a hearing to dismiss the indictment against Mr. Epstein in light of his death.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159800412_4582cd64-5e81-4d47-a0fc-2036ff85962e-articleLarge How a Ring of Women Allegedly Recruited Girls for Jeffrey Epstein Women and Girls Sarah Kellen prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Nadia Marcinkova Maxwell, Ghislaine Manhattan (NYC) Lesley Groff human trafficking Haley Robson Giuffre, Virginia Roberts Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Adriana Ross

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, right, and Sarah Ransome, left, who have said they were sexually abused by Mr. Epstein, after a hearing in federal court in Manhattan.  CreditJefferson Siegel for The New York Times

Several of the women implored federal prosecutors to continue investigating the women in Mr. Epstein’s inner circle.

“Jeffrey is no longer here, and the women that helped him are,” said Teresa Helm, who said she was recruited into Mr. Epstein’s world 17 years ago. “They definitely need to be held accountable for helping him, helping themselves, helping one another carry on this huge — almost like — system.”

The United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, whose office brought the charges against Mr. Epstein, said after his suicide that the investigation into the sex-trafficking conspiracy was not finished and prosecutors were committed to standing up for the “brave young women” Mr. Epstein had abused.

One of the women under scrutiny, Mr. Epstein’s onetime girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been accused in several well-publicized lawsuits of overseeing efforts to procure girls and young women for him, a charge she has firmly denied.

But Mr. Epstein is also accused in civil suits of relying on an organized network of underlings: those who trained girls how to sexually pleasure him; office assistants who booked cars and travel; and recruiters who ensured he always had a fresh supply of teenage girls at the ready.

None of Mr. Epstein’s associates have been charged or named as co-conspirators in Manhattan. But federal authorities are eyeing possible charges that include sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, the two people with knowledge of the investigation said.

Four women were apparently so instrumental to Mr. Epstein’s operation that they were named as possible “co-conspirators” and were granted immunity from prosecution in a widely criticized plea bargain Mr. Epstein struck with federal prosecutors in Florida more than a decade ago. That deal allowed Mr. Epstein to plead guilty to state charges and to spend 13 months in a county jail rather than face a federal sex-trafficking indictment.

The four women — Sarah Kellen, Lesley Groff, Adriana Ross and Nadia Marcinkova — could still be subject to criminal charges in Manhattan. The United States attorney’s office has said it is not bound by the Florida agreement.

Mr. Epstein and Ms. Maxwell, shown in 1995.CreditPatrick McMullan, via Getty Images

Three women have alleged in lawsuits that Mr. Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring operated as a hierarchy, with the financier and Ms. Maxwell at the top.

“She orchestrated the whole thing for Jeffrey,” Sarah Ransome, who sued Ms. Maxwell and other associates in 2017, said in an interview.

Ms. Maxwell, the daughter of the British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, was Mr. Epstein’s longtime companion, managing his homes and introducing him to many of the politicians, celebrities and dignitaries who became fixtures within his social circle.

“They were like partners in business,” Janusz Banasiak, Mr. Epstein’s house manager, said in a deposition. Mr. Epstein’s butler, Alfredo Rodriguez, described Ms. Maxwell in a deposition as “the boss.”

Ms. Maxwell has vehemently denied she trafficked girls. Neither Ms. Maxwell nor her lawyers responded to requests for interviews for this article.

But Mr. Epstein’s accusers contend in court papers that Ms. Maxwell managed the network of recruiters and helped devise the playbook for how to lure young women into Mr. Epstein’s web. Recruiters were allegedly told to target young, financially desperate women, and to promise them help furthering their education and careers, these civil complaints said.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre said in a deposition that she was 16 when she met Ms. Maxwell and was recruited as a masseuse. She said she remembered Ms. Maxwell’s sales pitch: If she gave a wealthy man a massage, a whole world of opportunity would open to her.

“If the guy likes you, then, you know, it will work out for you,” Ms. Giuffre, in a deposition, recalled Ms. Maxwell telling her. “You’ll travel. You’ll make good money. You’ll be educated.”

Ms. Giuffre took the job. Soon, she said, she became Mr. Epstein’s “sex slave,” not only providing sexual favors to him but also to some of his acquaintances, including politicians and prominent businessmen.

“My whole life revolved around just pleasing these men and keeping Ghislaine and Jeffrey happy,” she said in the deposition. “Their whole entire lives revolved around sex.”

Just below Ms. Maxwell in the chain of command was Ms. Kellen, another high-ranking employee, who has been accused in multiple lawsuits of scheduling girls for sex sessions with Mr. Epstein in his Palm Beach mansion.

She was called the “lieutenant” in one lawsuit. David Rodgers, Mr. Epstein’s pilot, said in a deposition that Ms. Kellen was “like an assistant to Ghislaine.”

Ms. Kellen kept the names and numbers of all the girls who gave Mr. Epstein erotic massages, according to Palm Beach police reports and Ms. Robson’s deposition. She would call them whenever Mr. Epstein was in town, asking the girls if they were ready to “work,” the reports and Ms. Robson said.

“She saw herself as the boss,” said Spencer T. Kuvin, a West Palm Beach lawyer who represented several accusers in lawsuits. “Sarah was really running that organization, bringing girls and getting them in and out of the Palm Beach home.”

Ms. Kellen, who sometimes goes by Sarah Kensington or Sarah Vickers, did not respond to requests for an interview. Her lawyers also did not respond to requests for comment.

Multiple girls told Palm Beach detectives that when they arrived at Mr. Epstein’s mansion, Ms. Kellen would escort them upstairs to Mr. Epstein’s bedroom and lay out the massage table with the various oils and lotions that they were to use on him, according to police reports.

In an interview, Ms. Ransome said Ms. Kellen and Ms. Maxwell also gave her tips on how to give Mr. Epstein erotic massages, including how to rub his feet and best satisfy him sexually.

“It was Ghislaine and Sarah Kellen that showed me how to please Jeffrey,” Ms. Ransome said.

Lesley Groff was Mr. Epstein’s executive assistant for nearly two decades.CreditMax Rapp/Patrick McMullan, via Getty Images

Ms. Groff, Mr. Epstein’s executive assistant for almost 20 years, was one of the possible co-conspirators named in the 2008 plea deal Mr. Epstein’s lawyers worked out with the United States attorney’s office in Miami.

She said in a 2005 interview with The Times that she answered Mr. Epstein’s telephone and managed his schedule, which included meetings with prominent scientists, Wall Street executives, foreign dignitaries and American politicians.

Over the years, she said in 2005, she formed a special bond with the financier, anticipating his needs. “I know what he is thinking,” she said at the time.

But Ms. Ransome said in her lawsuit that Ms. Groff, now 53, also arranged travel and lodging for the seemingly endless stream of adolescent girls and young women who provided Mr. Epstein with erotic massages.

In a recent interview with The Times, Ms. Ransome said Ms. Groff communicated directly with her, repeating Mr. Epstein’s promises to help her obtain a fashion degree.

Ms. Groff’s lawyer, Michael Bachner, said his client worked as part of a professional staff, making appointments, taking messages and setting up meetings. “At no time during Lesley’s employment with Epstein did she ever engage in any misconduct and never knowingly made travel arrangements for anyone under 18,” Mr. Bachner said.

Ms. Ransome also alleged in her lawsuit that she was instructed by Mr. Epstein’s associates to go on a diet and to lose about 11 pounds to maintain her slim figure. In one email exchange reviewed by The Times, Ms. Ransome told Ms. Groff she was monitoring her weight for Mr. Epstein. “Please could you also let him know that I am now 57 kg and that everything is going well,” Ms. Ransome emailed Ms. Groff in 2007.

Another of Mr. Epstein’s assistants, Ms. Ross, was also named as a potential co-conspirator in the 2008 plea deal.

When Palm Beach police were investigating Mr. Epstein around 2005, Ms. Ross removed three computers from the Florida mansion, Mr. Banasiak, the house manager, said in a deposition. The police noted in their reports that the computers, which they had reason to think might contain photos of naked girls, were missing when investigators arrived.

“She show up one day with gentleman,” Mr. Banasiak said. “And she told me that they are moving out those computers.”

Ms. Ross, who went on to study accounting and is based in Miami, did not respond to calls or emails seeking comment.

Ms. Marcinkova, a former model and pilot, had come under police scrutiny in Palm Beach in 2005.

A 16-year-old told detectives she was giving Mr. Epstein a massage when Ms. Marcinkova entered the room naked, according to Palm Beach police reports. Mr. Epstein then told the girl she could make an extra $200 if she performed oral sex on Ms. Marcinkova, and the girl reluctantly agreed, the reports said.

That encounter was the first of many sexual trysts the teenager told the police she was coerced into having with both Ms. Marcinkova and Mr. Epstein at his Palm Beach mansion, according to a police incident report.

Police records also show that investigators had indications that Ms. Marcinkova might have been underage herself when she became involved with Mr. Epstein.

Ms. Marcinkova, who later used the last name Marcinko, declined to answer questions about Mr. Epstein’s alleged abuse of girls when she was deposed in a lawsuit, invoking the Fifth Amendment.

Reached by The Times, Ms. Marcinkova’s lawyers, Erica T. Dubno and Aaron Mysliwiec, said “like other victims, Nadia Marcinko is and has been severely traumatized” and “needs time to process and make sense of what she has been through before she is able to speak out.”

Prosecutors may face thorny legal issues in deciding whether to charge some of Mr. Epstein’s associates, like Ms. Robson and Ms. Marcinkova, who may have initially been victims themselves.

Determining criminal liability is always a complex decision if a person has been exploited for sex, then used as a pawn to recruit others, said Lauren Hersh, a former sex-trafficking prosecutor in Brooklyn who now leads World Without Exploitation, an anti-trafficking organization.

“But for their own exploitation, they wouldn’t do that,” she said. “It becomes really, really tricky.”

Ms. Robson, a former stripper and Olive Garden worker, was not among the four women given immunity in the Florida plea agreement. But her role in Mr. Epstein’s operation was significant enough that Palm Beach Police detectives had planned to charge her more than a decade ago, according to an affidavit by the lead detective in Palm Beach.

She was also sued twice, and she described her role in Mr. Epstein’s operation in a deposition.

When Mr. Epstein would fly into Florida, Ms. Robson said she would get a call on her cellphone from Ms. Kellen, who would tell her how many massages the financier needed for the upcoming visit. The two of them would hammer out logistics.

“I would have a girl that would be available for those dates and times,” Ms. Robson said in a 2009 deposition.

Ms. Robson told lawyers she made $200 for every high school girl she brought to the Palm Beach mansion. She recruited the girls from her high school, including one who was 14. When she brought a 23-year-old, Mr. Epstein balked. Too old, he told her.

The girls knew what they were getting into, Ms. Robson said. The rules were unspoken, but understood.

“The more you do, the more you make,” Ms. Robson said in the deposition. “If you were topless, if you were working in your thong, your bra, you’re going to make more than a hundred.”

Reached by The Times, Ms. Robson said, “I have nothing to say. I would appreciate if I was not contacted.”

Douglas McIntosh, a lawyer who represented her in a civil case in Florida, called Ms. Robson “a lovely young lady,” but declined to answer questions about her involvement with Mr. Epstein.

In her deposition, Ms. Robson said that she had debated suing Mr. Epstein, but decided against it.

“I just thought it was the easy way out,” she said. “And then I decided this is my life and I have to take responsibility for my own actions because I did volunteer.”

Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘He Is a Coward’

Aug. 27, 2019

Epstein’s Island, ‘Little St. Jeff’s’: A Hideaway Where Money Bought Influence

Aug. 28, 2019

$56 Million Upper East Side Mansion Where Epstein Allegedly Abused Girls

July 8, 2019

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Epstein’s Island, ‘Little St. Jeff’s’: A Hideaway Where Money Bought Influence

ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands — Jeffrey Epstein once described the United States Virgin Islands as “my favorite place to be.”

When he was there, Mr. Epstein had a knack for getting his way, according to public records and interviews with residents and local officials.

Mr. Epstein, the accused sex trafficker who committed suicide in a Manhattan jail this month, used these islands as a personal and corporate hideaway, negotiating lucrative local tax breaks even as he faced federal investigations for sexual misconduct.

He cultivated close ties to the islands’ political and financial elite. He employed a governor’s wife. He hired an architecture firm owned by that governor’s uncle. He donated money, sponsored scholarships and even gave dozens of computers to a local lawmaker to distribute.

The islands became a haven for Mr. Epstein. His private plane would fly him to St. Thomas’s international airport, where he would board a helicopter that whisked him to his Little St. James and Great St. James islands. Once there, he was known to entertain famous friends and, his accusers have said in court filings, traffic underage girls for sex.

While federal authorities spent years criminally investigating Mr. Epstein, a spokesman for the local police department said it had no records of having visited his Virgin Islands properties.

“It was kind of accepted,” said Sasha Bouis, who used to run a floating restaurant anchored near Great St. James. “There was just this creepy old billionaire living out there.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159284841_f519e8f3-a5e7-4ada-a22a-b069222b8970-articleLarge Epstein’s Island, ‘Little St. Jeff’s’: A Hideaway Where Money Bought Influence Virgin Islands (US) Sex Crimes prostitution human trafficking High Net Worth Individuals Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Child Abuse and Neglect

Mr. Epstein’s mansion on Little St. James Island. He paid $7.95 million for Little St. James in 1998 and spent millions more developing his two islands, including building a villa with a library, a Japanese bathhouse and a movie theater.CreditGabriel Lopez Albarran/Associated Press

Since Mr. Epstein was charged with sex trafficking in July, his island operations have been under scrutiny. A few days after his Aug. 10 death, F.B.I. agents and New York Police Department investigators raided Little St. James, which some locals say they had nicknamed “Pedophile Island.”

Federal prosecutors handling Mr. Epstein’s sex-trafficking case have said the investigation will not end with his death. In recent lawsuits, his accusers have lodged fresh claims about how they were sexually assaulted on his islands.

In the weeks ahead, the wrangling over Mr. Epstein’s assets is likely to play out on St. Thomas. Last week, lawyers handling Mr. Epstein’s estate filed his will in court there and said he had more than $570 million in assets.

Mr. Epstein arrived in the Virgin Islands in 1998, when he paid $7.95 million for Little St. James, a roughly 70-acre island with ocean views. Mr. Epstein called it “Little St. Jeff’s.” In 2016, he bought the larger Great St. James for $17.5 million.

Over the years, he spent millions more developing the islands, including building a villa with a library, a Japanese bathhouse and a movie theater.

His construction projects led to repeated clashes between Mr. Epstein and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, according to paperwork related to his work permits reviewed by The New York Times.

A memo from the agency’s wildlife chief in 2010 noted that Mr. Epstein’s properties had “a long history of egregious and blatant disregard for environmental regulations.” Projects there had “introduced several non-native species to the island.” The arrival of one invasive species, the Cuban treefrog, led to a recommendation that all landscaping and building materials be inspected, the memo said.

Mr. Epstein called Little St. James Island “Little St. Jeff’s.”CreditGabriella N. Baez for The New York Times

Mr. Epstein’s lawyers resolved some disputes by paying fines, retroactively applying for permits and making donations, sometimes using funds from his charities.

In 2016, Mr. Epstein reached a settlement with the agency over unapproved construction projects on Great St. James. Officials soon accused his company of violating the agreement by not removing a beach bar cabana and by expanding a driveway, despite a stop-work order.

Mr. Epstein used St. Thomas to register a number of his businesses. Little remains known about their purposes. In public documents, many listed their addresses as Mr. Epstein’s office at the American Yacht Harbor complex in the Red Hook quarter of St. Thomas.

Mr. Epstein was rarely seen there. Last week, a man at the front desk said through an intercom that no one was available to talk to a reporter.

People around St. Thomas are reluctant to talk about Mr. Epstein — even after his death, locals say, there are fears about violating nondisclosure agreements or angering his close associates on the island.

Mr. Epstein went out of his way to ingratiate himself with local leaders. He donated 50 computers that a local senator could give away to schools and youth organizations. He financed programs at an elite local private school. He sponsored scholarships for a beauty pageant and a 2014 science and math fair for children in the Virgin Islands.

Mr. Epstein’s companies repeatedly were allowed to participate in a United States Virgin Islands tax-cut program that allows certain people and businesses that invest at least $100,000 locally to have their income and other tax rates cut substantially or eliminated altogether.

In 2012, one of his companies, Southern Trust, applied to take part — and cited his donations as a selling point.

“Those of you who know Mr. Epstein — he has been a long-term resident of the Virgin Islands — know that he has given generously over the course of the last 11 years to various charities in the Virgin Islands,” said Erika Kellerhals, one of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, at a public hearing about the application.

That application was approved. So were Mr. Epstein’s previous applications for his advisory company, Financial Trust, and the Red Hook marina that he co-owned with a company owned by a New York businessman. The authority held a hearing on one application in 2009, shortly after Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor.

The office of Southern Trust, one of Mr. Epstein’s companies, in St. Thomas. His companies repeatedly were allowed to participate in a tax-cut program that allows those who invest at least $100,000 locally to have their income and other tax rates cut or eliminated altogether.CreditGabriella N. Baez for The New York Times

The tax-incentive program is administered by a division of the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority. Some of its board members are appointed by the governor of the Virgin Islands.

From January 2007 to January 2015 — when Mr. Epstein’s various companies were participating in or applying for the tax program — the governor was John P. de Jongh Jr. The governor’s wife, Cecile, was the manager of Southern Trust. (It was not clear what that role entailed.) Mr. Epstein had also hired an architecture firm owned by Mr. de Jongh’s late uncle for work on his private islands, records show. Efforts to reach the de Jonghs were unsuccessful.

In an interview, executives from the economic development authority said that Mr. Epstein’s businesses had qualified for and remained in compliance with the program, which has 71 participants. The authority would not disclose the dollar value of the nearly two decades of tax breaks Mr. Epstein’s companies received.

“I can’t say anything stood out in this particular case,” said Wayne Biggs Jr., the authority’s assistant chief executive.

Mr. Epstein had unusual plans for Southern Trust: He hoped to create an algorithm to mine information from genetic sequencing databases as a way to find treatments for cancer, according to the transcript of the tax-incentive hearing, which is where he extolled the Virgin Islands as his “favorite place.” Mr. Epstein had long cast himself as a science aficionado, inviting physicists to his island, and even discussing how he could perpetuate his own DNA in the human population.

As he made the pitch for the tax break in 2012, he compared his DNA-sequencing efforts to those of the Wright Brothers and the science to “Frankenstein.” He also noted that he had a friend in New York who had a recent cancer diagnosis. “I’m leaving for New York after this meeting to go sit with the sequencers to see if I can save my friend,” he said.

“Places, frankly, like St. Thomas are the perfect place to sequence people because it is so isolated,” he added.

At times, the board seemed perplexed with his plan. Mr. Epstein offered reassurances.

“I am not a madman,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

On Epstein’s ‘Little St. Jeff’s’ Island, a Hideaway Where Money Bought Influence

ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands — Jeffrey Epstein once described the United States Virgin Islands as “my favorite place to be.”

When he was there, Mr. Epstein had a knack for getting his way, according to public records and interviews with residents and local officials.

Mr. Epstein, the accused sex trafficker who committed suicide in a Manhattan jail this month, used these islands as a personal and corporate hideaway, negotiating lucrative local tax breaks even as he faced federal investigations for sexual misconduct.

He cultivated close ties to the islands’ political and financial elite. He employed a governor’s wife. He hired an architecture firm owned by that governor’s uncle. He donated money, sponsored scholarships and even gave dozens of computers to a local lawmaker to distribute.

The islands became a haven for Mr. Epstein. His private plane would fly him to St. Thomas’s international airport, where he would board a helicopter that whisked him to his Little St. James and Great St. James islands. Once there, he was known to entertain famous friends and, his accusers have said in court filings, traffic underage girls for sex.

While federal authorities spent years criminally investigating Mr. Epstein, a spokesman for the local police department said it had no records of having visited his Virgin Islands properties.

“It was kind of accepted,” said Sasha Bouis, who used to run a floating restaurant anchored near Great St. James. “There was just this creepy old billionaire living out there.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159284841_f519e8f3-a5e7-4ada-a22a-b069222b8970-articleLarge On Epstein’s ‘Little St. Jeff’s’ Island, a Hideaway Where Money Bought Influence Virgin Islands (US) Sex Crimes prostitution human trafficking High Net Worth Individuals Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Child Abuse and Neglect

Mr. Epstein’s mansion on Little St. James Island. He paid $7.95 million for Little St. James in 1998 and spent millions more developing his two islands, including building a villa with a library, a Japanese bathhouse and a movie theater.CreditGabriel Lopez Albarran/Associated Press

Since Mr. Epstein was charged with sex trafficking in July, his island operations have been under scrutiny. A few days after his Aug. 10 death, F.B.I. agents and New York Police Department investigators raided Little St. James, which some locals say they had nicknamed “Pedophile Island.”

Federal prosecutors handling Mr. Epstein’s sex-trafficking case have said the investigation will not end with his death. In recent lawsuits, his accusers have lodged fresh claims about how they were sexually assaulted on his islands.

In the weeks ahead, the wrangling over Mr. Epstein’s assets is likely to play out on St. Thomas. Last week, lawyers handling Mr. Epstein’s estate filed his will in court there and said he had more than $570 million in assets.

Mr. Epstein arrived in the Virgin Islands in 1998, when he paid $7.95 million for Little St. James, a roughly 70-acre island with ocean views. Mr. Epstein called it “Little St. Jeff’s.” In 2016, he bought the larger Great St. James for $17.5 million.

Over the years, he spent millions more developing the islands, including building a villa with a library, a Japanese bathhouse and a movie theater.

His construction projects led to repeated clashes between Mr. Epstein and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, according to paperwork related to his work permits reviewed by The New York Times.

A memo from the agency’s wildlife chief in 2010 noted that Mr. Epstein’s properties had “a long history of egregious and blatant disregard for environmental regulations.” Projects there had “introduced several non-native species to the island.” The arrival of one invasive species, the Cuban treefrog, led to a recommendation that all landscaping and building materials be inspected, the memo said.

Mr. Epstein called Little St. James Island “Little St. Jeff’s.”CreditGabriella N. Baez for The New York Times

Mr. Epstein’s lawyers resolved some disputes by paying fines, retroactively applying for permits and making donations, sometimes using funds from his charities.

In 2016, Mr. Epstein reached a settlement with the agency over unapproved construction projects on Great St. James. Officials soon accused his company of violating the agreement by not removing a beach bar cabana and by expanding a driveway, despite a stop-work order.

Mr. Epstein used St. Thomas to register a number of his businesses. Little remains known about their purposes. In public documents, many listed their addresses as Mr. Epstein’s office at the American Yacht Harbor complex in the Red Hook quarter of St. Thomas.

Mr. Epstein was rarely seen there. Last week, a man at the front desk said through an intercom that no one was available to talk to a reporter.

People around St. Thomas are reluctant to talk about Mr. Epstein — even after his death, locals say, there are fears about violating nondisclosure agreements or angering his close associates on the island.

Mr. Epstein went out of his way to ingratiate himself with local leaders. He donated 50 computers that a local senator could give away to schools and youth organizations. He financed programs at an elite local private school. He sponsored scholarships for a beauty pageant and a 2014 science and math fair for children in the Virgin Islands.

Mr. Epstein’s companies repeatedly were allowed to participate in a United States Virgin Islands tax-cut program that allows certain people and businesses that invest at least $100,000 locally to have their income and other tax rates cut substantially or eliminated altogether.

In 2012, one of his companies, Southern Trust, applied to take part — and cited his donations as a selling point.

“Those of you who know Mr. Epstein — he has been a long-term resident of the Virgin Islands — know that he has given generously over the course of the last 11 years to various charities in the Virgin Islands,” said Erika Kellerhals, one of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, at a public hearing about the application.

That application was approved. So were Mr. Epstein’s previous applications for his advisory company, Financial Trust, and the Red Hook marina that he co-owned with a company owned by a New York businessman. The authority held a hearing on one application in 2009, shortly after Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor.

The office of Southern Trust, one of Mr. Epstein’s companies, in St. Thomas. His companies repeatedly were allowed to participate in a tax-cut program that allows those who invest at least $100,000 locally to have their income and other tax rates cut or eliminated altogether.CreditGabriella N. Baez for The New York Times

The tax-incentive program is administered by a division of the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority. Some of its board members are appointed by the governor of the Virgin Islands.

From January 2007 to January 2015 — when Mr. Epstein’s various companies were participating in or applying for the tax program — the governor was John P. de Jongh Jr. The governor’s wife, Cecile, was the manager of Southern Trust. (It was not clear what that role entailed.) Mr. Epstein had also hired an architecture firm owned by Mr. de Jongh’s late uncle for work on his private islands, records show. Efforts to reach the de Jonghs were unsuccessful.

In an interview, executives from the economic development authority said that Mr. Epstein’s businesses had qualified for and remained in compliance with the program, which has 71 participants. The authority would not disclose the dollar value of the nearly two decades of tax breaks Mr. Epstein’s companies received.

“I can’t say anything stood out in this particular case,” said Wayne Biggs Jr., the authority’s assistant chief executive.

Mr. Epstein had unusual plans for Southern Trust: He hoped to create an algorithm to mine information from genetic sequencing databases as a way to find treatments for cancer, according to the transcript of the tax-incentive hearing, which is where he extolled the Virgin Islands as his “favorite place.” Mr. Epstein had long cast himself as a science aficionado, inviting physicists to his island, and even discussing how he could perpetuate his own DNA in the human population.

As he made the pitch for the tax break in 2012, he compared his DNA-sequencing efforts to those of the Wright Brothers and the science to “Frankenstein.” He also noted that he had a friend in New York who had a recent cancer diagnosis. “I’m leaving for New York after this meeting to go sit with the sequencers to see if I can save my friend,” he said.

“Places, frankly, like St. Thomas are the perfect place to sequence people because it is so isolated,” he added.

At times, the board seemed perplexed with his plan. Mr. Epstein offered reassurances.

“I am not a madman,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘He Is a Coward’

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One woman was an aspiring model from a small town. Another invoked her own daughters in her remarks. Another said she had struggled with relationships because of her experience.

One by one, the women told a packed federal courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday how Jeffrey Epstein had sexually abused them and used his power and wealth to silence them, sometimes for years. For many, it was their first time speaking about it in public.

A chair at the defense table remained empty: Mr. Epstein hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center this month, where he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

“For that, he is a coward,” said one of his accusers, Courtney Wild, who has said Mr. Epstein sexually abused her when she was 14.

It was a moment of catharsis. Never had so many of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, from so many places, gathered to tell grotesquely similar stories, laying bare the breadth of the Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking operation.

“The fact I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at my soul,” said Jennifer Araoz, who has accused Mr. Epstein of raping her when she was a 15-year-old student at a performing arts high school in New York. “They let this man kill himself and kill the chance of justice for so many others in the process, taking away our ability to speak.”

Ms. Wild and Ms. Araoz were among the nearly two dozen accusers who shared their accounts with Judge Richard M. Berman at a hearing called after federal prosecutors said they planned to drop the sex trafficking charges against Mr. Epstein in light of his death — a decision that requires a judge’s approval.

Though throwing out an indictment after a defendant dies is usually a routine matter, Judge Berman, who called the suicide “a rather stunning turn of events,” said one reason he convened the hearing was to give the women their day in court.

“Mr. Epstein’s death obviously means that a trial in which he is a defendant cannot take place,” Judge Berman said. “I believe it is the court’s responsibility, and manifestly within its purview, to ensure that the victims in this case are treated fairly and with dignity.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159777630_75e2e546-0724-4c7d-b2af-8dfdfa96026b-articleLarge Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘He Is a Coward’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Mr. Epstein hanged himself in jail while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. CreditNew York State Sex Offender Registry, via Associated Press

At the hearing, Mr. Epstein’s lawyers said they were unsatisfied with the city medical examiner’s investigation into their client’s death, which found that Mr. Epstein had killed himself.

Reid Weingarten, one of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, implored Judge Berman — even if he dismissed the indictment — to conduct an independent investigation into Mr. Epstein’s death. Mr. Weingarten, citing the public interest in the case and “conspiracy theories galore,” said Judge Berman could hold hearings or assign an independent lawyer.

“The court has a role to play,” Mr. Weingarten said. “It is the institution that most people have confidence in in these very troubled times.”

The judge did not immediately act on the request. Prosecutors said a grand jury was already investigating Mr. Epstein’s death.

In 2008, Mr. Epstein avoided federal prosecution on sex trafficking charges in Florida, when he reached a widely criticized plea bargain with the United States attorney in Miami that let him plead guilty to state prostitution charges and serve 13 months in a local jail.

But the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan opened its own investigation and charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy in July. The indictment said that between 2002 and 2005 he paid dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, to have sex with him at his mansion in New York and his compound in Palm Beach, Fla.

The possibility Mr. Epstein might stand trial on the new charges ended, however, when he was found dead in his cell around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 10. He had been taken off the jail’s suicide watch two weeks earlier after a failed attempt to kill himself. No guard had checked on him for about three hours, a violation of jail protocol, law enforcement officials said.

At the judge’s invitation, the rows of women in the gallery on Tuesday stood and formed a line leading into the well of the packed courtroom, some clasping each other’s hands and whispering words of encouragement.

For more than an hour, they took turns describing their trauma and voicing their anger that Mr. Epstein had avoided accountability for decades. Some women spoke anonymously; some through lawyers. Sixteen of them spoke in person, many with shaky voices, trembling hands and tears.

“I am every girl he did this to, and they’re all me, and today we stand together, those that are present and those that aren’t,” said Anouska De Georgiou, who said she was a naïve teenager when Mr. Epstein sexually abused her.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 27EPSTEINnew2-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘He Is a Coward’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Jennifer Araoz, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, spoke to the news media after a hearing on Tuesday.CreditCreditJefferson Siegel for The New York Times

Another woman, identified only as a Jane Doe, described how she was flown to Mr. Epstein’s New Mexico ranch in 2004 when she was 15. There, she said, he sexually assaulted her and took her virginity, telling her he was helping her “to grow.”

“After he finished with me, he told me to describe in detail how good my first sexual experience felt,” she said.

Chauntae Davies, an aspiring masseuse, said Mr. Epstein had flown her to his private island in the Caribbean, where his associate instructed her to give him a massage. She said the encounter became violent when Mr. Epstein grabbed her wrist and pulled her body “onto his already naked body,” she said. She said she begged him to stop but “that just seemed to excite him more.”

Several of the women turned toward prosecutors during their remarks and urged them to continue investigating Mr. Epstein’s employees and associates, who they said had helped lure them into Mr. Epstein’s scheme. Some named Sarah Kellen or Ghislaine Maxwell as women who had helped bring them into Mr. Epstein’s orbit.

“Please finish what you have started,” said Sarah Ransome, another of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, who has said she was sexually abused by Mr. Epstein after she had been recruited to give him a massage.

Seated in the front row were the United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, and the head of the F.B.I.’s New York office, William F. Sweeney Jr.

Maurene R. Comey, a prosecutor, assured the judge that the government would still pursue others who may have aided Mr. Epstein in the sex-trafficking scheme, saying those investigations “have been ongoing, remain ongoing and will continue.”

Attorney General William P. Barr called the shortcomings at the jail “serious irregularities.”

For Mr. Epstein’s accusers, his death was his final escape from justice. Some spoke in anguish, some appeared relieved, and others said they were still haunted by Mr. Epstein’s abuse.

“I refuse to let this man win in death,” Ms. Davies said. “I have found my voice now, and while Jeffrey may no longer be here to hear it, I will not stop fighting, and I will not be silenced anymore.”

Paris Prosecutor Opens Investigation in Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

Aug. 23, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159253758_9654d830-3dfe-4eef-bb88-064677a4640c-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘He Is a Coward’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts
Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein

Aug. 17, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159070062_f82feb6f-7bff-41e7-9777-9b7b8486f8e6-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘He Is a Coward’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts
The Sisters Who First Tried to Take Down Jeffrey Epstein

Aug. 26, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 00epstein-farmer01-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘He Is a Coward’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’

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One woman was an aspiring model from a small town. Another invoked her own daughters in her remarks. Another said she had struggled with relationships because of her experience.

One by one, the women told a packed federal courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday how Jeffrey Epstein had sexually abused them and used his power and wealth to silence them, sometimes for years. For many, it was their first time speaking about it in public.

A chair at the defense table remained empty: Mr. Epstein hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center this month, where he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

“For that, he is a coward,” said one of his accusers, Courtney Wild, who has said Mr. Epstein sexually abused her when she was 14.

It was a moment of catharsis in a case that, for more than a decade, has eluded any sense of closure. Never had so many of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, from so many places, gathered to tell grotesquely similar stories, laying bare the breadth of the Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking operation.

“The fact I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at my soul,” said Jennifer Araoz, who has accused Mr. Epstein of raping her when she was a 15-year-old student at a performing arts high school in New York. “They let this man kill himself and kill the chance of justice for so many others in the process, taking away our ability to speak.”

Ms. Wild and Ms. Araoz were among the nearly two dozen accusers who shared their accounts with Judge Richard M. Berman at a hearing called after federal prosecutors said they planned to drop the sex trafficking charges against Mr. Epstein in light of his death — a decision that requires a judge’s approval.

Though throwing out an indictment after a defendant dies is usually a routine matter, Judge Berman, who called the suicide “a rather stunning turn of events,” said one reason he convened the hearing was to give the women their day in court.

“Mr. Epstein’s death obviously means that a trial in which he is a defendant cannot take place,” Judge Berman said. “I believe it is the court’s responsibility, and manifestly within its purview, to ensure that the victims in this case are treated fairly and with dignity.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159777630_75e2e546-0724-4c7d-b2af-8dfdfa96026b-articleLarge Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Mr. Epstein hanged himself in jail while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. CreditNew York State Sex Offender Registry, via Associated Press

At the hearing, Mr. Epstein’s lawyers said they were unsatisfied with the city medical examiner’s investigation into their client’s death, which found that Mr. Epstein had killed himself.

Reid Weingarten, one of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, implored Judge Berman — even if he dismissed the indictment — to conduct an independent investigation into Mr. Epstein’s death. Mr. Weingarten, citing the public interest in the case and “conspiracy theories galore,” said Judge Berman could hold hearings or assign an independent lawyer.

“The court has a role to play,” Mr. Weingarten said. “It is the institution that most people have confidence in in these very troubled times.”

The judge did not immediately act on the request. Prosecutors said a grand jury was already investigating Mr. Epstein’s death.

In 2008, Mr. Epstein avoided federal prosecution on sex trafficking charges in Florida, when he reached a widely criticized plea bargain with the United States attorney in Miami that let him plead guilty to state prostitution charges and serve 13 months in a local jail.

But the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan opened its own investigation and charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy in July. The indictment said that between 2002 and 2005 he paid dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, to have sex with him at his mansions in New York and his compound in Palm Beach, Fla.

The possibility Mr. Epstein might stand trial on the new charges ended, however, when he was found dead in his cell around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 10. He had been taken off the jail’s suicide watch two weeks earlier after an earlier, failed attempt to kill himself. No guard had checked on him for about three hours, a violation of jail protocol, law enforcement officials said.

At the judge’s invitation, the rows of women in the gallery on Tuesday stood and formed a line leading into the well of the packed courtroom, some clasping each other’s hands and whispering words of encouragement.

For more than an hour, they took turns describing their trauma and voicing their anger that Mr. Epstein had avoided a long prison sentence for decades. Some women spoke anonymously; some through lawyers. Sixteen of them spoke in person, many with shaky voices, trembling hands and tears.

“I am every girl he did this to, and they’re all me, and today we stand together, those that are present and those that aren’t,” said Anouska De Georgiou, who said she was a naïve teenager when Mr. Epstein sexually abused her.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 27EPSTEINnew2-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Jennifer Araoz, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, spoke to the news media after a hearing on Tuesday.CreditCreditJefferson Siegel for The New York Times

Another woman, identified only as a Jane Doe, described how she was flown to Mr. Epstein’s New Mexico ranch in 2004 when she was 15. There, she said, he sexually assaulted her and took her virginity, telling her he was helping her “to grow.”

“After he finished with me, he told me to describe in detail how good my first sexual experience felt,” she said.

Chauntae Davies, an aspiring masseuse, said Mr. Epstein had flown her to his private island in the Caribbean, where his associates instructed her to give him a massage. She said the encounter became violent, when Mr. Epstein grabbed her wrist and pulled her body “onto his already naked body,” she said. She said she begged him to stop but “that just seemed to excite him more.”

Several of the women turned toward prosecutors during their remarks and urged them to continue investigating Mr. Epstein’s employees and associates, who they said had helped lure them into Mr. Epstein’s scheme. Some named Sarah Kellen or Ghislaine Maxwell as women who had helped bring them into Mr. Epstein’s orbit.

“Please finish what you have started,” said Sarah Ransome, another of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, who has said she was sexually abused by Mr. Epstein after she had been recruited to give him a massage.

Seated in the front row were the United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, and the head of the F.B.I.’s New York office, William F. Sweeney Jr.

Maurene R. Comey, a prosecutor, assured the judge that the government would still pursue others who may have aided Mr. Epstein in the sex-trafficking scheme, saying those investigations “have been ongoing, remain ongoing and will continue.”

Attorney General William P. Barr called the shortcomings at the jail “serious irregularities,” and pledged to determine why Mr. Epstein was apparently left unsupervised just weeks after he was taken off suicide watch after an apparent initial attempt at killing himself on July 23.

For Mr. Epstein’s accusers, his death was his final escape from justice. Some spoke in anguish, some appeared relieved, and others said they were still haunted by Mr. Epstein’s abuse.

“I refuse to let this man win in death,” Ms. Davies said. “I have found my voice now, and while Jeffrey may no longer be here to hear it, I will not stop fighting, and I will not be silenced anymore.”

Paris Prosecutor Opens Investigation in Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

Aug. 23, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159253758_9654d830-3dfe-4eef-bb88-064677a4640c-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts
Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein

Aug. 17, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159070062_f82feb6f-7bff-41e7-9777-9b7b8486f8e6-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts
The Sisters Who First Tried to Take Down Jeffrey Epstein

Aug. 26, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 00epstein-farmer01-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Anger: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’

One woman was an aspiring violinist from Texas. Another was a struggling model from overseas. One woman invoked her own daughters in her remarks. Another said she had stayed single for years because of her experience.

One by one, the women walked up to a podium in a packed federal courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday, and told their story of how the financier Jeffrey Epstein had abused them, and then had leveraged his power and wealth to silence them, sometimes for years. For many, it was their first time speaking about their experience in public.

Mr. Epstein was not there, having killed himself in jail two weeks ago. But more than 16 of his accusers showed up at a routine hearing about dismissing the indictment to talk about the distress they had endured and a criminal justice system that they said had failed them.

Many expressed anger that Mr. Epstein had robbed them of the chance to confront him in court after he hanged himself with a bedsheet. “For that, he is a coward,” one of the women, Courtney Wild, said.

“I feel very angry and sad,” Ms. Wild added. “Justice has never been served in this case.”

The hearing was a moment of catharsis in a criminal proceeding that had attracted intense national attention because of Mr. Epstein’s ties to several wealthy and powerful people, including President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of Britain.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159777630_75e2e546-0724-4c7d-b2af-8dfdfa96026b-articleLarge Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Anger: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Mr. Epstein hanged himself in jail while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges. CreditNew York State Sex Offender Registry, via Associated Press

Several of Mr. Epstein’s accusers told how they had been coerced at a young age into having sex with him for money, then were pressured through threats and promises of career help to continue seeing him. “These are things that so many girls can relate to,” said one of the women, speaking anonymously. “Change needs to happen.”

Mr. Epstein’s suicide was particularly galling for his accusers because he had escaped federal prosecution on similar charges in Florida in 2008, when he reached a widely criticized plea bargain with the United States attorney in Miami. Under that deal, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to two state charges, including soliciting a minor for prostitution, and served 13 months in a local jail, where he was allowed out on work-release six days a week.

Then in July, the possibility that he might face a stiffer punishment was rekindled, as prosecutors in Manhattan, who had reopened the investigation, charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy. The indictment said that between 2002 and 2005 he paid dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, to have sex with him at his mansions in New York and his compound in Palm Beach, Fla.

The actress Anouska De Georgiou said she was appearing in court out of a spirit of solidarity. “I am every girl he did this to, and they are all me,” she said, “and today we stand together.”

Several of the women turned toward prosecutors during their remarks and urged them to continue investigating Mr. Epstein’s employees and associates, who they said had helped lure them into Mr. Epstein’s scheme. “Please, finish what you have started,” said Sarah Ransome, another of Mr. Epstein’s accusers.

Prosecutors assured the court that the investigation would continue into others who are believed to have aided Mr. Epstein in his long-running sex-trafficking scheme, helping to procure dozens of teenage girls and women.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 27EPSTEINnew2-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Anger: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Jennifer Araoz, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, spoke to the news media after a hearing on Tuesday.CreditCreditJefferson Siegel for The New York Times

The dismissal of Mr. Epstein’s case “in no way prohibits or inhibits the government’s ongoing investigation into other potential co-conspirators, nor does it prevent the bringing of a new case in the future,” a government prosecutor, Maurene Comey, said. She added those inquiries “have been ongoing, remain ongoing and will continue.”

Judge Richard M. Berman had scheduled the hearing on Tuesday after federal prosecutors wrote to him last week, saying that in light of Mr. Epstein’s death, they planned to drop the criminal charges against him — a decision that requires a judge’s approval. Noting the intense public interest in the case, he invited victims to speak.

“I believe it is the court’s responsibility, and manifestly within its purview, to ensure the victims in this case are treated fairly and with dignity,” he said at the start of the hearing.

The judge, in a brief order, said he wanted to hold the hearing because the public might still have an “interest in the process by which the prosecutor seeks dismissal of an indictment.”

The judge did not elaborate, but his statement seemed to acknowledge the extraordinary public interest in the questions surrounding Mr. Epstein’s death and the future of the government’s broader investigation into his associates.

Judge Berman said in the order that he wanted to hear from the prosecution and the lawyers who had been representing Mr. Epstein, and he also invited Mr. Epstein’s accusers and their lawyers to address the court if they wished to.

As if to underscore the wide interest in the matter, the hearing was moved from the judge’s regular courtroom to a much larger one that is typically used for the high-profile cases.

Mr. Epstein was found dead around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 10 after apparently hanging himself with a bedsheet in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he was being held pending trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Law enforcement officials say he had not been checked on for about three hours, a violation of jail protocol. The city medical examiner said on Aug. 16 that it had determined Mr. Epstein died by suicide.

The news of Mr. Epstein’s death — and the circumstances surrounding it — sent shock waves through the justice system and prompted an outcry in Congress and investigations by the F.B.I. and the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Attorney General William P. Barr called the shortcomings at the jail “serious irregularities,” and pledged to determine why Mr. Epstein was apparently left unsupervised just weeks after he was taken off suicide watch after an apparent initial attempt at killing himself on July 23.

“We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability,” Mr. Barr said after Mr. Epstein’s death.

Paris Prosecutor Opens Investigation in Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

Aug. 23, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159253758_9654d830-3dfe-4eef-bb88-064677a4640c-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Anger: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts
Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein

Aug. 17, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159070062_f82feb6f-7bff-41e7-9777-9b7b8486f8e6-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Anger: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts
The Sisters Who First Tried to Take Down Jeffrey Epstein

Aug. 26, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 00epstein-farmer01-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Anger: ‘Justice Has Never Been Served’ prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury at a Hearing

One by one, the women walked up to a podium in a federal courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday, finally given the opportunity to speak in a formal proceeding about the man they said had abused them.

The man, Jeffrey Epstein, was not there, having killed himself in jail two weeks ago. Yet more than a dozen of his accusers showed up at a hearing on dismissing the indictment to tell their stories, to talk about the distress they had endured and a criminal justice system that they said had failed them.

Many said they were angry that Mr. Epstein’s suicide robbed them of the chance to confront him in court. “For that, he is a coward,” said one of his accusers, Courtney Wild.

“I feel very angry and sad,” Ms. Wild said. “Justice has never been served in this case.”

For more than an hour in court, the women spoke of their frustration, anger and trauma. Some spoke anonymously, some in person, some through lawyers, some through letters and many of them through tears.

It was a moment of catharsis in a criminal proceeding that had attracted intense national attention because of Mr. Epstein’s ties to several wealthy and powerful people, including President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of Britain.

Mr. Epstein’s suicide was particularly galling for his accusers because he had escaped federal prosecution on similar charges in Florida in 2008 when he reached a widely criticized plea bargain with the United States attorney in Miami. Under that deal, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to two state charges, including soliciting a minor for prostitution, and served 13 months in a local jail, where he was allowed out on work-release six a days a week.

Several of Mr. Epstein’s accusers spoke about how they had been coerced at a young age into having sex with him for money, then were pressured to continue seeing him. “These are things that so many girls can relate to,” said one of the women, speaking anonymously. “Change needs to happen.”

Another woman, who spoke anonymously, said Mr. Epstein had victimized her a second time by taking his own life. “It felt like new trauma all over again,” she said.

Others, like the actress Anouska De Georgiou, said they were appearing in court out of a spirit of solidarity. “I am every girl he did this to, and they are all me,” she said, “and today we stand together.”

Several of the women turned to prosecutors during their remarks and urged them to continue investigating Mr. Epstein’s employees and associates, who they said had helped lure them into Mr. Epstein’s scheme. “Please, finish what you have started,” said Sarah Ransome, another of Mr. Epstein’s accusers.

Prosecutors assured the court the investigation would continue into others who are believed to have aided Mr. Epstein in his long-running sex-trafficking scheme, helping to procure dozens of teenage girls and women.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159791160_8a4fddbc-9102-402e-b650-a316eb60818a-articleLarge Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury at a Hearing prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Virginia Giuffre, with her lawyer, David Boies, arriving at the hearing on Tuesday. She was one of several of Mr. Epstein’s accusers who appeared in court. CreditShannon Stapleton/Reuters

The dismissal of Mr. Epstein’s case “in no way prohibits or inhibits the government’s ongoing investigation into other potential co-conspirators, nor does it prevent the bringing of a new case in the future,” a government prosecutor, Maurene Comey, said. She added those inquiries “have been ongoing, remain ongoing and will continue.”

Judge Richard M. Berman had scheduled the hearing on Tuesday after federal prosecutors wrote to him last week, saying that in light of Mr. Epstein’s death, they planned to drop the criminal charges against him — a decision that requires a judge’s approval. Noting the intense public interest in the case, he invited victims to speak.

“I believe it is the court’s responsibility, and manifestly within its purview, to ensure the victims in this case are treated fairly and with dignity,” he said at the start of the hearing.

Prosecutors had charged that Mr. Epstein brought dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, to his mansion in New York and to his compound in Palm Beach, Fla., between 2002 and 2005. He then engaged in sex acts with the girls during naked massage sessions, prosecutors said, paying them hundreds of dollars in cash each time.

Mr. Epstein also encouraged some of his victims to recruit additional girls who were then abused, allowing him to maintain “a steady supply of new victims to exploit,” the indictment had charged. He was indicted on charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, and if convicted, could have faced up to 45 years in prison.

The judge, in a brief order, said he wanted to hold the hearing because the public might still have an “interest in the process by which the prosecutor seeks dismissal of an indictment.”

The judge did not elaborate, but his statement seemed to acknowledge the extraordinary public interest in the questions surrounding Mr. Epstein’s death and the future of the government’s broader investigation into his associates.

Judge Berman said in the order that he wanted to hear from the prosecution and the lawyers who had been representing Mr. Epstein, and he also invited Mr. Epstein’s accusers and their lawyers to address the court if they wished to.

As if to underscore the wide interest in the matter, the hearing was moved from the judge’s regular courtroom to a much larger one that is typically used for the high-profile cases.

Mr. Epstein was found dead around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 10 after apparently hanging himself with a bedsheet in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he was being held pending trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Law enforcement officials say he had not been checked on for about three hours, a violation of jail protocol. The city medical examiner said on Aug. 16 that it had determined Mr. Epstein died by suicide.

The news of Mr. Epstein’s death — and the circumstances surrounding it — sent shock waves through the justice system and prompted an outcry in Congress and investigations by the F.B.I. and the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Attorney General William P. Barr called the shortcomings at the jail “serious irregularities,” and pledged to determine why Mr. Epstein was apparently left unsupervised just weeks after he was taken off suicide watch after an apparent initial attempt at killing himself on July 23.

“We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability,” Mr. Barr said after Mr. Epstein’s death.

Paris Prosecutor Opens Investigation in Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

Aug. 23, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159253758_9654d830-3dfe-4eef-bb88-064677a4640c-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury at a Hearing prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts
Inmate 76318-054: The Last Days of Jeffrey Epstein

Aug. 17, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159070062_f82feb6f-7bff-41e7-9777-9b7b8486f8e6-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury at a Hearing prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts
The Sisters Who First Tried to Take Down Jeffrey Epstein

Aug. 26, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 00epstein-farmer01-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury at a Hearing prostitution Palm Beach (Fla) Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Decisions and Verdicts

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A Group of Chicago Teachers Union Members Travels to Venezuela & Reports The Shocking Findings: It’s Fantastic!

Westlake Legal Group venezuela-991906_1280-620x349 A Group of Chicago Teachers Union Members Travels to Venezuela & Reports The Shocking Findings: It’s Fantastic! wttw Venezuela unions Uncategorized socialism sarah chambers prostitution jesse sharkey Illinois Front Page Stories Featured Story Education democrats chicago tonight Chicago Teachers Union Chicago Allow Media Exception Academia

 

 

The world of politics is a constant reminder that not everyone draws the same conclusions.

So is — incidentally — green bean casserole.

That stuff is nasty.

Anyway, here’s another case in point:

Three Illinois educators and a union organizer recently crowdfunded a trip to that most desirable of vacation destinations, Venezuela.

In response to what they saw, the Chicago Teachers Union crew praised the beleaguered nation on social media.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune Monday, during their South American romp, they met government officials and teachers and visited a commune. They even got local media coverage.

Stuff they admired: the country’s literacy rates, those fabulous communes…and its socialist system.

Not everyone’s psyched about their portrayal.

From the Tribune:

[C]ritics say the group glossed over Venezuela’s ongoing political and economic crises and were excessively complimentary of President Nicolás Maduro, whose administration has been accused in recent United Nations reports of “grave” human rights violations and violence against dissenters.

Count teacher and union member Karen Moody among the nay-sayers. Here’s what she had to offer:

“I am appalled a delegation representing themselves as CTU went to Venezuela, not to support striking teachers, not to object to human rights violations, but to go on what appears to be a state-chaperoned propaganda tour.”

However, union President Jesse Sharkey assured WTTW’s Chicago Tonight that the trip wasn’t sanctioned in any way:

“Members go all kinds of places in the summer. This was neither an official trip nor something that was funded by the union. This is a group of people who are members of the CTU who decided to go to Venezuela.”

That’s all well and good, but how does he explain the union’s Twitter account retweeting the group’s updates? One blog entry was titled “Introduction to CTU Delegation to Venezuela.”

Here’s a message passed along by the union’s page, courtesy of CTU traveler Sarah Chambers — who’s also a member of the board:

“While staying in #Venezuela, we didn’t see a single homeless person. USA is the richest country in the world; yet, there are homeless people everywhere. Over 17k CPS students are homeless… This is why @CTULocal1 is fighting for fair housing #CTUAgainstVezIntervention.”

They’re fighting!

How about a fight against children prostituting themselves, and straight men working as gay hookers? That’s also happened in Venezuela, thanks to the swell system — see here.

In response to an online critic, Sarah defended her favorable review of the big V by touting her analytical mind:

“Have you visited Venezuela & spoke to 100s there? As a teacher, I teach my students to be critical thinkers, to get primary sources, listen to ppl’s stories & do research before just believing any news. I suggest you do the same.”

One GoFundMe donor saluted the CTU strike at “imperialism”:

“Proud of the CTU for their brave and visionary anti-imperialist resolution and enactment of ‘teacher-to-teacher’ solidarity between Chicago and Venezuelan teachers!”

Speaking to Fight Back! News, Sarah also bragged on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro for his stellar job:

“Through major economic hardships, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro never closed a single public school or a single health clinic. This stands in stark contrast to our experience in Chicago, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed 50 public schools and several mental health clinics in a single year.”

As pointed out by The Daily Wire, the blog reporting all the glories of a nation that’s struggled to find the radical modernity of toilet paper was named the Radical Educator Collective.

It’s radical alright.

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article: here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

FBI Arrests Alleged Would-Be Neo-Nazi Terrorist Before He Can Commit Mass Murder At A Las Vegas Synagogue

Hollywood’s Rosanna Arquette Apologizes For Being White. She Announces Her Shame & Disgust Over Her Birth

Brazilian Gang Leader & Drug Trafficker Attempts A Prison Break In One Of The Craziest & Most Hilarious Ways Possible

Find all my RedState work here.

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Jeffrey Epstein Death: 2 Guards Slept Through Checks and Falsified Records

Westlake Legal Group 13epstein-developments-facebookJumbo Jeffrey Epstein Death: 2 Guards Slept Through Checks and Falsified Records Suicides and Suicide Attempts Sex Crimes prostitution Prisons and Prisoners Metropolitan Correctional Center (Manhattan, NY) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Child Abuse and Neglect Barr, William P

The two staff members who were guarding the jail unit where Jeffrey Epstein apparently killed himself fell asleep and failed to check on him for about three hours, then falsified records to cover up their mistake, according to several law enforcement and prison officials with knowledge of the matter.

Those disclosures came on Tuesday as the two employees were placed on administrative leave and the warden of the jail, the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, was temporarily reassigned, pending the outcome of the investigation into Mr. Epstein’s death, the Justice Department announced.

The two staff members in the special housing unit where Mr. Epstein was held — 9 South — falsely recorded in a log that they had checked on the financier, who was facing sex trafficking charges, every 30 minutes, as was required, the officials said. Such false entries in an official log could constitute a federal crime.

In fact, the two people guarding Mr. Epstein had been asleep for some or all of the three hours, three of the officials said.

The attorney general, William P. Barr, on Monday ordered the Justice Department’s inspector general to look into how Mr. Epstein had managed to commit suicide while in custody and why he had been taken off a suicide watch 12 days earlier.

“We will get to the bottom of what happened,” Mr. Barr said.

The warden, Lamine N’Diaye, will be transferred to a Bureau of Prisons office in Philadelphia while the F.B.I. and the Justice Department’s inspector general conduct inquiries. The Justice Department said in a statement that it might take additional punitive actions.

Prison staff discovered Mr. Epstein, 66, dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, officials said. He had apparently hanged himself with a bedsheet, likely fastening the sheet to a top bunk and pitching himself forward, law enforcement and prison officials said.

Mr. Epstein had been awaiting trial on charges he had sexually abused scores of teenage girls at his mansions in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Fla.

He had apparently tried to commit suicide once before, on July 23, shortly after he was denied bail, which resulted in him being placed on suicide watch, prison officials familiar with the incident have said.

Six days later, prison officials determined that he was no longer a threat to his own life and returned him to a cell in the 9 South housing unit with another inmate, officials said. That inmate was later transferred out of the cell, leaving Mr. Epstein alone on Friday night.

Though it is standard practice to house people who have recently been taken off suicide watch with another person, the prison did not replace Mr. Epstein’s cellmate.

The Justice Department, which oversees the Bureau of Prisons, did not immediately identify the two correctional officers who were placed on administrative leave.

Two prison officials familiar with the incident said the two staff members had not looked in on Mr. Epstein for about three hours before he was found.

One of the staff members was a former correctional officer who had taken a different position at the detention center that did not involve guarding detainees. He had volunteered to work again as a correctional officer for the extra overtime pay, a law enforcement official and an employee at the jail said.

The second officer, a woman who was assigned to that wing, had been ordered to work overtime because the jail was short staffed.

Before Jail Suicide, Jeffrey Epstein Was Left Alone and Not Closely Monitored

Aug 11, 2019

James Petrucci, the warden at a federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., has been named acting warden of the Manhattan jail, officials said.

Some union leaders for prison workers expressed dismay with Mr. Barr’s decision to allow the warden to continue working, even as the two staff members were placed on leave.

“It makes me angry that they reassigned the warden,” said Jose Rojas, an official in the prison employees’ union and a teacher at the Coleman prison complex in Sumterville, Fla. “They didn’t put him on administrative leave like the others. The warden made the call to take Epstein off suicide watch and to remove his cellmate. That is egregious.”

Since Saturday, Mr. Barr has been briefed multiple times a day on the inquiries into Mr. Epstein’s death, a Justice Department official said.

In addition to the investigations by the Justice Department, the inspector general and the F.B.I., two other reviews of Mr. Epstein’s death were underway, a Justice Department official said.

A team of psychologists from the Bureau of Prisons visited the Manhattan jail on Tuesday to review each step of the decision to take Mr. Epstein off suicide watch.

On Wednesday, an “after-action team” — led by the bureau’s Southeast regional director — is scheduled to be at the prison to determine whether employees and officials followed protocols in the days and weeks before Mr. Epstein died, the official said.

Mr. Epstein’s death has drawn sharp criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

On Monday, the chairman and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons, Hugh Hurwitz, demanding answers about how Mr. Epstein could have been unsupervised long enough to take his own life.

The letter said Mr. Epstein’s apparent suicide had brought to light “severe miscarriages” or deficiencies in how inmates are managed at the jail and had “allowed the deceased to ultimately evade facing justice.”

It was signed by Representatives Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, and Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican.

Mr. Nadler and Mr. Collins demanded that the Bureau of Prisons hand over by Aug. 21 any details about Mr. Epstein’s mental health evaluations and his housing, as well as the bureau’s protocols for handling inmates considered at risk of suicide.

They also requested to be told how Mr. Epstein was being monitored and what the surveillance cameras may have recorded in or near Mr. Epstein’s cell.

At the same time, Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged Mr. Barr on Tuesday to rip up an agreement federal prosecutors in Florida had reached with Mr. Epstein in 2008 that shielded not only him, but also any other co-conspirators who may have helped him lure teenage girls into prostitution.

“This crooked deal cannot stand,” Mr. Sasse said in his letter.

William K. Rashbaum and Christina Goldbaum contributed reporting.

In Short-Staffed Jail, Epstein Was Left Alone for Hours; Guard Was Substitute

Aug 12, 2019

Jeffrey Epstein Dead in Suicide at Jail, Spurring Inquiries

Aug 10, 2019

Why the Jeffrey Epstein Investigation Is Not Over

Aug 11, 2019

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Short-Staffed Jail, Epstein Was Left Alone for Hours; Guard Was Substitute

One of the two people guarding Jeffrey Epstein when he apparently hanged himself in a federal jail cell was not a full-fledged correctional officer, and neither guard had checked on Mr. Epstein for several hours before he was discovered, prison and law-enforcement officials said.

Those details emerged on Monday as Attorney General William P. Barr sharply criticized the management of the federal jail in Manhattan where Mr. Epstein, who was accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls, was found dead on Saturday morning.

“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation,” said Mr. Barr, who, as the country’s top law enforcement official, is responsible for federal prisons.

“We will get to the bottom of what happened,” he added. “There will be accountability.”

Mr. Barr did not offer additional information about the problems at the jail, but questions have been raised about why Mr. Epstein had been taken off suicide watch just days after apparently trying to kill himself and then was left alone in a cell without close supervision.

Mr. Barr also said Mr. Epstein’s suicide would not halt the investigation into other people who might have helped him traffic teenage girls for sex. On Monday, F.B.I. agents and New York detectives raided Mr. Epstein’s private, 70-acre island in the United States Virgin Islands, looking for documents, photographs, videos, computers and other materials, people briefed on the matter said.

“Any co-conspirators should not rest easy,” Mr. Barr said. “The victims deserve justice and they will get it.”

No correctional officer had checked on Mr. Epstein for several hours before he was found, even though guards were supposed to look in on prisoners in the protective unit where he was housed every half-hour, a prison official and two law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the detention said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

In addition, only one of the two people guarding the Special Housing Unit — known as 9 South — normally worked as a correctional officer, according to three prison officials with knowledge of the case. The officials did not say what sort of job the other employee usually worked.

A New York Times investigation published last year detailed this practice, under which federal prisons are so strapped for correctional officers that they regularly compel teachers, nurses, secretaries and other support staff members to step in. The practice has grown at some prisons as the Trump administration has curtailed the hiring of correctional officers.

Many of these staff members only receive a few weeks’ training in correctional work, and, while required by contract to serve as substitutes, are often uncomfortable in the roles. Even workers who previously held correctional positions have said that the practice was unsettling because fewer colleagues were on hand to provide backup if things turned ugly.

Mr. Epstein’s death came just two weeks after he had been taken off suicide watch at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, where he apparently had tried to kill himself on July 23, officials said.

He was being held at the detention center awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges. He had been accused of luring dozens of underage girls into giving him erotic massages and engaging in other sexual acts at his mansions in New York City and Palm Beach, Fla.

“I was appalled, and indeed the whole department was, and frankly angry, to learn of the M.C.C.’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner,” Mr. Barr said at a conference in New Orleans for the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police.

Jeffrey Epstein: Why He Symbolized Privilege and Depravity

Aug 10, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_157651095_89dae6f6-d59e-4d39-ad01-700978505e52-threeByTwoSmallAt2X In Short-Staffed Jail, Epstein Was Left Alone for Hours; Guard Was Substitute Suicides and Suicide Attempts Sex Crimes prostitution Prisons and Prisoners Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Child Abuse and Neglect Barr, William P

That Mr. Epstein was taken off suicide watch and left unsupervised long enough to have apparently taken his own life has sparked a public outcry, prompting criticism of the Justice Department and the Bureau of Prisons, which operates the Manhattan jail. Mr. Barr announced Saturday that both the F.B.I. and the Justice Department’s inspector general would open respective probes into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Epstein’s death.

The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment.

Union officials said that for more than a year officials in Washington had been made aware of a severe staffing shortage at the facility in the wake of a federal hiring freeze. One of the guards on the unit where Mr. Epstein died had been working overtime for five straight days, while the other had been forced to work overtime that day, a union official said.

“The Council of Prison Locals has been sounding the alarm about the hiring freeze,” said Eric Young, the president of the union that represents federal prison workers across the country.

An autopsy of Mr. Epstein’s body was conducted by the city’s medical examiner on Sunday, but a final determination is pending. At the request of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, a private pathologist was permitted to attend the examination, which the city’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Sampson, called a “routine practice.”

Since leaving suicide watch on July 29, Mr. Epstein had been housed in 9 South, a secure housing unit in one of the prison’s most restrictive wings. His lifeless body was found in his cell around 6:30 a.m., by a guard conducting morning rounds. He had used a bedsheet to hang himself, one official said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159113511_cc56a821-cdf8-4115-9d2e-ac890b8279c1-articleLarge In Short-Staffed Jail, Epstein Was Left Alone for Hours; Guard Was Substitute Suicides and Suicide Attempts Sex Crimes prostitution Prisons and Prisoners Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Child Abuse and Neglect Barr, William P

The Metropolitan Correctional Center on Park Row in Manhattan.CreditYana Paskova for The New York Times

Jeffrey Epstein’s Opaque Finances Could Become Focal Point for Investigators

Aug 11, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 11epsteinbiz-sub-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 In Short-Staffed Jail, Epstein Was Left Alone for Hours; Guard Was Substitute Suicides and Suicide Attempts Sex Crimes prostitution Prisons and Prisoners Manhattan (NYC) human trafficking Epstein, Jeffrey E (1953- ) Child Abuse and Neglect Barr, William P

Mr. Epstein was being housed alone. Under normal procedures, he should have had a cellmate, but the inmate housed with him had been recently transferred and had not been replaced, several officials said.

According to Bureau of Prisons’ policy, several high-ranking prison officials would have had to have approved Mr. Epstein’s removal from the facility’s suicide prevention program, including the prison’s chief psychologist.

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