A federal judge just handed Jeffrey Epstein's victims a major court loss
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- A federal judge dealt Jeffrey Epstein's accusers a setback in a ruling that shut down more than 10 years of legal battles vying to pull back protections for potential co-conspirators.
- Judge Kenneth A. Marra wrote in a decision filed Monday that he was denying the request of two of Epstein's alleged victims to rescind a non-prosecution agreement that protected "any potential co-conspirators."
- That clause caused speculation that possibly high-profile people also had sex with Epstein's victims, as Epstein had public relationships with figures like former President Bill Clinton, President Donald Trump, and Britain's Prince Andrew.
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A federal judge dealt Jeffrey Epstein's accusers a massive disappointment in a new court ruling that shut down more than 10 years of legal battles over investigations into the late financier's potential co-conspirators.
Judge Kenneth A. Marra wrote in a decision, filed Monday, that he was denying the request of two of Epstein's alleged victims to rescind a non-prosecution agreement that shortened Epstein's 2007 jail sentence and promised immunity for "any potential co-conspirators."
In August, lawyers representing some of Epstein's victims filed a brief arguing that a clause in a non-prosecution agreement struck between the US attorney's office, Epstein, and his co-conspirators in 2007 should be rescinded.
The deal was previously detailed in a November 2018 Miami Herald report that said local and federal investigators looking into Epstein's suspected trafficking of minor girls had enough evidence to put him away for life in 2007.
However, after then-US Attorney of the Southern District of Florida, Alexander Acosta, met with one of Epstein's lawyers, Jay Lefkowitz, the two former colleagues reportedly agreed on a deal that stipulated Epstein serve just 13 months from a private cell block at a county jail, instead of federal prison. The financier also pleaded guilty to just two prostitution charges.
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The Herald's report also notes that the deal protected four of Epstein's accomplices from facing federal prosecution and granted immunity to "any potential co-conspirators" who were found to have taken part in Epstein's crimes.
That clause caused speculation that possibly high-profile people also had sex with Epstein's victims, according to the Herald, as Epstein was publicly associated with figures like former President Bill Clinton, President Donald Trump, and Britain's Prince Andrew.
Court documents that were unsealed in July detailed the extensive network of employees that prosecutors say targeted and recruited underage girls for sexual relationships with Epstein, which could have meant more possible names to be prosecuted as co-conspirators.
Epstein's victims were kept in the dark
The deal was orchestrated in private and, by design, kept the full extent of the allegations against Epstein secret. Emails obtained by the Herald show that prosecutors pushed the case through courts in Miami, so his victims in Palm Beach were unaware of his sentencing until after it happened.
"The conspiracy between the government and Epstein was really 'let's figure out a way to make the whole thing go away as quietly as possible,'" Bradley Edwards, a former state prosecutor who represents some of Epstein's victims, told the Herald in the 2018 report. "In never consulting with the victims, and keeping it secret, it showed that someone with money can buy his way out of anything."
In his ruling, Marra also denied Epstein's victims' request to require the US Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida to confer with them and keep them updated with new developments regarding Epstein. Marra also denied the victim's request to order Acosta to meet with them.
Marra further denied the victims' request to hand over FBI documents related to their Epstein investigation, arguing that it may adversely affect the Department of Justice's ongoing investigations into Epstein's activities.
Epstein was arrested on July 6, 2019 and pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges involving dozens of underage girls, allegations for which dated back to the early 2000s, the majority of which purportedly took place in his Florida and New York residences.
Epstein later died by suicide on August 10 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges, leaving the next steps for his victims seeking justice unclear.
After US District Judge Richard Berman subsequently dismissed the federal sex-trafficking court case in the Southern District of New York on August 29, Attorney General William Barr has promised that the Justice Department will pursue charges against those who enabled Epstein, the Associated Press reported.
Read the full ruling here:
Ashley Collman contributed reporting.